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Friday,November 15,2019
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A new trend for students – living with a housemate

   
 
   
 
In U.S.A, having a “Room-mate” when you are a student is considered normal.  Recently in Korea, a new lifestyle of university students and university graduates who are just starting out in their careers is becoming more popular.  This trend is having housemates, which is an extension of the idea of having a roommate.  It is becoming popular among students who want to save their monthly rents .  While being roommates means that people share one room with others, being a housemate denotes that people live in a same house, not with relatives or family, but with others, and have their own room for their living space.  Because of this new trend, on real estate websites postings looking for housemates have increased by 10 percent every day.  And the number of postings has been creeping up to 4,000 postings.  So being housemates provides a new life style for young people who have gone house hunting. 


Why has this idea of finding their housemates become more popular and accepted recently?  There are a few reasons.  First, we cannot ignore economic problems. At present, monthly rent is almost 500,000 won near university.  This cost of 500,000 won per month for a studio apartment is a tremendousburden to students.  It is hard for students to manage the skyrocketing key money so students have started to find housemates for dividing the key money and monthly rents. 
Secondly, the fact that there are no regulations in the National Housing Act for single-person households has led to people choosing to live with housemates.  According to the National Statistical Office, the number of single-person households has skyrocketed from 200,000 in 1990 to 1,590,000 households in 2010. But there is no law for single-person households , which leads people who feel economic burden to find  housemates.  Park Duk-bae in Korea Economic Research institute said , “Because of the economic burden, young people face huge difficulties in finding housing. So they are finding housemates, an idea which has come from the subletting system.”


Then, how much money can people save by living with housemates?  Let’s say that the house’s monthly rental is 500,000 won and the key money is 10,000,000 won.  If just one student pays this money alone, he has great difficulty keeping up with his finances.  But if he lives with housemates, all costs about house are divided into two or three shares.  Each person just has to pay 250,000 won and 5,000,000 won, or less.  Kim Min-seok, who  has been living with two housemates for four years, said,  “When I lived alone in this house, I had to pay all utility bills.  Before Irealized it, these utility bills and monthly rent give me pressure every month.  So I decided to find housemates. And I posted on Internet website.”


The Post visited Kim Min-seok’s house to see how housemates lives .  There were three rooms which are individual spaces, and a shared kitchen and a bathroom .  It looks just like just  family house.  But the composition of this family is different from a real family.  These three people did not know each other three months ago.  Kim Min-seok said, “We started this living style three months ago, and all three of us chose to live this way because of economic reasons.Of course there are uncomfortable things, but we are satisfied with this life.  Moreover, we can save money.”But there are disadvantages of having housemates.  People who live with housemates made house rules.  But if someone did not observe these rules, the others felt uncomfortable and it led to disagreements.  For example, housemates have to keep the rule about not bringing a girlfriend home.  Park said, “I had sharp disagreements with my housemates.  But I think that it is just a kind of process which I got myself accustomed to for our life.”


Now, there is even a new concept of the family house.  It is called “happy house because of communication.”   In this house, there are 9 families.  They designed this house together and made space for everyone.  It is also considered as a new type of living with housemates.  Kim Hwang-seok, a co-representative, said, “We have separated the shared space in the house and the individual rooms but we have space for everyone.  By using this space, we can easily communicate with other family members  and decide important issues about the house  together.  I am content in this house.  In present-day life, we cannot find affection.  But we always feel “affection” in this house.”


Maybe, “affection” is not an important thing to Koreans.  Because of considerations about living economically, Koreans can live with strangers.  But this phenomenon shows us a new significant sociologicalchange in attitudes. Hwang Sang-min, professor of psychosociology in Yonsei University said, “Changing conditions, and doing something helpful, useful, and practical because of these new conditions, is considered to be more important by Koreans.  And recently these changes in thinking have become important for people in making relationships with others.”

Kim Jong-ha  keep14@dongguk.edu

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