Accommodation is of utmost importance when one considers studying abroad and your choice of accommodation will be based on several factors. Students are usually expected to find their own housing, however, many institutes offer assistance when it comes to finding accommodation. There are a plethora of options to choose from and depending on your preference and budget you can choose from the below list of accommodation in deciding the kind of accommodation that you would like to avail.
Types of Accommodation:
- University Halls: University Halls are huge buildings that are often located on a university campus or near to it. In university halls, each student has a private room but share the bathroom and the kitchen. While some university halls of residence provide the facility of cooking to students, main meals are usually eaten in large dining halls that lead to bonding among students coming from various countries and creates a great social atmosphere. Many universities form a contract with Unite and Nido in order to provide luxurious accommodation complete with en suite facilities.
- Private Accommodation: If you are looking for privacy or independence, you could opt for private accommodation such as a studio or a one-bedroom flat, or you could also share a flat. A flatshare is essentially a house that has two or more rooms and everyone has their own private room, with a shared bathroom and living facilities. Some students live together with friends, while others live with roommates.
- Homestays: Homestays offer a glimpse of real life as you live with a family. It will help you learn a new culture and will also help you in improving your English
Searching for Accommodation
While students are responsible for their own accommodation, universities do provide assistance to students in finding accommodation. This provision may range from them finding accommodation for you, to offering you several options or merely advising on the same. Apart from assistance and advice from your university, there are certain organizations whose primary purpose is to offer lodging advice and ease the entire process of accommodation. They are often associated with several housing organizations and usually help you find a decent place to live. You should also check student notice boards both offline and online, as well as local newspapers for advertisements on rooms, houses and apartments for rent. Below is a list of sources of accommodation for students:
- University office
- Student accommodation websites
- Residential Agents
Craigslist offers helpful property information. In addition to Craiglist, there are other websites which you can refer to.
Homesales, GumtreeAu, Ninemsn
For the UK
Locanto, Gumtree, UKClassifieds
Property hub, property, Singaporeexpats
For USA and Canada
Zillow, Uloop, Trulia
Creating a budget for Studying Abroad
One should keep in mind the following expenses:
- Tuition fees
- Utility Bills
- Transportation and Conveyance Costs
- Additional costs (Books and Supplies, Entertainment and Health Insurance)
Create a Realistic Study Abroad Budget
Things to look for during house viewings
- Pest Problems
- Location of the property
- Electrical appliances
- Water supply
- Fittings and Furnishings
- Ensure that your house is well–insulated
- Talk to the other tenants
Surviving Shared Life
- Have a conversation with your flatmates regarding their daily routine, to prevent getting into unnecessary spats later on.
- Respect the personal space of others
- Try to spend quality time together
- Split your household chores
- Have self-awareness and be considerate of others
Rights of students when renting Student Accommodation
All students are required to pay a refundable security deposit when moving into any student accommodation. If the condition of the house is the same, after the end of your stay, the money is refunded.
- How much deposit do you have to pay? : How much security deposit you have to pay to your landlord will be influenced by the location of your accommodation and the type of accommodation. In private rented properties, students are usually required to pay four to six weeks’ worth of rent but some landlords ask students for more.
- Protect your security deposit: Every so often landlords will protect your security deposit with a tenancy deposit protection scheme or TDP. This ensures that the security deposit is refunded to students at the time of their leaving provided they do not cause any damage to the property of the owner.
- Getting back your security deposit: If your landlord plays foul and declines to return your security deposit, you should definitely raise your concerns. Try resolving your concerns with the owner but if it fails to solve the matter, then is advisable to speak to the authorities of the student housing office or seek guidance, assistance and advice from the local Citizens Advice Bureau.
- Application deposits: Some landlords tend to ask students to pay an application deposit before renting a place to them. This is illegal unless you have signed a tenancy agreement with the landlord. There are have been instances where some people who have paid application deposits have been unable to rent and lost their money in the process as the landlords refused to return these illegal application deposits. Thus be very careful, and desist from renting a place to live from a landlord who tells you to pay an application deposit.
- Important documents
- Kitchen utensils
- Bedroom items
- Bathroom products
- Passport and/or driver's license (ID)
- Acceptance letter from the University
- Course acceptance letter
- Accommodation contract
- Student Finance documents
- Scholarship or bursary letters
- Insurance documents
- Passport photos
- Vaccination history
- Prescription copies
- Bank debit card
- Student discount cards, for example, railcard