You haven’t been here a while. The universities, as part of their push to attract foreign students, have been setting up dorms exclusively for the foreigners after all the complaining about the conditions and the ehem, cultural clashes at the normal college dorms.
The advantage is that they are in campus, rents are reasonable, amenities aplenty, like in house 711, cleaner, wider, safer than off campus, and you have quick access to your college life -ehem, copy homework and long study sessions into the dawn with your classmates. Good times, good times.
8500 shoud be OK with these issues considered -it is the university provided dorm, right?- and considering AC/utilities/transportation costs, it sounds good to me.
As to access “into the city” he is merely a 10 to 20 minute walk away from discos, movie theaters, expensive shopping centers…while a few steps away from cheap food, 10 minute walk to the night market.
The fact that it is an older area is the problem. Getting a nicer place could bit a bit of a hit and miss.