Monday, September 30, 2013

Kongbubang Learn Korean in Seoul for FREE

Today is Day 2, and I have pre-planned to learn Korean in a proper language learning setting. AKA. A class. Weeks ago I was researching and found this site:

At Kongbubang , there are volunteer teachers who would teach Korean for almost FREE. There is a 1000 Won fee for covering the printed materials plus perhaps the rental, electricity, heating.

The location is rather convenient nearby a subway station. This is another of my top ten best creations of Korea! Their subway system. It is so efficient, effective you'd be amazed and shell-shocked if you came from even Japan. The fee is usually about 1000 Won (plus tax about 1100 Won). You can go almost ANYWHERE with this minimal fee. Then you are allowed to transfer up to 4-5 more buses. There are over 400 subway stations. Perhaps even more. I have to check and re-write this. Just a look at their subway map is like looking at the Chemistry 101 - Periodic Table, colourful informative, and amazement when you are able to put the Hydrogen and Oxygen and smiling happily because they fit perfectly due to the electron count.

Well I will write a detailed subway series.

So back to Kongbubang, I will attend the first lesson this Saturday. 5th Oct.

Kul is cool

Before coming to Korea, I was researching about places to stay. I had read about goshiwon and even jimjilbang. Plus wolse (monthly rental), and jeonse (yearly minimal rental but huge deposit).

One of the pages I came across was by Kulsiri.

What she wrote covered so many of my lingering questions. I was prepared. With her notes, I was reassured and felt so relaxed I forgot to pack my usual spoon and fork set. My goshiwon unknowingly does not provide cutlery. But most others do. So I am fine with improvising and thus have been re-using (re-use, reduce, re-cycle!) a set of wooden chopsticks and a dosirak used box.

Plus re-using a "Caffe Bene" Cafe Mocha cup, I am able to survive Day 2. Day 1 was yesterday and I will talk abit about Night 1 on my next post.

Good morning from Hongik University

Yesterday was my first day inside a goshiwon. What is a goshiwon? It is another superb Korean creativity to the max fusing the needs of students yet accomplishing a "system" that is Korean and not easily replicated elsewhere partly due to the very strong family values, respect for elders and society and law, if you asked me.

A goshiwon is a little room that you can rent to live in for a much lower cost than a regular apartment, house, room. For instance an apartment may cost 800 000 KRW plus key-money (large cash deposit that is usually about 1-2 years rental anyway, which is ANOTHER unique Korean style creation). A goshiwon could be had for 250 000 KRW to 500 000 KRW.

There is usually some cabinets, wardrobe, a TV, fridge, single bed, high-speed internet (10Mbps anyone?!), shower/toilet, and amazingly there is a basic staple served (self-service): there is a huge fridge with 2 large boxes of kimchi vegetable, and daily cooked pots of rice. Some even offer basic coffee, tea, and even ramyun (noodles) and eggs.

The goshiwon caters essentially for students who need an affordable place to live nearby the university, thus saving on precious commute time. Each floor there are perhaps 20 rooms. The rooms may look small but it fits all your needs as a student perfectly and minimise distraction anyway.

Here is a basic montage. There's a desk with TV.
Fridge beneath it.
Large mirror, single bed, wardrobe.
Emergency alarm and torch.
Will put in more photos soon.

Hong'ik University main entrance