Last year in Korea I had a couples apartment, you can check that out here. But, this time around I would be living on my own in Gimpo, South Korea. So…I would say that my apartment is overall more typical of an ESL teacher’s apartment in Korea. It’s called a one room and is kind of like a studio apartment only it has some glass sliding doors to separate different areas.
Even though I was sent pictures of my apartment before hand, I was sent pictures of an empty apartment and didn’t really have a full grasp on what I would be calling home for the 16 month contract I signed. But, I knew the area was nice and the apartment was dog friendly so I really wasn’t going to be too picky. Overall, I would say my apartment is small, but it really does function perfectly for me and meets all of my needs…with the exception of a dryer…but most Korean apartments don’t come with dryers.
Here is a little blueprint I drew out to maybe help understand the layout of the apartment:
And some pics of the apartment:
With anything there are definitely pros and cons but I have to say I am pretty happy with my living arrangement. I think this apartment is definitely suited for 1 person and 1 dog max. Whenever people come over and stay, it’s definitely a tight fit. I do appreciate that the kitchen is separate from the main living area and can be closed off with a sliding door, this makes it so whatever I cook doesn’t get the smell all over my bed or closet area. Also, I like that my patio is pretty large it means I can use it as a laundry room and it serves as a huge storage area as well. I have gotten a couple months worth of bills and I think overall my bills for the apartment will be around or less than ₩100,00 (less than $100) each month. This has been around the cost during the winter time and when I compare that to my last year in Korea I found that overall bills are more expensive during winter. My place also came with a TV which is kind of a negative since I now find myself watching TV…but at least I can pretend I’m studying Korean while I watch Adventure Time in Korean.
The building that I live in is a small 4 story building with 9 apartments total in the building. I live on the second floor and the first floor of the building is actually a bar. Initially I was scared of living on top of a bar but I have found that the particular bar I live on top of is pretty quiet and since I don’t live directly above the bar I really don’t notice too much excess noise. In comparison with someone who would live in a large high rise apartment building I find that my bills are a little lower however my apartment isn’t temperature regulated. Larger apartment buildings will heat in the winter and cool in the summer, hence the extra cost.
I would have to say the biggest thing that I don’t like about my apartment would be neighborhood complaints that really have nothing to do with the apartment itself. Across from my apartment is a restaurant that serves dog meat soup and for the first month after moving in I basically ignored that entire portion of the neighborhood because I refused to acknowledge its presence. I have since come to terms with its existence and walk by it everyday on my way to and from work. The second complaint I have would be that since my area is new and developing there is construction going on…sometimes at 7:30 am (even on Sundays)…but I have been getting better about sleeping through the noise.
If you had asked me before I had ever lived in Korea I would say that having a wet bathroom would have been a complete deal breaker. One of the reasons Josh and I took our last job was because it had a shower tub. But, after staying in friends’ apartments throughout our first year in Korea and conquering the wet room shower I have to say I really don’t mind it at all now. Our first apartment had a great shower tub…but in the winter time the water heater didn’t fully heat the water and you would get a warm shower at best. So for me it’s much more important to have a hot shower than to have a bathtub.
I really love the location of where I live, I’m right next to a beautiful park which is ideal for when Aurora comes to stay with me. I’m also walking distance from stores and restaurants which makes shopping for everyday items easy even without a car. I don’t think I could have made this transition so well my first year in Korea but I changed my life style quite a bit in the last year and have been making an effort to live with less stuff. Anyways, I love my place and will enjoy calling it home until the end of this contract.