As we all know, South Korea is a crowded country, with more than 50 million people. Approximately 90% of that land is mountainous, meaning that people had to use the space available in the most creative way to fit everyone.

A Goshiwon, also known as an “off-campus dormitory” is no more than a small room with everything you can find on a normal house, needed to live. In these small rooms you can find a bed, fridge, TV, and not always but sometimes they also have a bathroom.

Rent prices in South Korea can be expensive so a Goshiwon is a solution to this, they can be small but so are their rent prices. We can find several types of Goshiwon: Goshitel, Livingtel, Hasukjip, Residence, One-room-tel, to name a few, they are the same thing and are all registered as a Goshiwon business type in South Korea.

The housing system in Korea has an option called “Jeonse” also known as “Chonsei” or “Key Money Deposit” which is a type of lease or deposit common in the South Korean real estate market. Instead of paying monthly rent, a large lump sum is deposited for the duration of the contract. It is usually anywhere between 50% to 80% of the market value. Jeonse has been advantageous for both, the tenant, and the landlord.

According to government data, the number of Goshiwon has increased steeply in the last years, with almost 80% located in Seoul, and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province. 5,940 for Seoul and 2,984 for Gyeonggi Province.

Pros: affordable, furnished (in most of the cases), location (enough location near points of interest for students, tourists, and professionals), safe, free food (kimchi and rice).

Cons: Tiny, Ventilation (not every room has access to a window), lack of storage space, shared bathroom, shared spaces (kitchen, living and dining rooms), no soundproof.

Knowing all the pros and cons, would you be adventurous enough to stay on a Goshiwon?