Here in Korea I live in the dorms for international and exchange students at Korea University. Our dorms quite literally are on the top of a mountain and even in the few weeks I have been here my calves have gotten so strong. As a Sutherland Hall veteran, I have to say this hill puts Cardiac Hill to shame a few times over.
The location of the dorms is quite difficult, but besides this I would say that my living situation is quite similar to the freshman dorm experience at Pitt. I have a roommate from Thailand and we share a room, a private bathroom, and many inside jokes about how much frustration we have with our air conditioning system. The two of us live together very well so I am very thankful that I don’t have many stresses related to my living situation.
I think that while the concept of the dorms is very similar to American dorms, there are many cultural differences evident in everyday dorm life here in Korea. First of all, it is very quiet. I remember my dorm experience to have been filled with laugher and conversations and open doors. Here, this is not the case. I’ve met a few of my neighbors but it is considered rude to speak loudly in public spaces in the dorm so it’s difficult to meet people in my building outside of our shared kitchen.
What I do like about my dorm is the amount of diversity we have in such a small space. Everyday I hear dozens of languages and speak with people from every corner of the world and walk of life. We are all united by the fact that we are going through the exchange experience together so I feel like even if it’s quiet and difficult to build relationships on an individual basis, I know that we all look out for each other. As I have lived off-campus for the past two years at Pitt, I can’t say I have missed the dorm life, but it has been a positive experience and a good way for me to stay plugged in with student life here at KU.