Living in Seoul and at Hanyang University (part 1): Overview and Costs

1. Overview (Personal comments):

I had a very nice time on my school exchange to Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. I signed up for the exchange through the myHubs program. I was fortunate to be granted a scholarship that paid for part of my flight, for my housing, and gave me a living allowance. In return I was asked to write a blog post every week about my experiences in Korea. I would recommend this trip to anyone with an open mind to food and an adventurous spirit.

I was living in an on campus dormitory in a shared room with Frank, a very nice fellow from Montreal. The dorm was comfortable and our room had a private washroom with built-in shower. The showers in Korea are not in a separate space instead the whole washroom is waterproof with a drain in the floor and the shower head comes out of the sink faucet and is held by a bracket on the wall.

I was on the 7th floor of the Techno Dormitory. On the main floor was a cafeteria that had Korean meals three times a day for 3,300 Won ($3.00). These meals were my main meals in Korea. They were tasty, healthy, and you could get seconds if you were still hungry.

Traveling in Korea is very easy with high speed trains (KTX), subway, buses, and a great transit system. I visited Busan (부산) and Jeju Island (제주도) and a number of towns near Seoul during my time in Korea. Busan in the south is the second largest city and has beaches in town and is a very nice city to visit. Jeju island is just south of Korea and is like the Korean version of Hawaii and is a beautiful and popular vacation and honeymoon spot.

Living in Seoul is very nice as there is always something going on. The city has many areas that are full of restaurants and shops as well as many markets and sights to see. Some highlights are: Yongsan Electronics Market (용산전자상가), Dongdaemun Night Market (동대문 야시장), Gangnam (강남) (the high-end business center in Seoul), Gyeongbokgung palace (경복궁) and Hanok Village (한옥마을), Namsan Mountain (남산) and Seoul tower, Itaewon district (이태원) , Hongdae the arts district (홍대) (where Hongik Univeristy is), and much more.


2. Important:

There is only a two day course drop deadline so you need to make sure your courses are sorted out the first week of school during that period.


3. Costs:

  • $1 is about 1,100 Won (as of Jan. 1, 2015)
  • Many costs are very similar to the U.S.A. and Canada
  • Groceries are more expensive (especially fruits and vegetables)
  • Meals at on campus cafeterias are inexpensive around 3,300 to 5,000 Won
  • Korean Beer and Soju are very inexpensive and can be purchased anywhere (Supermarkets, E-Mart, Lotte Mart, and convenient stores).
  • Soju is a drink similar to vodka with 20% alcohol.
  • A delicious meal of Korean BBQ costs 10,000 to 15,000 Won per person. There are always unlimited sides dishes (like Kimchi, salad, and pickled radish).
  • Check debit cards and Bank card you can load with transit cash to use the system. Taxis and some stores even accept T-money as payment.
  • Taxis are very inexpensive. A taxi within the number two subway line in Seoul will usually cost 10,000 to 12,000 Won. Don’t take the taxi from the airport, as both airports are far away from Seoul and it would be very expensive by taxi whereas the airport train is very inexpensive with lots of room and fast. Once you arrive in Seoul by train you can then take a taxi if you don’t want to use the subway with all your luggage. Additionally, the on campus housing is a fair distance from the subway stations (10~15 minute walk from Hanyang University Station and Wangsimni Station).
  • Umbrellas are very cheap. You can get a cheap one for 5,000 Won.
  • PC Bang (Computer Cafés) 1,500 to 2,500 Won per hour. These are very common.

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