Choosing a place to stay for exchange is difficult, particularly to manage cost and convenience. Thus, I elected to reside in a university dorm for my International Summer Semester at Sungkyunkwan University under PRIMO program. I went on one of ANU Global Program’s PRIMO short course to South Korea during the 2019 winter break.

Having lived on campus for my first semester at ANU, I was curious to compare the two residences and experience it through an exchange perspective.

In order to stay in an SKKU dorm, students must opt in during the application process for the International Summer Semester. Through this, students are not offered a selection, but are allocated a residence, which can be viewed here: https://summer.skku.edu/summer/life/housing01.do.

Residences are also split by gender, with two residences allocated to women and one for men. The dormitory cost is 650 000 KRW (which at the time of writing was equivalent to roughly 725 AUD), for the entire length of the program, with two days prior to the commencement of the course allocated for check in, and with the option to extend stay for up to seven nights at 30 000 KRW per night (roughly 37 AUD). While the cost is a little steep, I believe its value lies in its proximity to campus, as well as the potential to meet students from around the world. My roommate was from the Netherlands, having studied at VU Amsterdam and Leiden University, while there were also many Singaporeans from NTU and Mexicans from Tecnológico de Monterrey amongst others.

International House is the closest residence to the campus, within a five-minute walk to the main entrance and ten minutes to the main buildings where classes are located. Make sure to bring appropriate footwear, as the campus is built on a hill and the surrounding streets are uneven and hilly! It is also a 10-15 minute walk to Hyehwa Station, giving students access to the vast Seoul metro system, as well as plenty of food options and convenience stores. The building has a blend of modernity and tradition, requiring fingerprint access at the main entrance, with keys used to access the individual rooms and activate the electricity for each room. There is also a curfew, from 1:00am to 5:00am Sun-Thurs.

Rooms are twin share, which varied from ANU residence, and bathrooms are provided in each room (tip: bring a small towel to prevent flooding from the shower). They provided super single beds, a mattress protector, blanket and pillow, as well as a small desk, some shelving, and some drawers under the bed. Make sure to bring some slippers to wear around the building, as parts of the bedroom require you to be barefoot, and sometimes you may not want to have to put your shoes on again. Additionally, consider bringing a bedsheet, as they are difficult to find nearby, and are not typically used in Korea, and definitely bring a pillow case. Communal spaces include the kitchen and dining area, as well as an open-air study space and a table tennis table. Each room has its own internet router, granting wi-fi access, and an air-conditioning system, as well as fridges on each floor, and two laundry rooms throughout the dorm.

For women, there is the option of a shared flat, with six residents sharing three bedrooms, a kitchen, living space, and two bathrooms.

Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living at International House for this program. The community is supportive and friendly, as well as being a convenient location to SKKU.