My Korean Apartment

Authored by:
Jessica B.

Jessica B.

I have to say, I'm a little in love with my Korean apartment.

For the next year, I think it will do quite nicely! When all was said and done, the move into my new apartment was completed in a little under an hour. If I had to guess, I would say the Director of my school was paying the moving man by the hour, as nothing else seems to explain the frantic pace at which all of my things were moved out of my quarantine apartment and rushed to the new location. Carrying everything up three flights of stairs was practically an Olympic event. Turns out that most of the items in the quarantine apartment would be coming with me to my new place. That included any food or drink, the microwave, the bed and all the bedding, and the drying rack from the laundry room. The director also added a table, two chairs, and a bed frame. (Although the bed frame is really just a wooden shell that wraps around two plastic pallets, which actually support the bed.)

I am on the third floor of this very lovely apartment building. The window is located in my "laundry room,"

Below is the front door to the apartment building, which is accessed by the small key pad to the right. What blows my mind is the mailbox. See the strip of black all the way on the right side of the door? Those are open slots where mail is slid through. On the other side, there are just open bins for each apartment. In Korea, people don't mess with your packages or mail. They are simply good neighbors.

Front door with keypad and mailboxes

The room itself is set up in a pretty typical style for Korean apartments. There is a main room which has the bed, and it is separated from the laundry room and the kitchen/bathroom by two separate sliding doors. For heating and cooling purposes, only the "main room" is heated or cooled. There is floor heating for the winter and an A/C unit for the summer. At night, I slide all the doors closed to the main room so that I can keep utility costs low. It is a little uncomfortable in the morning, but once I open the sliding door between the main room and the kitchen/bathroom the temperature regulates relatively quick.

Front entrance to my apartment!

 

Kitchen

 

The door to the bathroom is on the far right.

 

Bathroom. Notice the showerhead? There are no separate showers in South Korea. Everything is done in the same room.
Main room
Main room
Main room
Laundry Room. The washer is provided, along with the drying rack that can be lowered from the ceiling.

So, like most Korean apartments, there is an small inset area right inside the front door. Shoes are not to be worn inside the apartment. The cabinet to the left of the door is where shoes are stored. When guests come over, they leave their shoes in the little entrance area and are either in their socks or barefoot in your apartment. If you have insecurities about your bare feet better get used to bringing a spare pair of socks with you wherever you go. A lot of Koreans will have "guest slippers" that visitors can wear around inside.

The kitchen is small, but other than lacking an oven, it is quite sufficient for one person. At least a person who doesn't cook very often...which I don't. The bathroom is much the same as my quarantine apartment, but with a nice pop of yellow tile, which I actually don't mind. The room was empty except for my bed and table from quarantine. The bed is a little strange. It's sort of like a box spring and a regular mattress all in one.

My apartment is slightly older than some of the other foreign teachers at my school, but you would never know it. Well, with the exception of the very 70's themed wallpaper that decorates one wall in the main room. Although it's not my cup of tea, there are certainly worse wallpapers I could have been stuck with.

There was no place to put my clothes, so I had to buy a few pieces for clothes storage (like the clothing rack above). I don't want to spend too much furnishing the room since I might only be here for a year, but I also want it to feel a little bit like home.The laundry room comes with a good sized washer and a drying rack which is suspended from the ceiling. I have a really good view outside of the laundry room window.

The view from my window. I love it because it feels authentically Korean. 

The pictures I shared above are all from when I first moved into my apartment. It looks a little different now that I have been living there for over four months. It definitely feels more like home now than it did when I first moved in. I waited about a month after I moved in before I ordered any extra storage racks or furniture because I wanted to get a feel for what I would need. I did end up buying another storage rack for the laundry room, and a small bookshelf for the main room. Those two items helped me feel more organized and gave me space to fully unpack all of my stuff, and still have room for things I might buy while I am here. 

Apartments in South Korea do not come furnished AT ALL, so the only stuff you will have in your apartment will be what your school provides (and every school is different.) You will face the dilemma, as I did, about how much stuff you should buy for your apartment. You will have extra income, since your housing costs are covered, so the temptation to go all out in decorating will hit very hard. Just try to remember that you won't be able to take much of it with you when you go home. So think about how easily you might be able to re-sell the items you do buy. (And yes, they do have the equivelent of Craigslist/FB Marketplace in Korea.)

If you have any questions about living in South Korea, don't hesitate to ask!

 

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