You’ve got your place at CAU! Congrats! Your flight is booked and you’re all ready to go but where are you going to live? The two main options you have are either staying in the CAU dorms or living off campus in a Goshiwon (고시원). Not sure which is best for you? Well here are a list of the pros and cons for both.
- The Blue Mir Hall dorms are some of the newest buildings in CAU. Building 308 was built in 2010 followed by building 309 in 2015. The bedrooms have wooden floors, which are easy to clean and there is plenty of space for two. They provide you with a broom and dustpan, a plunger and a toilet cleaner, a basket and a scrub brush for the shower, a trash can for the room, and a wastebasket for the bathroom.
- You don’t have to share a bathroom with the whole floor. You have a shower, sink, and toilet all for you and your roommate.
- The walls are thick. There are also no footsteps sounding from upstairs.
- There is more than enough storage space. The closets have three drawers inside them, but the clothing rod is hung high inside, so there is plenty of room to hang your dresses and long coats. There are also two drawers built into the bed frame that can store clothing, or bedding, or whatever else. The desk has three drawers and storage shelving. The medicine cabinet in the bathroom has plenty of space for both you and your roommate’s things. There is also a shoe closet at the entrance to your dorm room.
- The desks are very spacious so you do not feel cramped when doing your homework.
- The individual rooms have their own Wi-fi and the signal is really good. There is also Wi-Fi for the entire floor for when you’re sitting in the common room.
- The common room has a large refrigerator, an iron and ironing board, a microwave, and a hot/cold water filter. There is also a stack of label stickers located on the fridge so you can label the food items you put in the fridge.
- Convenience stores are located at the bottom of both dorms as well as a cafeteria, ATMs, mailboxes, and laundry rooms. There is also a study room plus a gym.
- The cost of the dorms is nothing compared to what you could pay while living off campus or in another university’s dorms. Per semester it’s roughly 1,298,000KRW (less than $1,200USD).
- There is a frosted door to the shower and a frosted door to the toilet. That’s great. However, there is no door separating the bathroom from the bedroom. Luckily, this problem can easily be solved by investing in a curtain and curtain rod to place in the entrance of the bathroom.
- There is no real place to store large suitcases. So if your suitcase is too big it might not fit anywhere. Luckily there is enough space that you can have it out without it being a disturbance.
- You have to have your room card in the card holder for any electricity to go to the room. Luckily the AC kicks in very quickly! If you and your roommate are both going somewhere together and will be returning to the dorm together, then one of you can leave your card in the slot.
- The campus is built on a hill and the dorms are at the very top. If you do not want to slip then get shoes with good traction for the rainy season. For those of you who don’t want to walk all of the time, there is a bus that goes from the front gate to the back gate which is near the dorms.
- Keep in mind that there is a 1am curfew. If you miss curfew, then you’re locked out of your room until 5am and you will receive penalty points for missing curfew.
- You are only supplied with a fitted bed sheet when you move in meaning you have to either bring bedding with you or go out and buy bedding when you arrive.
- People who do not live in the dormitory are not allowed inside the residence halls. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about strangers entering the building. On the other hand, if you make friends with people in class that don’t live in the dorms, you can’t have them over to hang out or study.
- Having a roommate is like having someone assigned to spend time with you. They are your friend-by-default. The relationship between you and your roommate depends on both you and your roommate’s ability to be open to different ideas and to have clear communication with one another.
Living Off Campus (Goshiwon)
- Cheap (prices normally start from 250,000원 a month (roughly $220).
- No curfew so you don’t have to worry about telling anyone when you are planning on staying out all night or missing the last subway back and having to worry about getting any penalty points
- Located near university / subway stations.
- Some offer private bathrooms, but this means paying a higher price. I personally, pay 380,000원 (around $335) a month for my room with a private bathroom.
- Many Goshiwons offer some basic foods such as kimchi, rice and noodles for free with some even providing laundry detergent for free too.
- There is a kitchen provided full with dishes and utensils meaning you can be self-sufficient and also not have to worry about buying pans, plates etc and then not know what to do with them when you move out. There is also a fridge in each room where you can store your food without worrying about someone else stealing it.
- The rooms are super small. Like really small. Some places do have bigger rooms however this comes with a bigger price tag. However, it isn’t too bad as all I really do in my room is sleep as I’m usually out with friends during the evenings and weekend and I have classes in the day.
- You have to be super quiet. A lot of students live in Goshiwons to focus on studying and if you are being too loud, they won’t hesitate to knock on your door and ask you to be quiet, I would know as this has happened to me.
- You are not allowed to have guests over including boyfriends or girlfriends and you are also not allowed to bring alcohol in either.
- The manager’s limited English skills. The man who runs the Goshiwon where I live has limited English skills which is understandable as this is Korea. However, I also have limited Korean skills so there are times when I cannot fully understand what is being said. One way to solve this problem is if you have any Korean friends or someone you know who speaks better Korean than you, ask them to come with you when you first move in so they can translate anything you cannot understand as this is the time where the manager will explain the rules of the Goshiwon to you and also ask you to sign a contract.
- You normally will have to pay some sort of deposit. With living in the university dorms, there is no deposit, only paying the whole fee one month in. For my Goshiwon, I needed to pay a third of my first month’s rent along with paying for a new bedding set which costed around $150 and then the day I moved in, I paid the rest of the first month’s rent and also a key fee of around $50 which will be returned to me when I move out.
So there are the pros and cons of living on and off campus. Personally, I think living on campus is much easier and nicer than living off campus and if I had known then what I do now about the dorms, then I would not have gone to live in a Goshiwon. That’s not to say that all Goshiwons are horrible, this is just my personal view. I hope this post of the pros and cons of each has helped to inform you before you make your decision!