Seeking tranquility from our furrier friends, amist the busy city life
Often caught in a rut, university students visit cafés that provide unique activities, from playing with animals to solving puzzles.
Another diversion for students come in the form of small furry friends. One of the most popular and widely available animal cafés in Korea is the cat café, where cat lovers can come to spend time amidst the tranquility of cats, taking a break from the busy city life.
“I personally enjoy going to cat cafés because I miss my pet at home while living in the university dormitory,” said Oh Eun-ju, a student of Korea University. “Also, playing with these cats and seeing how little things like treats and games light up their mood allow me to take a break from my busy life.”
Unlike the pet parks or cafés abroad, animal cafés mostly do not require customers to bring their own pets. Since many cannot care for or afford a pet, students visit to pour their love and affection to the animals already there.
“Around 60 to 70 percent of the visitors are university students,” commented the owner of Always Cat in Hongdae. “Cat cafés have always been popular, but the recent interest in pets in general, and the difficulty of raising on your own has contributed to their mass popularity.”
There are also cafés with different animals, including dogs, rabbits and even raccoons. In contrast to conventional varieties, cafés in Korea have evolved into more activity-oriented places.
Escape from everyday experience
Following the huge success of TV series like BBC’s Sherlock, there was a great surge of escape room cafés which provide intricately designed and planned rooms for participants to escape from. A variety of scenarios such as diffusing bombs and prison breakouts are available along with specific genres like horror. It is not difficult to spot the numerous escape room cafés in Hongdae and Sinchon, both popular places for university students.
“Our customers range from couples to large groups of friends,” said a worker at a Sillim escape room café. “I think it is an alternative activity for people to enjoy since university students don’t have much time and money to spend on their recreation.”
For the students, escape rooms allow them to briefly escape from reality. Usually the situations given in the rooms are vastly different from that of an ordinary person’s everyday life.
“I love how the settings in these escape rooms are very different from my everyday life,” said Lee Song-eun, a sophomore at Yonsei University. “The new environment and puzzles add vitality to my sometimes boring daily routine.”