Did you know, when applying to live in the dorms at Ewha Womans University, that rooms are first come first serve? I didn’t, so I who submitted my application after the deadline had to go apartment hunting.
Some context: I found out I didn’t get a space in the dorms a month before I had to start school. It was at home, which was a good and bad thing. The good thing was I wasn’t in Seoul yet, so I wasn’t homeless. The bad thing was I had to find a place remotely.
I joined a Seoul housing group on Facebook and sifted through a lot of houses. There were criteria, though. Rent had to be less than 500,000 won and it had to be a single-sex place. Everyday I bookmarked pages that caught my interest, but none if them were good for me.
Safety is one of the most important things in our lives, so I really wanted to make sure wherever and whoever were safe. I tried recruiting someone from my school to live with me, but sadly that failed.
Even though I put a lot of effort into finding a place, I couldn’t find anything that was right. So I took it to a place that I thought was unreliable.
Yes, there is a page on Craiglist for housing in Seoul. There’s definitively some untrustworthy posts, like one that said something along the lines of, If you are a woman looking for housing contact me. But I found a diamond in the haystack!
I lived in Yeonnam-dong during my first semester at Ewha. It’s a really awesome place to live and visit, because it’s next to Hongdae, but in a quieter area.
But I think the reason why I had such a great experience was because I was living like an actual adult. My experience is different from others living in dorms, because I didn’t have a community of international students that were close-by. My classes weren’t 15 minutes away. Ewha was 40 minutes away by walking and during the spring, I walked every day.
It was hard. Extremely hard to live without a support system around me. But I am grateful for the struggle I experienced, because I am definitely a stronger person today.
I grew up in a way that wouldn’t have happened if I lived on-campus. Since I am still a student, I haven’t experienced the real world yet, so this was a taste that I am happy to have tried. I’ll be living in the dorms next year, but thank you Yeonnam-dong for teaching me the ropes of growing up.