It has been two weeks since I arrived at Mercy College. I am an exchange student from South Korea, and it’s my first time studying in America. Colleges in South Korea and America are so different that I feel everything is new, especially, the dormitory.
At Yonsei University Wonju Campus, dorm life is more regulative than here at Mercy College. Yonsei University is where I came from.
Dorms in Yonsei University are separated into men’s dorms and women’s dorms. The dorms have separate entrances that can only be opened by an ID card. If a girl is found in one of men’s dorms, she is not allowed to live on campus anymore and has to find housing elsewhere. This would be more expensive, less safe, and farther away from university. The same would apply to a boy found in a women’s dorm.
At Yonsei University, there is a curfew. Residents must be in by 12 a.m. if residents didn’t tell their RAs before 10p.m. Otherwise they would get two demerits. 10 demerits would result in the student losing his/her dorm room. Also, residents are required to do 16 hours of volunteer work in the dorms or on campus or in the larger communities.
At Yonsei dorms, the residents have to meet their RAs(residence assistance) every week. RAs check the volunteer work and inform the students about school activities. Residents should have two personal meeting with their RAs during one semester.
At Yonsei dorms, residents can’t cook in their rooms but there is a kitchen on each floor. Also, there are little libraries, laundry rooms and pray rooms in the dorms.
On the contrary, at Mercy College, men and women share the same dorms and they can visit each other’s rooms. I was surprised when I saw a man in my hallway. I thought that I might be lost or he might be lost. Now, however, I am getting used to it. I don’t look down when I see a man without his shirt any more. I am trying not to be seen weird.
At Mercy dorms, there is no curfew. Some doors are locked after certain time, but I can get into the dorm in 1 or 3 a.m. There are RAs too. And residents can talk with their RAs at any time about their issues, but it’s not required. Floor meetings are less frequent. Also, residents in Mercy get information about school activities from their PACT mentors, not from their RAs. There are kitchens on each floor and residents can have their meal in the cafeteria.
The most impressive difference is that residents invite their friends to their room more frequently than in Korea. I has been invited several times, and it was really great time.
Living in totally different environment is really hard but I am doing fine. Also, looking for some differences between South Korea and America is really fun. I will continue to compare between two countries and will learn what is better, this semester will be amazing experience to me.