This is a follow-up post for Finding Housing for Study Abroad in Seoul filled with specifics about where I lived for the two months I spent studying Korean and doing research for a human rights course at Sungkyunkwan University this past summer. Since I am no longer in Seoul, I’m comfortable sharing my housing details! Woohoo!
I stayed at Charlestel. 찰스고시텔 has rooms for short-term and long-term stay, and part of it is reserved for Jam Guesthouse.
Contact/site: email@example.com / http://www.charlestel.com/
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 332-3
Rent: 450,000 won/month (rent varies: about 400,000~480,000 won based on size of room)
Deposit: 100,000 won
Optional Service Fees: TV, AC usage (TV usage was free for me as a bonus)
Pros: Right on the edge of a lively area and in amazing neighborhood of delicious Japanese restaurants and fantastic cafes; 3 minute walk from Hongdae Station Exits 4, 7, & 8; female-only and male-only floors; rooms renovated in 2015; good WiFi for each floor; CCTV coverage of shared spaces; private mini-fridge, shower & toilet; friendly and helpful front-desk staff; fairly quiet neighbors; cost within budget; front desk staffed from 9AM until late (usually an ahjussi patrolling late at night); coin-operated laundromat on first floor with detergent and dryer sheets for 500 won each; room deposit only 100,000 won and returned as soon as I notified owner I was leaving; local convenience store directly next to building and a GS25 right across the street; 15 minute walk to Sinchon or Hapjeong
Cons: Tiny window, paid 50,000 won extra to use AC during June; laundromat entry from street and fairly expensive (3,000 won per washer load, around 5,000 per dryer load); pricier rent due to size of room and private shower/toilet; no meals provided; tiny shared cooking area on top floor; walls not remotely soundproof (I sometimes could hear the girl in the room next to mine roll over in her sleep); door lock not remotely convincing (but an extra bar for security); few nearby places to eat solo
Alright, now you’re wondering – is this the place for me? This ‘seouldream’ blogger already did all the research and even lived here, so why bother scouring through those awful Korean housing websites at all?
In spite of the cons, and not only due to the pros I’ve listed above, I recommend Charlestel as a housing option. If you can afford the pricier rent (because yes, there are rooms elsewhere for as low at 180,000/month but the quality respectively drops, or the distance to popular areas vastly increases), you’re getting one of the better options out there. And bonus – their website says they now provide kimchi and rice!
Will your room smell when you first get home because it’s small and enclosed and has a drain connected to everybody else’s dirty water? Yes. Just run the faucet and throw open the window for a bit. Do you have to buy special area-specific trash bags to throw out your trash every week? Yes, but so does every other person in Korea.
Living here made me feel the closest to being a local that I’ve ever felt during the three different times I’ve been in Korea. The autonomy, the solitude, the challenge of living alone in Seoul. I loved it.
읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!