One of the biggest changes for me since I have been in Korea is being a resident again! I had been a resident adviser (RA) at St. Kate’s for two years prior, and it was such an interesting experience being a resident again. The main difference was being in another country with different rules. I actually live in a 7-story international building in Korea with exchange students from all over the world!
Similar to St. Kate’s, I am not allowed to have anything that can catch fire and burn. There are very strict regulations on guest policies as well. I found it amusing as I went through the housing directory booklet that instructed me on what I can and cannot do as well as things that can get me evicted—like partaking in illegal activities. Even my roommate, Rita Yu ’16, found it interesting.
Yu currently attends the University of Washington after transferring from Macao University of Science and Technology. She pointed out that in Korea, the opposite sex cannot enter each other’s room, but in both Washington and Macao, she lived in dorms where her neighbors were of the opposite sex.
Here in Korea at Yonsei University, the college that we both attend, entering a room of the opposite sex is one of the few rules that can get us evicted. Not only is this a difference from the schools that Yu has attended, but our room is very small compared to the other rooms she has lived in.
“Although Macao is small, my room was still big,” Yu said.
Yu stated that our room is about a third of the size of her dorm in Macao. To me, our room is only slightly smaller than the rooms in Crandall and Stanton at St. Kate’s.
I agree with Yu that the biggest difference from living in a dorm in Korea compared to living in a dorm in the U.S. is the concept of storage space.
Our closets are very small—they are about half the size of the closets in a typical removable-furniture dorm like in St. Mary’s. In addition, even if we wanted to move furniture around, our room is just too small, so I feel very lucky that my roommate and I get along in such close quarters.
Another difference I have noticed is the energy usage in dorms and residence halls.
For example, a cool thing about living on campus in Korea is the key card. Our lights will not turn on without a key card that lets us in and out of the dorm. It is the key to let us into the building as well as into our room. A small wall pocket is by the door where we insert our key cards, and that enables the electricity to run in the room. This is such a great invention that saves energy. I never have to worry about turning off my lights and wasting energy when I leave. The room is built in a way that automatically saves energy. It makes me feel good to be in an environment that is very forward-thinking about conservation.