Moving Day

Today I arrived at my language institute – Kangwon National University.

Most people got picked up at the airport, and then, after perhaps waiting for some other people to arrive, they were bussed to the University. But being in Korea already, I made my own way here and just checked in with the coordinator.

After that I was pretty much on my own. The plus is that they give plenty of time for people to get settled and rested. Some people are coming from very long distances after all. The minus is that until orientation here, which isn’t until next week, there isn’t a lot of guidance about how things work. Of course the dorm managers and program coordinators are always willing to help and answer questions.

And now about our dormitory here at KNU. Remember ESID.

First, if you are in the Korean language program stage of KGSP, you are required to live in a dormitory, at least at the beginning. There are some stories of people moving out later in the year, but I don’t know how common that is, and so far I’m not tempted to. My dormitory is less than $100 USD per month (about 100,000 won), so in terms of surving on a scholarship student’s budget it’s the best option for me. (Again and again ESID… In some places it might be cheaper to live off-campus.)

Wherever you are the dormitories will be split for men and women. In the USA it is not uncommon to have co-ed dormitories, but Korea is a little more conservative.

Our dormitory is, frankly speaking, pretty old. But, the rooms seem to have been recently renovated and they are clean.

My room is small, but functional. It has bunkbeds (not ideal, but I can live with it), two desks, a smallish closet, and a shoe cupboard (you always remove your shoes before entering the room, so you need someplace to put them). There’s one drawer at the bottom of the closet, but otherwise not a lot of room for clothes you don’t hang unless you purchase something extra (and there are cheap options, as well as some space in the room to put it). There’s not a lot of room for clothes you do hang, so it is further incentive to pack light! I will definitely be switching over the closet from warm weather to cold weather clothes as the season changes. Mine will probably go back home to Seoul (I haven’t even brought winter stuff), but if you don’t have that luxury, you can store stuff in an unused suitcase.

P1150057 P1150058 P1150059 P1150060

As you’ve probably noticed from the description and the pictures, I will have a roommate. Some schools have special dormitories only for foreign students, but KNU does not, or at least not for us. Some of us KGSP students are paired with other KGSP students, but my roommate will be Korean. There are advantages to both, I guess.

The floor has a room with two showers, a bunch of sinks, and one washing machine, and a separate room with 4 or 5 toilet stalls and more sinks. So, yeah, communal facilities here. I think there are schools with en suite bathrooms, but ours is not one of them. When you become a grad student in your Master’s or Doctoral program you will probably get better choices for dormitories, along with the option of living off campus. Until then, you live with what you get.

There seem to be other facilities (like computer rooms and common rooms) but I haven’t explored those yet.

There are also some rules that go along with living in a dormitory. Depending on your past experiences with dormitories, they may seem restrictive, or normal. Some of the rules here include (this is not an exhaustive list)…

  • Curfew – you should be in the dorm from 1:00 am to 5:00 am. This seems to be fairly common across most schools, so be prepared for that. Sometimes it means that you can’t enter or leave the dorm between those times, but if you plan to come back after 5:00 am you are fine… If that’s your style, then go for it. (Check first to see if that’s how it works.)
  • No co-ed visiting, or parietals as we called them in boarding school.
  • No smoking in the dorm (I like that).
  • No alcohol in the dorm. (Imported alcohol included [sic]… I’m not sure why someone would think that imported alcohol was exempt from this rule, but that’s what they told me…)
  • No getting drunk and vomitting in the dorm. I think the getting drunk is okay, but not the vomitting. If you do it discreetly in the toilet and clean up after yourself, you’re probably okay, or just get it all out of your system before you come home. I think US universities would have a lot of people on probation if they had this rule…

My dormitory has a point system, with some violations resulting in an automatic ousting from the dormitory, and others giving between -1 and -5 points. The interesting thing is that you can also get points added (instead of subtracted) for reporting emergency situations, reporting other people’s violations, or participating in dormitory events (I haven’t been told what kind of events there are though… more on that later). If you get 8 minus points you are out of the dorm and banished for one year, so basically the rest of your language year.

So that’s where I am so far.

9 thoughts on “Moving Day”

  1. Hello, When you started studying in the Korean language program, the college required you to show your official title? or it is only necessary when you start to study master degree??… I am asking because in my country right now the education ministry is delaying the legalization of titles that can be delivered by universities, I dont know if I will have the official title before August 31st (deadline); then I have a certificate legalized and apostilled that say I finished my degree already.. I dont know if NIIED is understanding… What do you think? or can give some advice?.. I hope you can answer soon…

    P.D: I am not english native speaker, sorry for my bad writing…

    1. I assume by title you mean diploma. Your language school does not need it, but usually NIIED will ask for it at orientation, and you will also need to give one to your degree school, and you may need one when applying for your new visa (when you switch from the language school to your degree program.) That last one of course you won’t need until you change, so probably next year August. For the first two, you really need to ask your university and NIIED what to do. The university will probably be able to wait, but I’m not sure about NIIED. They do only say that you should earn your degree by August 31, which would make it difficult for some people (because you’ll actually leave your country before Aug 31) to bring a copy of their degree. So I think they must have a solution, but you should ask them. And if you get an answer please let me know for others who might have the same situation!

      1. Of course I will let you know when I receive a solution… Another question: When wiil we receive settlement allowance? ^when we arrive? in the orientation day?, I mean how we will survive the firts days in korea..
        Thank you for answer ^^

  2. I hv applied KNU for my language and doctoral program .. is there any facilities to get small, low cost and single people room ??

    1. Are you KGSP or just a regular applicant? For KGSP, if you have applied for a PhD at KNU then you will not study Korean there.

      But going off the assumption that you have applied through their regular admission process, or for your information after you start your PhD…

      KNU has several dormitories, but none of them have single rooms. There will always be 2 to 4 students in a room (all female or all male), and you may be able to give some preference about which you want to live in, but it won’t guarantee you will be able to live in the one you choose. BUT, if you can see yourself living with a roommate for one semester the dormitories are a good choice when you first arrive in Korea because you will be able to apply from your home country and you won’t need any Korean language skills. Plus they are relatively inexpensive.

      If you would prefer to live off campus from the beginning, you should expect to need about 2-3 million won deposit (about 2000-3000 USD) and 200-350 thousand won per month for rent (200-350 USD). The deposit will mostly (or completely) come back when you leave. It is also possible that there are cheaper options as well. These prices are based on my own quick search right now, but because it is the middle of the semester now, the best rooms in terms of price/location/facilities are probably full.

      If you arrive a couple days early for the semester it is likely that you will be able to just walk around the outside of campus and see people who want to rent apartments to students. You can also look online ahead of time, but it is likely you will need to use Korean to do so. Once you are accepted you can ask if they can provide any assistance (even just introducing you to a current student), and if you can find any current students who live in that area someone might be able to help you find something.

    1. There are apparently 찜질방 near Namchuncheon Station and the bus terminal, but not near the school itself. Look for 화산스파랜드 and 나무향기. I’ve never been to either, so I can’t vouch for facilities or quality.

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