A key part of your study trip to Korea will be the choice of accommodation. There are various options, but many of these can be expensive, especially if you have not yet decided how long you want to live there. Therefore, we recommend budget-friendly yet comfortable student accommodation in Korea to suit your needs.
School dormitory in Korea
The dormitory (기숙사) is the most popular student accommodation in Korea. In fact, all universities offer their own dormitories, divided between foreign students in Korean courses and students in graduate courses.
The price of a dorm room in Seoul usually varies between $700-$1000 per term, depending on the university and the type of room. There are mostly double or quadruple rooms, divided by gender, though sometimes a few single rooms are available. In Busan prices go down, and a dorm room for 6 months can cost almost half of what it would cost in Seoul.
Keep in mind that the dormitory has rules to follow, such as curfew times. In most cases, you have to be back by midnight, or 1am, otherwise you may have to spend the night out.
Students who use the dormitory at some universities can also take advantage of meal vouchers, at an extra cost, to keep the cost of food to a minimum.
Shared house or shared flat
If you prefer to have more freedom, especially in terms of timetables, and to have the opportunity to practice your Korean with roommates, a shared house is definitely for you. The monthly cost varies from $400-$600 per month, utilities included, in different types of rooms (single, double, etc.), with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Some houses are mixed, while others are for women only.
This type of flat is quite spacious, clean, fully furnished, and the house manager often organizes events such as language and intercultural exchange.
A deposit plus any management/contractual fees of around $500-$600 is required at the time of booking, part of which is returned when you leave the flat. You can rent the room for a minimum of one month with a renewable contract, giving one month’s notice to the landlord.
Goshiwon or mini-studio
If you prefer to have your own space without having to share a room with others, and more freedom in terms of schedules, you can opt for a goshiwon (고시원). It is a very small single room, already furnished, with an in-suite bathroom and shower. The rent is $300-$400 per month, depending on the size and the neighborhood, so it can be cheaper if you are far from the center. The kitchen is shared with the other tenants and utility bills are included in the rent. Again, we refer to prices in Seoul. In Busan they can be lower.
The goshiwon is certainly a convenient way to have privacy, but keep in mind that they are really small spaces, sometimes less than 8 square metres of room without a window to the outside. Also, in most cases the shower is together with the sink and toilet, so if you take a shower you will also wet the rest of the bathroom.
Goshiwons are convenient because they do not require a deposit, and it is possible to book a goshiwon for periods of one week or more, which makes them a great accommodation for short stays. Find more information about the goshiwon here.
If you want to have a complete experience in Korea, then you should do a homestay. You will have your own private room, share the rest of the house with a Korean family, share meals with them, and have the opportunity to practice your Korean, as families hardly speak any other language than Korean. The price of the homestay is $700-$900 per month, if we include one or two meals per day.
Even in the case of the homestay there will be rules to respect, such as curfew, which will depend on the family to which you are assigned. It is possible to book just a short experience in a host family, for a few weeks, and then move to a different accommodation if it is too expensive to live there for a whole semester.
Another alternative for student accommodation in Korea is called a one room (원룸), which is a single room with private bathroom, very similar to goshiwons. The one room, however, requires a contract of at least one year, with a rather large deposit at the entrance (from $1000-$5000).
Then there is a officetel (오피스텔), which is also similar to the ‘one room’, but more spacious. Again, the initial contract is for a minimum of one year, and the entry fees are at least $3000-$4000 just for the deposit. These flats are partially furnished.
If you are planning your study trip to Korea and need help with accommodation, please contact us for information or visit our accommodation page to see prices. The cheapest and most comfortable option for student accommodation in Korea is the dormitory, but everyone has their own needs, so don’t hesitate to contact us to find out what options are available to you!
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