Life in Busan: What It’s Like to Live in a Korean University Dormitory

Looking for an area to live in Busan? Our new series looks at locals in Busan giving the inside scoop on what goes on in their neighborhood.

In our eighth installment, we talked to Indonesian student Maria Teresa about the ins and outs of life in a Korean university dormitory.

About the Area

Located in the bustling Nam-gu district, Kyungsung University is one of three universities in the area, including Pukyoung National University and Tongmyong University.

Housing options for students include a wide variety of one-room rentals and officetels in the area, both of which offer accommodation for reasonable prices.

Rooms off-campus usually have a down payment that can range from 1 million to 10 million won and can range in monthly rents from 350,000 won to 600,000 won.

Dormitory rates can range from 900,000 won per semester for a shared room to around 1,400,000 won for a single and not including the meal plan.

Meal plans are based on coupons in which higher discounts are available when you purchase a higher quantity of coupons.

Busan Metro Line 2 also offers students an inexpensive option to check out the rest of the city, and Gwangalli Beach is within a quick 5-minute taxi ride or about a 20-30 minute walk.

In front of the school also has a variety of dining and drinking options, popular with university students for years.

The Basics

Name: Maria Teresa

Occupation: Student

Where are you originally from? Jakarta, Indonesia

What area do you live in? Kyungsung University, 1st Dormitory Building, Nam-gu

How long have you lived there? Two years.

Why did you choose there? All Indonesian freshman students must live in the dormitory for the first semester, but I ended up being too comfortable here and chose to live here until now in my fifth semester.

Image: Maria Teresa

The Area

What are the positives about living in a school dorm? Besides the low living cost, what I love the most about living in the dormitory is that safety is guaranteed here because only those who have the access cards can enter and the security guards are always there 24/7 so I don’t have to worry about some stranger coming in the building during the night.

Despite the size of the room, it is very well-designed in terms of functionality. It is a student-friendly room since we are provided a large study table as the student’s priority is studying. The dorm also provides an extra study room on every floor for those who can’t focus on studying inside the room.

What are the negatives? It’s not very spacious compared to other average one-room apartments in Korea. Also, I have to share this tiny space with a roommate so I can’t really have that much privacy most of the time. But the biggest problem is not about not having any privacy, but it’s actually the curfew. I sometimes feel like I’m trapped here because I don’t have the chance to explore areas outside Busan because I have to be back by 10 p.m. every day.

Do you get to choose your roommate? I didn’t get to choose my roommate only in the first semester but surprisingly we clicked so I ended up choosing her to be my roommate in the second semester until now.

Have there ever been any conflicts with roommates that you know of? Yes. A friend of mine was sick one time during the night and she didn’t know anyone but her roommate. She hoped her roommate would help her bring her to the hospital but her roommate refused to do that. They ended up living in a separate area now.

Does the school keep a curfew for students? Before the pandemic happened, all students must be back by 1 a.m. or they will lose the points. But the school made a new regulation since the pandemic that all students must be back by 10 p.m. every day or they will be kicked out the next day.

Image: Maria Teresa

How’s the food situation? They provide food for breakfast and dinner only for dormitory students that buy the food coupons when doing registration. I’m loving the food here most of the time! They have a nutritionist working in the cafeteria so all the food menus are very well-planned, delicious and it sure is healthy so I know I’m in good hands! Thanks to all the ajjuhmas doing their hard work cooking for me and other students as well.

What kind of rules does the dorm have? The dorm has roll call every single day at 10 p.m. so the dormitory staff will do their night rounds basically just to make sure we are inside our room by that time. We are allowed to go out again after roll call to grab a night snack at the convenience store but we have to be back by 11 p.m. No one can stay out of the dorm, and CCTVs are everywhere and the card reader will say it all if we are not back by 11.

How often do you go off-campus? I am free on Friday’s so I always use that time to go recharge myself away from the campus area.

Is it easy for you to get around off-campus? There is no problem for me if I want to explore places inside Busan. But I can’t go outside Busan at all since I need to be back by 10 p.m.

If I really have to leave Busan for any events/jobs, I need the dormitory office’s authorization first. It is surely a very complicated process.

Image: Maria Teresa

Where are some of your favorite areas to go? My personal favorite area would be the Choryang-dong area especially the Sky Eye Observatory. It is a very quiet neighborhood and I get to see the view of the whole city of Busan from up there, and it became my favorite healing space.

Are there any restaurants or bars near your school that you like to go to? My number one recommendation would be my favorite salmon restaurant called Yeoneobachi (연어바치). It is located near Pukyong University. I lost count on how many times I have gone back to that restaurant.

Would you recommend living in a school dormitory to others? Yes! Especially for students who choose to prioritize school, the dorm is a good environment for studying.

If there was any other place I could live in Busan it would be: I love living in the Kyungsung University area, but I would also love to live in the Haeundae area! I think living in the heart of Busan should be fun and exciting.

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Haps Staff
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