One thing that continually poses as a challenge to most international students is getting the right student accommodation. Finding a new home may be daunting, discouraging and tiresome as an international student. No need to worry, we’ve provided valuable information to guide you as you make this big decision.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a university accommodation.
1. Choose which student housing option best suits you
There are plenty of accommodation options available for students. Universities often offer stay-in – on campus residences. It’s a great option for first year students to get familiar with the university environment and make new friends.
Private/shared student housing is also available. You will live communally with other students, having the privacy of your own bedroom but sharing the kitchen, living room and other amenities. If going for this option, it’s best to choose an apartment that’s in close proximity to the university.
Also, determine what’s important to you regarding your accommodation. Are you looking for a peaceful place to study and live, then you’ll have to avoid residences where school parties take place. If you love going to the gym, then you’ll have to select an apartment that has working gym facilities. Making a list of the things that matters to you will help you decide what accommodation suits you best.
2. Decide on your budget
Accommodation is a major expense you will face. You may probably spend more choosing a private ensuite room. However, cheap university halls won’t provide you the privacy you need.
You’ll also need to put into consideration the cost of living and maintenance.e.g Internet bills, water bills etc. Some apartments cover these bills and some don’t. Watch out for additional fees, for example for the use of parking spaces, laundry facilities or concierge services, at some apartment blocks. In most university halls, your monthly rent covers all this.
Decide on the amount you are willing to spend on a room and have that in mind during your search.
3. Do a proper research on the location
Where you live can greatly influence the quality of your university stay. It’s advisable to take time to conduct a good research on the area you have in mind.
Find out what the social atmosphere is like. Consider the proximity to a bus or train station. Get to know the area using Google Maps and Street View. Find out what restaurants, amenities, student hotspots and hangout are in the area and decide whether it suits your needs.
You can ask your university’s international student office for advice. As well as gathering opinions from other students. Then you can do the internet. They may be blogs or vlogs on the lifestyle iof the area and that should give you insight of the place you wish to live in.
4. Inspect before making any payments
The pictures of the apartments you see online may be deceiving. Do not book rooms on unknown websites while still in your home country. Research and prove the genuinity of accommodation providers. Even after that, don’t book and make payment till you physically go and check the property out.
While inspecting look for any signs of mold, broken pipes or anything that could be hazardous to your health. Check if the heating works, if there are signs of leaking, test the sockets, lights switch and plug-in appliances. Document everything with photographs and videos.
If there are any signs of damage and you still choose to go ahead with it, take photographs, write a report and share with your landlord and agent, so you won’t end up paying for damage you didn’t cause.
Know that you also need to make a good impression on the landlord. Landlords would love to give their apartments to someone that seems responsible and trustworthy. So dress neatly and be polite as you engage with your landlord and house agents.
You don’t need to go for the first one, make other property inspections and compare apartments before making payments.
5. Get familiar with the details of your rental agreement.
Whether you live in a university provided accommodation or a rented private property, you’ll need to understand your tenancy agreement. Always read the pages of your rental agreement before agreeing to it. Don’t agree to an agreement you know you can’t live with.
If you have a treasured pet you wish to live with. Don’t agree to a tenancy agreement that don’t allow pets. Some student rental agreements don’t allow stays during the holiday and some do. Agree to the one that best suits you and know your rights as a student tenant.
In summary, it’s important to pick a place that will make you feel at home despite being far from home.
Go for a place that will contribute to your academic success and make your university experience more enjoyable.