Exchange students living off-campus raise complaints about house conditions
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Exchange students living off-campus raise complaints about house conditions
  • Moon Bo-ra
  • 승인 2012.09.18 09:25
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Excess acceptance causes housing problems
This fall semester, Ewha accepted 55 more exchange students, resulting in total of 376 exchange students studying this year at Ewha. However, the school has failed to provide all of them with dormitory accommodation. The students who were not assigned to the dormitories moved in to private accommodations, such as one-room apartments near campus. However, the conditions of the accommodations brought complaints from many of the exchange students.
International House I and II hold up to a total of 250 students. However, the university accepted more than 250 exchange students.
Due to the shortage of dormitory rooms to assign to the students, Ewha has assigned exchange students to Hanwoori Hall Annex and accommodations near campus since the start of this year. This semester, Ewha placed 18 students in Hanwoori Hall Annex and 14 in private accommodations. Hanwoori Hall Annex, which originally was the office of priests in 1999, was remodeled to accommodate the exchange students during summer.
While exchange students who live in Hanwoori Hall Annex did not bring up many complaints, students living off-campus had inconveniences and discomforts.
“The room is way too small, all that I can do there is sleeping,” an exchange student who wishes to remain anonymous said. “Even, there is no window, and I almost feel claustrophobic.”
Many of those who stayed in similar housing last semester also experienced such inconveniences.
“About two-thirds of exchange students I know complained about their accommodations. For some of the male students, the ceiling is too low to even stand up straight and the beds are so small that their legs stick out of the end of the bed,” said a student and a member of an exchange student assistance group.
Aside from the condition of accommodations, being unable to socialize with those in International Houses is also a problem. “I do not have the chance to make friends from other countries like others living with roommates in dormitories do,” Sophia Torstensson (Linnaeus University, 4) said. “It frustrates me since experiencing many different cultures is what I expected to do as an exchange student here.”
Ewha does not guarantee to provide a place to live for all exchange students, according to the Office of Global Affairs (OGA). However, the OGA says it tries to help them find a place to live in.
“We try to do our best to take good care of the exchange students since they may face hardships in a foreign country, and we hope Ewha students on exchange programs receive the same treatment in return,” said  Esther Han, an official of the OGA.
Despite the criticism toward Ewha for not being able to house all students in International Houses, some appreciated Ewha’s effort.
“I was a little upset about not being assigned to the international dormitory at first,” Theresa Huemmer (Koblenz-Landau University, 4) said. “But then I understand how hard it is for Ewha to find a place to live for every one of us and thank them very much for it.”

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