Let’s take a quick tour of the Chung Ang University (CAU) campus in Seoul. There’s also one in Anseong, but I’m not familiar with that one.
Here’s the view out of my dorm room:
Here’s a map of the campus. It is quite nice and you don’t really have to travel long distances to get anywhere. However, the campus is built on a hill with the dorms being at the very top of the hill, and the way up is pretty steep. I’m sure getting up the hill will be a ton of fun in the summer. The buildings are all numbered, so finding a classroom or other location is usually pretty easy and much more straightforward than at my home university.
And yes, there is a building 209, but so far I’ve been too scared to enter it.
Other than losing your breath when going uphill and avoiding getting run over by motor scooters (seriously, they are everywhere and do not give a solitary shit about pedestrians or traffic rules), it’s really lovely.
Area next to the university. There’s construction going on everywhere, and it’s apparently almost impossible to recognize some areas if you return after a few years.
I haven’t explored many of these buildings yet since I don’t have classes there and did not receive my student id yet, so I think I can’t even enter buildings like the library. So far, I can only give you an outside expression: The buildings are really pretty.
Apart from the ever-present vending machines, there are also little supermarket-y shops all over the campus, a cell phone shop where you can get a Korean sim card without the otherwise required Alien Registration Card, gift shops, and so much more. There’s also an official CAU burger store where you can buy a burger, some fries, and a soda for about 2 dollars, all with the university logo on them.
A real highlight is the very scenic Blue Dragon Pond right in the middle of the campus, which makes for a great meeting or relaxation spot:
The International Office is right in front of said pond. As an exchange student, you’ll probably spend a bunch of time there, sorting out whatever problems arise.
Large parts of building 205 are reserved for student clubs. They cover a variety of activities like sports, debate, music, photography, as well as religion like the frighteningly named CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST (bonus points for the CCC acronym). Interestingly, the Crusaders seem pretty low-key and keep to themselves, while some other Christian club tried very hard to recruit foreign students. There was also a club ominously called ‘MRA’, which I can only hope is not an actual “men’s rights” shitfest. Being the social outcast that I am, I of course did not join any clubs.
The front entrance of the campus also looks quite lovely and is directly connected to a busy region of Seoul with lots of shops and restaurants.
CAU has its own hospital, which is located in front of the campus. I’m unfortunately pretty certain that I’ll be able to report on the hospital in more detail at a later date.
The area adjacent to the campus is quite busy and filled with a ton of little shops and restaurants that of course are frequented quite heavily by students and thus offer very cheap prices.
You can get a full meal for around 6 bucks, even less than that in many cases. However, even in this region, most waiters and shop owners speak little to no English. There is a ton of delicious food available, but it can be quite difficult to order since there often is no English menu or even pictures. This can make ordering food quite daunting at first, so it helps to have somebody around that knows what they are doing. If all else fails, just check out a random place and see what you can get your hands on, it’ll probably be really good. Korean food can be really spicy though, so watch out for that.
In this case, I just went into a random restaurant that had some pictures outside, but nothing to help identify meals inside. The owner spoke just enough English to tell me that Meal A is spicy and Meal B is not, so I went with B. This is what I got for 4500 won. I still don’t know what it was exactly or what it was called, but it was quite good.
Finally, the campus is about a 10 minute walk away from the Hangang river, which is (I assume) perfect for running or biking alongside or just taking a nice walk. The view is definitely nice.