Studying in Korea

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Daily life in Korea

After deciding to study in Korea, the next things to do is to decide a school and accommodation. When deciding on a school, availability of dormitory should be considered. When unavailable, a boarding house or renting a room can be also an option.
a. Dormitory
Most universities in Korea manage apartments on campus, dormitories, and/or various types of residences. In order to stay in a dormitory students have to follow the application procedures which can be different depending on the university so students should check the process on the university website.
(1) Application period: February for spring semester, August for fall semester
(2) Required documents: dormitory application form and other documents required by each university
(3) Types: a room for 1 person, 2 people or 4 people
(4) Cost: 700,000KRW - 1,200,000 for 6 months (sometimes meals can be included)
(5) Length of stay: 6 months (application to be submitted each semester)
(6) Note: rules and regulations of each university should be checked and followed
Example) OO University Dormitory Application
1. Dates
   ① Application Period: Every January / August
   ② Selection: Every February / August
2. Application and Selection
① Selection criteria: Freshmen and first-comers assigned with priority
② Documents: Application for Dormitories (downloadable), Proof of Enrollment, Official Transcript, Proof of Insurance
③ Selected by the Office of International Cooperation randomly
3. Dormitory Types
International House (2 students per room), Techno Residence (2 students per room), 1st year student dormitories (4 students per room, priority given to freshmen)
4. Fees
① International House, Techno Residence: 1,200,000 KRW for 6 months (security deposit-50,000 KRW)
② 1st year student dormitories: 900.000 KRW for 6 months (securtiy deposit-50,000 KRW)
5. Duration of Stay: 6 months
6. Notice
- If all required documents are not submitted by the moving-in date, dormitory rooms will not be assigned, and the application will be withdrawn.
7. Contact: Office of International Cooperation ☎ 02-0000-0045
b. Boarding House
When a dormitory is not available, the next option is a boarding house. A boarding house provides room and food and receives payment, which differs from room rent without meals. A boarding house is popular for young students because it is a good way to become familiar with Korean lifestyle. However, it is hard to maintain privacy in a boarding house because it is a communal type of residence.
(1) Where to find: many boarding houses available around university campuses
(2) Price: 200,000KRW - 1,000,000KRW per month (Depending on cities, the price varies: in Seoul, 350,000KRW - 550,000KRW, in metropolitan cities such Daegu or Busan, 300,000KRW - 500,000KRW, and in other rural areas, less expensive.)
(3) Meal: usually breakfast and dinner are provided at a fixed dining time. (Students should strictly observe the dining time)
(4) How to find: the best way to find a proper house for you is to look for one by yourself. You can refer to the bulletin boards of your college or university. (Some colleges and universities offer housing information through the International Partnership Department). You can also refer to advertisements in newspapers.
(5) Contract: directly contact the landlord of the house and to agree upon the contract.
Tip! Important things consider when looking for room & board-One person or two persons in a room?
* What time is breakfast and dinner?
* What is the menu?
* Is the kitchen available?
* Is the bathroom clean?
* How many students share a bathroom?
* Is a laundry machine available?
* What is furnished?
* Is lnternet available and included?
c. Goshiwon
A Goshiwon is a small room somewhere around three square meters that students will often live in for a number of months in order to focus on a test. It usually has very limited space but is commonly furnished with an air-conditioner, desk, and bed. Usually there is a shared laundry machine and some goshiwons have restaurants attached. Careful decision should be made considering safety and emergency procedures in case of incidents such as fire.
Goshiwons are very affordable, located near each college or university area, especially in Sinlim-dong and Noryangjin-dong in Seoul. The cost may differ depending on options such as facilities and meals. The cost ranges from 170,000 to 450,000KRW per month. Information can be found on bulletin boards or websites of universities.
d. Rent
You can rent a room for one person or a house with several rooms that would be suitable for several people.
(1) How to find: real estate offices, house advertisements in newspapers and other advertisements.
(2) Types: Officetel, apartment, one bachelor room, a house good for one person
(3) Kind of lease
(a) Wolse (Monthly Rent): There are two types; no deposit, but monthly payment, or a small deposit which will lessen the monthly rent amount.
(b) Jeonse (Key money deposit): Jeonse or key money deposit is a housing rental system specific to Korea. Instead of paying monthly rent to a landlord, a large lump sum payment is deposited into the landlord’s bank account for the duration of the contract. By law, Jeonse contracts are signed for two years. At the end of the contract, the deposited amount is returned to the renter.
① Studio (One Room): The deposit can range from 30 million to100 million KRW. The rooms more furnished and closer to subway stations or bus stops are more expensive. One room includes facilities for eating, sleeping, and cooking.
② House: Students can rent one room or several rooms. Renting a house only for one person may cost at least 50 million KRW as deposit. Renting a house with two or three bedrooms would require a deposit around 50million to 100 million KRW. The more expensive ones have better facilities and location.
③ Town house: The deposit is around 50-100 million KRW for two bedrooms, living room, bathroom, and balcony.
④ Apartment: The average deposit is over 100 million KRW.
※ In Korea, it is common that no furniture and home appliances are provided to tenants. Therefore, tenants should urnish their rooms by themselves.
(c) Saguelse: This is similar to Wolse or monthly rent, but differs because tenants make a deposit and the monthly rent is deducted. The monthly fee is rather low ranging from 150,000 to 300,000KRW but usually bathrooms or toilets are shared. This type of lease is very uncommon these days, but still available in rural areas.
(d) Combined Payment (Monthly payment + deposit): Wolse requires renters to deposit an arranged amount of money with the landlord, with monthly rent paid on a specified date of each month. The minimum deposit amount depends on the landlord, but the total amount of deposit sum is negotiable with the landlord. The deposit sum can be increased in order to lower the monthly rent fee. For instance, an increase of 5 million won in deposit money will result in a deduction of 50,000 won from the monthly rental fee. In the case the renter fails to make a monthly payment, the landlord has the right to deduct the amount from the key money deposit.
Landlords of wolse and saguelse usually pay for new wallpaper and linoleum flooring, and repair of waterworks and plumbing. However, in the case of “monthly payment + deposit”, any repair expense less than 40,000 won, is not usually paid by landlords. Although landlords are not necessarily responsible for the expenses for new wallpaper or linoleum, it is negotiable. In case of cancellation of the wolse or sageulse lease before the contract period, fees for remaining period are to be returned.
If more than a half of month has passed since residence began, payment for the remaining is not refundable. The contract for jeonse or combined payment is usually for two years, but sometimes it is negotiable for one year.
To avoid legal issues, using a real estate agent is highly recommended because indemnity can be claimed to the agent. Concerning any legal problems, you can consult with the following centers:
●Seoul City Call Center for Lease: 02)731-6720~1
●National Tax Service Call Center: 126
●Seoul City Call Center for Commercial Lease: 02)2133-1221
●Korean Legal Aid Cooperation: 132
●Real Estate Transaction Management Call Center: 1588-0149
When making a contract for one bachelor room (one-room), flats or apartments, it is safest and wisest to use real estate agents. Information can be found in various newspapers, periodicals or advertisements, but again real estate agents highly more recommended.
※ Korea Association of Realtors:
Tip! Things to consider when renting a room:
What is furnished: air-conditioner, desk, bed?
* Is the place furnished with a washing machine?
* What are the conditions of the lease?
* Are utilities included?
* How much is the monthly maintenance fee?
* Is Internet connection free?
* How often should/can I dispose of garbage?