One of the best things about working in Korea is your free housing. Not only is the cost of living cheaper in Korea than in the west, but you’re not paying rent, which makes it a lot easier to save (or spend!) money.
The apartments usually come in the form of a high rise apartment or a “villa” (please throw out any preconceived images of Italian villas). Korean villas are actually three- or four-story apartment buildings that tend to be quieter than the bigger complexes. Here is what you can expect in your housing:
If you are coming alone, you will probably end up in a studio apartment, which is one room plus a small kitchen and bathroom. If you are coming as a couple, you will most likely end up with a two-room, which is two small bedrooms (we turned our second into a small living room), a main room, a small kitchen, and a small bathroom.
The apartments are clean, comfortable and furnished with basic needs. I’ve personally never seen a really dirty or uncomfortable apartment, but I’m sure they exist.
In the kitchen, expect your basic appliances—except for an oven. Koreans don’t use them! You will have a stove top that comes with a small toaster oven.
The bathrooms are always the same—a toilet, sink, medicine cabinet, and a removable shower head above the sink. There is no shower stall or bathtub and they don’t use shower curtains so you shower in your open bathroom, which has a drain in the middle of the floor. You get used to it, but it’s a little different from home.
Most apartments come equipped with a refrigerator and a washing machine, bed and basic furniture. The school will provide these items for you. Koreans do not use dryers, so you must hang your clothes to dry near a window (there will be a drying rack that hangs down from the ceiling). Most apartments also allow access to their rooftops—which are the perfect place for summer get-togethers, grill-outs and just hanging out. Koreans use them only for drying clothes.
It’s a good idea to bring a few small items from home to make your new apartment feel homier. Photos, posters, or favorite knick-knacks can make your apartment feel a lot more like yours.