The past month of living in Korea I have been commuting back and forth to and from school. For the first month, I lived mostly with a host family in Korea, I would wake up in the morning at around 6 am and get ready. I would eat breakfast with my host family exactly at 7:30 am. Then after eating I would immediately get my things ready to leave and head to school.
In Korea, you can ride either the subway or take the bus to get where you need to go. It usually depends on where you are going and if it is within walking distance to the station.
My house was in the middle of both the station and the bus stop, so I could take either one. However, if I rode the subway, I would still need to take a bus to get to the actual school since it was on a mountain. Taking the bus was much faster because there was a bus that would take me directly to the entrance to the school. It took me around 45 minutes to actually get to my class in the end. I always had to think about how long it would take me the night before and plan my homework accordingly. Sometimes I would read on the bus ride or watch a documentary for class.
Later on, though, I realize now that this also may not have been the best plan since the bus leads to the entrance of the school.
Sounds confusing, right?
The thing is that I was attending the school with the largest campus in all of Korea. Which meant if you get off at the entrance you would need to walk for twenty to forty minutes to get to the class area. If you’re in engineering it is better to just ride the shuttle bus for twenty minutes rather than walking for an hour to get to class.
Even though Seoul National was so far from every part of Seoul, I found that many of the Korean students I met chose to commute thirty minutes to an hour to attend the school. The dorms were limited in space for the students, they gave priority to students who came from outside of Seoul and foreigners. Therefore, most of the students would simply continue living with their parents and commute to school.
After changing my accommodation and moving to what Koreans would call a “One-room,” I found out how much faster it would have been if I had taken the subway ad the shuttle to get to school since the shuttle let out directly in the part of campus where my classes were.
All in all, commuting is way harder than I had ever expected. I definitely respect my friends in the US who commuted to school every day. My friend was about a 45-minute drive from the school. Part of me thought that if she could commute, then, I could absolutely do it too since my house was only 15 minutes from the school. I even thought about commuting to school my senior year to save money.
Suffice to say, I overestimated myself quite a lot.
Although, after experiencing transportation in Korea I find myself also favoring the idea of a subway more than a car.