While studying abroad, the place you choose to stay will significantly impact your academic success and overall lifestyle. There are various types of student housing available. Your experience in the city might differ with each type of accommodation.
Are you worried about feeling homesick? Well with a homestay you can have a home overseas with a family that will provide you with the warmth of a community and the freedom of a hostel. You can enjoy the best of both worlds. Plus, a homestay can often be the best place for language and cultural immersion.
You’ll generally have a private room but you’ll share the bathroom as well as other common spaces with the family. Usually, food is included, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of cooking and grocery shopping. And what better way to enjoy the local dishes than through a home-cooked meal! There may be some rules and regulations that you’ll have to follow (for example, you may not be allowed to even use the kitchen).
Although homestays are quite affordable, families often tend to live away from the universities, so you may spend time and money on local transportation for your commute. Overall, it’s an excellent way to soak in any city’s culture and history. You’ll also have a family by your side, which can also result in more local connections that make a study abroad experience all the more meaningful.
Student dormitories can lead to truly meaningful overseas experiences. Not all universities will offer this type of housing to study abroad students, but it’s worthwhile inquiring with your provider because dorms are the ultimate way to make new local friends!
Dorms vary, but it’s possible you’d have a private room with a private bath, or you may have a roommate, or have a shared bathroom as part of a suite. There will generally be common areas such as study spaces or a kitchen, which serve as great gathering spots for you and your classmates.
However, dorm rooms sometimes come with steep prices, so it’s worthwhile to weigh your options. Additionally, if you’re thinking of having friends or family visit you while studying abroad, it’s possible that your dorm will not allow overnight guests, so this might also factor into your decision-making.
3. Private Apartment
Renting a whole apartment to yourself will allow you to enjoy the liberty, privacy, and independence that you don’t necessarily have in dorms or homestays. You also get to choose the location so that it’s most convenient for your lifestyle. However, private accommodation can come with a pretty hefty price tag. Apart from the rent, you’ll also have to manage the bills, utilities, wifi, and stock your own fridge!
Some landlords might ask you to pay a security deposit before renting, which will be returned to you once you move out, pending any deductions taken because of damage. So if you’re renting, make sure you take care of the place!
It’s also worthwhile to note that while a private apartment might give you the most freedom and independence, it also can cut you off from meaningful cultural experiences and relationships with locals. If you’re living with a host family, you’ll have an instant local community to support you and guide you in your transition living abroad, but if you’re living on your own, you’ll have to put in the extra effort to befriend people in your new city.
4. Private student rental halls
Private rental halls are almost identical to university dorms but they’re generally off campus and sometimes come with more amenities. Options will include shared rooms, private rooms in a suite, and even private studios (they may be tiny though!). The price will also generally include all utilities, so what you see is what you pay in this case.
Many of these buildings are much more modern than university dorms and are equipped with high-speed internet, athletic facilities, cinema rooms, game rooms, and much more. The building may also organize events throughout the year to facilitate community connections!
5. Shared apartment
Shared apartments tend to be the most affordable type of accommodation for students. It also happens that they can be a lot of fun! You’ll live with a roommate who perhaps is another study abroad student, a local student, or even a young professional from the area. Shared apartments are ideal for making friends and creating close connections.
The set up will depend on the apartment, but typically you’ll have a private room and shared common areas. Unlike with dorms and homestays, you won’t have any curfews or rules you have to follow (other than being a good roommate, of course!).
The risk with a shared apartment is communal living. Sometimes roommates hit it off and become best friends, but other times there are personality clashes and communication difficulties. So it’s helpful to have an idea of the type of person you’d like to live with (eg. social, quiet, non-smoker, etc).
For many students, study abroad may seem out of reach because of finances. Not only do you have to pay for a costly semester of tuition, but you have to factor in international travel and living expenses. While there are many scholarships to make all of this more feasible, it’s still important to think about how you can cut down on costs when it comes to housing and living expenses.
The first consideration you can take to reduce living costs is to share a room with someone. While this may not seem like your dream of independence, the reality is that you probably won’t be spending too much time at home anyway (you’ll be out exploring!), and sharing a room could drastically reduce your rent. All of those hundreds of dollars, pounds, euros, etc that you save could go towards a fun weekend trip!
Additionally, it’s important to think about the area where you want to rent. If you rent in a very trendy, desirable part of the city, not only will your rent be higher but you’ll also pay more for groceries, restaurants, bars, etc. On the other hand, if you live a bit further out, you may spend more time on a bus, but you’ll save big when it comes to living expenses.
2) Tenant rights
Renting an apartment is overwhelming to begin with–there are so many factors to take into consideration! But renting overseas is even more unnerving. Knowledge will be your best defense when it comes to making sure you’re getting a good deal and not getting taken advantage of.
This is why it’s crucial that you thoroughly read through your rental contract. If you don’t have a solid handle on the language where you’re studying, ask one of the study abroad advisors on site to read it over with you. It’s important that you understand what’s being asked of you and what your rights are as a tenant.
3) Rental Frauds
Unfortunately, rental fraud is becoming increasingly common in many rental markets. In the UK alone, there were a total of 18,645 reported rental frauds from 2014-2018. During this same period, the amount of money that was lost due to these scams was to the tune of 22.1 million pounds. Of those nearly 19,000 reports, more than 930 incidents of rental fraud were linked to university students, highlighting how students are an at-risk population when it comes to tenancy.
Here are some tips to make sure you don’t become the victim of rental fraud:
Our favorite student accommodation websites
12. University Rooms
14. Facebook/” Craigslist” Page