Over the past five years, the number of people living alone in Korea has increased by 50 percent, according to Statistics Korea. Relative to such social trend, the media has been covering the lifestyles of those who live alone, and has shed a positive light onto such phenomenon.
With popular reality television shows emphasizing how much fun living, drinking, and even going to the karaoke alone can be, more and more young people are fantasizing of living alone. Based on the increasing number of self-boarding students, the Head Chief of Seodaemun-gu, Moon Sung-jin, organized a social dining event at Shinchon Sarangbang to gather those students together for a community meal.
The dining event continued on Friday dinners from the third week of November (Nov. 17) until the first week of December (Dec. 1) with approximately 10 new participants each time. As the catch phrase “Eating Together Than Alone” is spreading around the Seodaemun-gu area, university students living there are eager to find people in a similar situation and share meals. During the hour-long dining event, students cooked and ate together, actively interacting with each other.
To prepare for the event, Seodaemun-gu surveyed what the participants wanted to eat in evenings and prepared the adequate ingredients each Friday. The event was free of charge and there was no age limit, although the majority were university students.
To spice up the evening, Seodaemun-gu also prepared time for the self-boarding students to introduce themselves and hold a Living Alone Golden Bell Quiz. During the quiz, the participants were quizzed on their lifestyles, and other popular speed quiz topics.
On Dec. 1, Seodaemun-gu expanded the dinner outing by inviting participants from the first and second events, with an additional 10 new participants. Approximately 25 students gathered for the biggest dining event so far.
Participants applied for the event via the Facebook Page “Living as a Self-boarding Student” run by Knowing Communications, a private company uploading contents about self-boarding students on Facebook and growing to hold other offline events.
“I learned of this dining event through Facebook and this is my second time participating,” said Park So-yeon who took part in the event. “Having dinner together with other students on Friday was great in getting away from tons of work that I have to do. Also, various games gave us an ice-breaking moment and chances to win goods that I need back at my home.”
Heo Ji-woong, one of the co-representatives of Knowing Communications revealed that the company hopes to be a help for students living alone.
“We aim to make not just an online page but an online community for people who board themselves,” Heo said. “We hope this event can contribute to solving social problems due to the loneliness of the self-boarding population. The work of our company can be a means to promote communication among single households.”
Knowing Communications continues to search for ways to influence the society in a positive way as a social venture.