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[Student Essay] Top Study Locations in SNU with Beautiful Views

  • November 8, 2016
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Most of the time I am very proud to be an INFP. MBTI experts describe us INFPs as being idealistic, free-spirited, genuine, sensitive, spontaneous, and sympathetic – so basically, the best type of all. The only times that I wish I were not INFP is when I have to find the perfect spot to write an essay, read, study for an exam, or just concentrate on a task – which, as a student, is basically every day of my life. My INFP ancestors - William Blake, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Poe, and van Gogh – and I share a deep, passionate connection with nature. When I get stuck on my essay, I take one glance at the graceful clouds decorating the sky and the thousands of trees blanketing Gwanak Mountain, and my mind is refreshed, my soul rejuvenated and inspired, and I am ready to start my next sentence. But finding a study spot that provides this beautiful view is a daily struggle. For those of you who are reading this and feel understood, who spend more time looking for the perfect place to study than actually studying, I bestow you with this article, which is an accumulation of the best study locations in SNU that I discovered over the past few months, with the one thing we cannot study without – a beautiful view of nature.

1. Tables outside Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) building (Opposite Building 8)

View from the CTL outdoor tables
View from the CTL outdoor tables

When the sun is out, yet there is a gentle breeze just enough to prevent perspiration, take your books to the wooden tables just outside the CTL building. I frequent this place when I don’t need to buckle down on an assignment due the next day, when I’m feeling a little freer and more creative, when I just want to read without feeling like a complete nerd in the library, and when I want to feel the vibrant campus. You get a perfect view of the sky, and a peek of the trees accompanying Kwanjeong Library and in the courtyard enclosed by Buildings 5 to 8. As it is near the hub where students hustle to their next classes, you may worry about the noise being distracting. However, this only occurs between class periods as the students shuffle into their next classrooms, which is a perfect chance for a study break.

2. Second floor (outdoors) of Lab Café (Building 12)

View from second floor of Lab Cafe
View from second floor of Lab Cafe

Another great place to study with the breeze while overlooking a wonderful landscape is the second floor of Lab Café in Building 12. You can enjoy the delicacies unique to this cafe such as their famous banana pudding, as well as light meals such as ‘Cup Bab’ (컵밥) to pacify the tummy grumbles as you work on your homework. What this also means is that you get an impressive view of the campus landscape, with the Gwanak Mountains behind Bodeulgol (버들골), the vast trees and grassland of Bodeulgol itself, and of course, the panorama of the sky from afar.

3. College of Humanities, Shinyang (신양) Building 14, Second Floor

View from the group study area in Shinyang Building
View from the group study area in Shinyang Building

The group study area on the second floor of Shinyang Building 14 is the go-to place when you need to get stuff done, but still want to be able to chitchat with your study-buddy when you have both lost concentration. Make sure to grab a seat near the full-length windows that overlook the romantic courtyard that harbours one of the grandest trees in SNU. You might also be able to catch a glimpse the College of Humanities’ gem – the Jahayeon Pond.

4. Café Pascucci, second floor (Opposite Building 12)

View from Café Pascucci
View from Café Pascucci

Despite their pricey (even with the student discount!) snacks and beverages, one thing I love about Pascucci is that it is built alongside what remains of a mountain. If you step out onto the terrace of the second floor, you will immediately be immersed in the middle of the forest. With tall trees surrounding you, this is the perfect place for some peace and quiet away from the busy campus. KRW 5,500 (the average price of drinks at Pascucci) is definitely worth the experience of being intimate with nature. However, if you are not in the mood for chirping birds, there are always seats inside that provide the same view – just without the 4D effects.

5. Café Gran (in front of Graduate Dormitory Building 906)

View from Café Gran porch
View from Café Gran porch

On the subject of cafes, Café Gran is a café frequented by dormitory residents due to its convenient location and relatively cheap drink prices. The full-length windows offer a great view from the inside, but my favourite spot is on the porch outside. Besides the picturesque sky, seasonal flowers, and dense trees, Café Gran boasts an exceptional view of the city of Seoul from atop the campus hill.

6. SNU Dormitory

View from my dorm room
View from my dorm room

Now, now, no hard feelings… but one of the best views of this beautiful campus, can only be experienced by those fortunate enough to live in the dormitory. Truth be told, I would never have known all these study places with wonderful views around the campus if my bed just wasn’t so close to the desk. The SNU dormitory is encircled by the magnificent Gwanak Mountain, which means we are blessed spectators of nature’s canvas all year round - the emerald summits in the summer, dabbed with orange and burgundy acrylic in the autumn, cushioned with a pristine white blanket in the winter, and diffused with pink watercolour in the spring. Nature does not get any better than this. If you can resist the temptations of your bed, look no further - you are in study paradise.

7. Kwanjeong Library

View from Kwanjeong Library
View from Kwanjeong Library

How could I write about places to study without mentioning our avant-garde library? I am usually the last person to be seen anywhere near any sort of library, but the breathtaking sights of the campus from inside Kwanjeong Library swept me right off my feet and straight up to the Rooftop Garden (fifth floor). This spectacular open space suspended in midair offers a birds-eye view of the campus on a whole new level (yes, pun intended). The view of Gwanak Mountain and the campus gets more and more majestic as you ascend one floor at a time. Why hike a mountain when you can get the same sensual experience using an elevator? Studying with a view like this will automatically refresh and renew your mind. If you are not a study person but still a nature-lover, Kwanjeong still has a place for you. Watch your favourite movies and TV shows, or listen to your favourite music with this exceptional view in the background in the Multimedia Plaza (sixth floor). Who said libraries were only for bookworms?

What sets SNU apart from other universities in the sprawling city of Seoul is its home on Gwanak Mountain. With some of the most exceptional views of nature, SNU Gwanak campus is a birthplace of great academic inspiration. As the great INFP William Blake once said, “Great things are done when men and mountain meet.”

Written by Hye Bin Lee, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,

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