Louis shares his experience on dormitory quarantine in South-Korea

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What’s it like to experience a dormitory quarantine at Hanyang University?

Louis, an engineering student from France, is studying abroad for spring semester 2021 at Hanyang University, South Korea with Asia Exchange. Hanyang University’s ERICA campus offers dormitory quarantine instead of finding self-quarantine accommodation to all incoming students arriving in South Korea. Louis decided to spend his 14-day quarantine in the Hanyang dormitory. He kindly shared his extraordinary quarantine experience with us.

Why choose dormitory quarantine in South Korea?

Louis wanted to study in South Korea to experience something new and different. His home university in France, ISEN Yncrea Mediterranee Toulon, offered many study abroad options for engineering students. But he decided to choose the Hanyang University, located in the Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea. He applied to Hanyang University with five of his friends. Sharing the exchange experience with a group of friends is amazing because you can explore the world and have unforgettable moments with the people you care about.

At Hanyang University, Louis is going to study engineering courses. His courses will be most likely online due to the COVID-19 situation. The university’s ERICA Campus is located in Ansan, about 40 minutes from central Seoul. He chose the dormitory quarantine because of the effortlessness and low price. “It is the easiest and cheapest option, less expensive than Airbnb,” says Louis. Therefore, Louis recommends dormitory quarantine if you have the option. “There isn’t much to take care of by myself. It’s like a hotel; you come here and just wait for the meals”, says Louis. Sounds almost like a four-star hotel with full service!

You might also be interested in: Why should you choose to study abroad in South Korea?

The arrival in South Korea

Louis’ study abroad journey started way before getting on a plane to South Korea. After being accepted in the program and receiving his visa, Louis started to prepare for his arrival and quarantine time. South Korea has handled the corona crisis extraordinary well and the COVID-19 situation has been under control due to effective actions such as extensive testing and rapid tracing, strict immigration procedures and a 14-day quarantine. Having a safe semester abroad in South Korea is worth all the efforts that need to be taken before and during arrival into the country.

In France, Louis had to take a PCR test and needed to see a doctor before the flight to confirm that he did not have any COVID symptoms. At the airport in South Korea, he had to take another test and download a quarantine application used by Korean officials to keep travellers coming into the country safe. To get to the ERICA Campus dormitory, Louis and his friends took a special quarantine bus. After the bus ride, an ambulance took them to their accommodation two by two. It was an arrival to remember!

Dorm room in quarantine south korea
His room during quarantine, he had the room for himself

How the Dormitory Quarantine at Hanyang University works

His quarantine room described Louis as being a typical Korean dorm room for two. It is symmetrical: two beds on both sides, desks and a bathroom. Nothing too fancy, but there is everything you would need. When Louis arrived at his dormitory, masks were provided for the students. Moreover, everyday essentials such as soaps, towels, a blanket and pillows were arranged. Louis is spending his quarantine time there alone, even though the room is meant for two students.

The daily routine at Hanyang dormitory quarantine is structured around mealtimes. Hanyang provides meals three times a day: breakfast at 9-10 AM, lunch around noon and dinner at 5-6 PM. Thus, students can experience Korean cuisine already during the quarantine. The meals usually include rice, Korean meat and vegetables. According to Louis, the meals have generally been great. Louis says that one of the only downsides of staying in dormitory quarantine is that students cannot order takeaway food to their room. However, three Korean meals per day are included in the price of the 14-day dormitory quarantine, which is not bad!

Food in quarantine south korea
You get to try Korean cuisine daily during the quarantine

What to do while in quarantine?

Students cannot leave their dorm rooms during the quarantine in any other circumstance than to take their PCR tests the day after arrival and before the quarantine ends. Between the meals, Louis spends his time in quarantine by making video calls with friends and watching movies. He has also watched football matches in the middle of the night because of the time difference. Louis advises others to take their computer, sound speakers and other everyday necessities with you to quarantine. There is no need for special arrangements or stressing out. Quarantine time can be seen as a relaxing two-week vacation before the studies in your new home country starts.

view city in quarantine room south korea
The view from his dorm room

Read more:Accommodation in Korea

Louis’ plans for after the quarantine

At the time of the interview, Louis had already been in quarantine for 14 days. In South Korea, the quarantine officially lasts 15 days including the day you arrive in the county. The next day Louis would be free to explore South Korea’s fascinating culture and beautiful nature with his friends. In retrospective, Louis feels like the quarantine has not felt too long. On the contrary, time seems to be flying by. “Quarantine is not very long. In my experience, it goes by fast. If you come to Korea for five or six months, two weeks is not that bad”.

After the quarantine ends, Louis and his friends are planning to go to central Seoul before their semester at Hanyang University begins. They have pre-booked hotel rooms for six days and plan to explore Seoul during their free time. Louis says that they do not have special plans yet. However, Seoul has so much to offer and many places to see; maybe they will explore Bukchon Hanok Village, visit the Seoul tower or go singing in Noraebangs, Korean-style karaoke rooms. Or maybe something else, luckily Louis and his friends have the whole semester to explore South Korea!

Do you want to study abroad in South Korea like Louis? Find out more information here!

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tipsand new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to ourmonthly newsletter!If you have any questions about studyingabroad, feel free tocontact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This interview was conducted by our intern, Iina!