The student dormitories at KKU don’t look very nice. The buildings look really old and dirty, and they don’t have air conditioning. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in them. KKU students, on the other hand, jump through all kinds of hoops to secure a spot in one of the dorm rooms. The reason is that rent in the dormitories is remarkably cheap. Students can stay in the dorm for an entire semester for only 1,300 baht (about $30). The dorms are also generally convenient, since they’re right on campus.
I’m not entirely clear on how students are placed in dorms, but it sounds like students have to line up to request a dorm room in May before the summer semester begins. They don’t get to choose their dorms or their roommates. The KKU campus is huge, which means that students could very well end up in a dorm far away from all of their classes. Students who don’t get in line early enough end up having to stay in an apartment off campus, which is much more expensive.
This week, students can participate in a series of contests in order to keep their spots in their dorms. Earlier this week, students were furiously cleaning their dorm rooms so that they could win the “cleanest room” prize. Several students told me that they were up every night until 3 or 4 making their rooms look perfect. Today is the dormitory sport day. The lucky students who win on sport day get to keep their rooms next year. They call it sport day, but they don’t really play sports. They play tug-of-war and do relay races with balloons between their knees…stuff like that.
I went to the sport day to watch for a little while today. It looked like everyone was having a great time. Students from each dormitory were wearing matching shirts and were sitting in their own areas on the field. Each dorm had someone playing drums and the students not currently playing a game were dancing and cheering. Most of the dorms had choreographed dances! In the middle of the field, representatives from each dorm were playing the games. It looked like a lot of fun.
I still don’t understand how one student from each dorm comes out as the winner in sports day. All of the games seem like team games.
I didn’t stay at sport day for very long. It was very hot out there (93 degrees today!), so I left after about 1/2 an hour. In a few minutes, I’ll meet Betsy and some 1st year students at the complex. Mas, one of the first year students, is going to teach all of us how to cook dom yam gung. We’ll start out by shopping for ingredients at the food market. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. The market Dave & I visited in Phuket was really disgusting.