During the COVID-19 era, many people refrain from doing outdoor activities and are spending more time indoors. The same can be said of foreign students studying at Ewha who reside in the school dormitory. International House (I-House), one of the school dormitories located near the International Education Building, mainly accommodates exchange students and international guests visiting Ewha. In addition, E-House accommodates undergraduate freshmen and graduate students from outside Seoul and abroad.
I-House consists of five buildings: Buildings A, B, C, D, and Ewha-Samsung International House. The dormitory is equipped with fitness rooms, computer rooms, laundry rooms, and kitchenettes on each floor, all of which are open to residents.
E-House is a unit-type dormitory with four to 10 students sharing a living room. This dormitory is equipped with similar amenities to those provided at I-House.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and community transmission, all students who registered to live in I-House, E-House, or Hanwoori House for the 2021 spring semester were assigned to single- occupancy rooms.
Veronica Andreotti, an undergraduate exchange student from the Università del Sacro Cuore di Milano in Milan, Italy, is currently residing in I-House.
When asked why she decided to live in the dormitory this spring semester, Andreotti replied that it was to experience university life at Ewha to the fullest.
“I think living in the dormitories as well as being devoted to my studies is really important for my overall experience as an exchange student,” Andreotti said.
During the weekdays, Andreotti spends most of her time inside her dormitory room taking online classes. Afterwards, she spends her free time in the evenings indoors. In her dorm, she video-chats with her friends from Milan or watches videos on her laptop.
On the weekends, she often goes out to experience more of Seoul before returning to Italy. When going outside, she tries to avoid crowded places, staying in open spaces as much as possible.
In I-House, Andreotti mainly uses the kitchenette on her floor. In the kitchenette, students boil water, wash dishes, and use the microwave.
Occasionally, Andreotti uses the common kitchen on floor B1 to cook for herself. While mentioning that she is not a good cook, she explained that she has steamed and cooked vegetables and pasta on the few occasions she has attempted to cook.
“However, I don’t go to the kitchen often because not only is it far from my room but I also find the facilities of the place to be not very clean,” she added. “Generally, I prefer to either eat out or have pre-cooked meals.”
Kyoka Kondo is an undergraduate exchange student from International Christian University in Japan. She is also residing in I-House but has not used the common kitchen yet. However, in the near future, she is interested in making something by herself there.
“I would like to cook some Japanese food, my home food, such as miso soup or ramen,” Kondo said. “If it were not for COVID-19, I would like to treat my friends to temaki zushi, which is hand-rolled sushi. I also want to cook or learn Korean food like kimbap and kimchi-jjigae.”
Other than eating out or visiting the supermarket for one to two hours in the evening, Kondo usually stays in the dormitory all day. She explained that after she finishes her assignments, she video-calls her family in Japan or watches Netflix as she is currently re-watching “Friends.” Although there are no Japanese subtitles in Korea, she believes that watching without Japanese subtitles will help improve her English.
“I also enjoy watching Korean television programs this way,” she said. “I really like Korean dramas, especially ‘Moon Lovers,’ so I am willing to watch it again on Netflix with English subtitles.”
Despite wanting to use the fitness room in I-House, Kondo cannot use it as the room is shut down due to the COVID-19 prevention measures.
Tara Wickart, a freshman in the Division of International Studies, is from Germany. She resided in E-House until the beginning of May. She was able to acquire sufficient tips and tricks to enjoy her dormitory life in spite of the limitations due to the pandemic.
As much as she enjoyed time outdoors, she found pleasure during her time in the dorm as well.
“If I happened to stay inside, I would spend time admiring the beautiful view from the balcony or studying in the living room,” Wickart said.
Living in the dorm for several months, she was able to experience the facilities and systems of E-House firsthand.
“I found the washing room really nice because the steps were well-explained, and I could get my laundry done fast and easily,” she said. “The special machines for shoes were especially useful.”
Wickart shared a few tips for students living in E-House.
“Set a schedule for when to clean with your unit mates,” she emphasized. “Also, visit the convenience store as early as possible on Saturdays because the cafeteria is closed. Be quick, because many people will go there for snacks and food.”