Korea has a variety of accommodations to offer Working Holiday Makers.
When you first arrive, you may wish to stay in a youth hostel or guesthouse as this is a good way to obtain initial guidance and orientation at a reasonable price.
- Youth Hostels
Youth hostels are found in many different locations in Korea providing affordable, quality accommodation for visitors. There are a total of 70 youth hostels located in every major city throughout Korea.
Rates range between KRW 15,000 and KRW 40,000.
- Guest House
Guest houses are Korean homes which have been converted for the exclusive use of guest accommodation. They provide an authentic Korean experience while providing opportunities to interact with Korean locals and other travelers.
Apartments in Korea are the most popular housing options among Koreans and its popularity is explained by the fact that tenants are becoming ever more demanding with comfort. Nearly all apartment complexes have facilities nearby such as supermarkets, district offices, and also easy access to public transportation. The majority of apartment style residences are unfurnished.
- One Room
The One Room is a widespread and extremely popular housing option among students and single adults. The One Room is a large single room equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette and living space.
- Goshiwon (Goshitel or Livingtel)
Goshiwon was initially for people who were preparing for national exams to become public servants. However, now that regular one room or studio apartments are demanding high rent, Goshiwon is becoming a popular accommodation choice. Goshiwon is a very cost effective housing option in Korea if you do not mind a smaller living space. It is fully furnished and prices can go higher if there is a private bathroom and window within the room itself.
- Officetel/Studio Apartment
The "Officetel" is a combination of Office and Hotel such that people can live and work in the same building. Many of them come fully furnished. The Officetel is also more expensive and offers larger living spaces/facilities than the One Room. Tenants are also responsible for monthly maintenance fees and additional utility fees.
Serviced residences are furnished apartment buildings with hotel-like services. They have all of the necessities of a modern apartment including an indoor swimming pool, exercise room and amenities within each unit. These units are usually two to three times bigger than your average hotel room and usually include a kitchen. Some residences can also offer tenant cleaning and laundry services.
Living as part of a Korean-speaking household, you will have your own bedroom and have meals with your hosts. It is a great way to meet Koreans and share their way of life. You will also be able to improve your fluency in Korean.
How to find your accommodation
The housing market in Korean cities is very competitive and there is an obvious shortage of reasonably-priced residences.
Whether you rent a one-room or an officetel, a rental contract must be signed. Signing a contract without a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities can result in costly consequences. It is advisable to have the contract checked by your Korean friends.
Please be aware that it can be difficult to find accommodation during the months of February and August due to the start of the school semester.(*Information on accommodation, residences, and convenience facilities for foreign nationals in Seoul: http://english.seoul.go.kr/service/living/housing/2-types-of-residence/ )
There are many ways to go about researching for a residence.
A convenient and cost-efficient way to search for housing is through the internet. The internet can provide quality resources such as real estate websites and listings of real estate agents from an online page. For more details: http://english.seoul.go.kr/service/living/housing/5-real-estate-agencies-for-foreigners/)
Although housing advertisements through the internet and newspapers could be an option for locating a perfect house, working with a real estate agent in person is prevalent among potential tenants in Korea. They are easily found in every neighborhood. Many offices of agents have signboards in front of their office or on their windows that show properties currently available. Once you have found a suitable agent, you can specifically notify him/her about your specific requirements and your available budget. He/she will guide you by showing you a range of houses and you can choose one that matches your needs. The agent should check the ownership of the apartment and authenticate the identity of the owner.