With remote learning now the norm in the age of social distancing, college towns in South Korea are on the brink of going under.

“Shops and stores in college towns across the nation have gone out of business the buildings they once occupied now face a long wait for new tenants. Some businesses are just trying to survive.”

“We used to make about 900 dollars a day. Now? We just make 180 This place once had hungry students waiting in line for tables. Now I’m the one waiting for students to come.”

Seo says she’s struggling to pay her rent and utility bills.
But the hardships extend far beyond restaurants and cafes.
Local landlords who had rented out empty rooms to students year after year have also been left without an income.

“Before the pandemic, there were NEVER any vacant rooms here in Shinchon. I remember six, seven groups of students just waiting in line in front of the office looking for rooms Now, they’re not willing to rent, especially sophomores who practically spent eight months of their one year contracts at home last year as freshmen.”

The situation is even worse in college towns outside the Greater Seoul area, where both the virus and an overall decline in school-age population mean universities are struggling to recruit enough students.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.


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