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Moving abroad to pursue higher education is very exciting but with it comes the anxiety of finding a good accommodation. Once you have been selected at your chosen university, it is best to start searching for places to stay at your destination city. There are a plethora of options to choose from such as University Halls, Private Accommodations and Homestays and depending on your preference and budget you can decide on the kind of accommodation that you would like to avail.

Here is a guide to student accommodation to help you and a list of some points that you should keep in mind before confirming your accommodation abroad

  • Rent Costs:

The cost of rent can vary depending on the type of accommodation that you want to where the accommodation is located, i.e. in the metropolitan cities or the suburbs.

  • Contract Length:

The cost of accommodation is based on the duration of the contract. Usually for University Halls, the length of contract is for forty one weeks, for Private Accommodation that may have students from several colleges, the length of contract ranges from forty four to forty five weeks. Thus, in such cases, students will be required to pay an extra rent for three to four weeks and in some cases, they might not use it.

  • Expenses that are included in your monthly rent:

You should have a knowledge of what is included in the rent for University Halls. Usually electricity and gas cost is included in the rent for student accommodation. Car parking is however not usually included while internet costs are almost always included in the rent regardless of whether you choose to stay in a University Hall or in Private Accommodations.

  • Additional Costs:

Securing a place of accommodation usually entails one to bear additional costs like deposits and administration fee or booking fees (this is taken in case of cancellation) by institutional providers or private providers.

  • Location of your accommodation:

Your accommodation should be close to your university in order to save time as well as money required for travelling. You should also choose a place which has a doctor, supermarkets etc. Use public transport to save on conveyance costs. Availing public transport, like buses, subways etc. instead of travelling on app based cars goes a long way in saving money.

  • Safety and security:

Security is of prime importance and see if the main door leading to your building is secured and possesses secured entry. Burglar alarms are an added bonus so check if there is one where you are staying. Also check to see if your property has extinguishers, fire alarms and fire blankets and emergency exits in case of a fire and other emergencies.

  • White goods and electrical appliances:

Check to see if the electrical appliances provided are enough. Check the inventory and tenancy agreement and if you feel there is an issue let your landlord know about it and address them prior to you moving in.

  • Water supply:

Ensure that there is adequate water supply and the water pressure is good. Check the taps and flush to ensure it is working well. Also ensure that there are no damp patches and water leaks.

  • Fittings and furnishings:

Check to see what furniture will be available to you and if the existing ones are in a good condition.

  • Accommodation is well-insulated:

Ensuring that your accommodation is well-insulated could help you save on electricity bills. Check to see if the windows are double-glazed, has secure doors and a sound heating system. If the walls of the property are cold inside, it means that it is not well—insulated which could over a period of time cause the walls to have damp. Your house should also not have any drafty spots and should possess a sound heating system. Check for missing tiles on the roof which can lead to incessant leaks right through the year.

  • Pest Problems:

Infestation can be problem in student accommodations. Common pests includes mice, fruit flies, slugs, cockroaches, rats etc. so make sure to check work surfaces, around bins and kitchen cupboards.

  • Damp:

Damp may ruin your furnishings and clothes, and lead to health problems. When viewing an accommodation, check the walls as well as ceilings and check around windows, behind wardrobes and corners. Keep an eye for peeling paint or peeling wallpaper, patches of black mould and a damp and a musky smell, all pointers to the place being damp.

  • Speak to the present tenants:

It is essential that you speak to the present tenants as they can give you a realistic and an unbiased account as they have nothing to lose. Talking to the present tenants beforehand will save you stress from the future.

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. Once you are satisfied with all the terms and conditions, provisions etc. it is time to sign the tenancy agreement with your landlord and move in! In case you require any support or assistance, take advantage of the resources and services offered by your school.

Your educational institution will offer a plethora of support services to help you during your study abroad and many of these services are customized for international students. A plethora of support services will be there to assist you with personal problems like accommodation advice, counselling as well as financial services. In case you are studying off campus, similar services will be provided to you online and you can avail these professional services.

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