Every new college student knows that the struggle is real- finding affordable student accommodation. It´s important that is not only cheap but also in a safe area and consists of more than 5m2 are almost impossible these days. So we decided to gather some useful information that will hopefully help you in your search for the perfect flat or dorm room.
First and foremost, start looking for accommodation as soon as possible. The later you start looking, the more likely it is that it gets more expensive to find a decent room. Universities and Colleges often have their own housing departments so get in touch with them and be proactive in your hunt.
Your safest bet might be looking at what kind of accommodation your college offers. It might be a bit pricey but it’s the easiest way of finding a nice room within walking distance to your classes. Since most of the time colleges have their own dorms on campus it will be a no-brainer to choose this option. So, if money is not an issue and you can’t be bothered to look at other options, go for it.
Benefits of staying on-site are definitely that you know in advance what to expect, what’s included (Wi-fi, TV, laundry?) and which services and bills you have to pay for additionally. Universities will be strict in how they vet property owners so using this option you can be sure you will get reasonable accommodation.
Option number 2 is looking for a flat to share with other students. It’s a great way to make new friends also, especially if you are moving to another city (or country) and you don’t know anyone yet. Another bonus- you get to split the rent.
There’s a couple of websites that are specifically designed to find a suitable flatmate. If you are moving to England, you should check out spareroom.co.uk or take a look at the adverts on gumtree. Also, keep in mind when looking at potential flats to make sure to schedule a viewing of the property. You don’t want to sign a lease if you didn´t see how the flat actually looks like.
Maybe check out your college’s bulletin board as well because students who are graduating or recently graduated might be looking to rent out their old apartments to freshman. This is also a handy way to meet some of your future coursemates, who may also be looking for accommodation and would be willing to move in with you to cut costs.
An option that might be of interest to you if you like children or wouldn’t mind helping an elderly person with their household chores could be being an Aupair or taking part in a homeshare programme.
As an Aupair, you get free accommodation and meals and even some pocket money in exchange for about 20 hours of childcare. Homeshare is essentially an exchange of services. In order to live with a householder rent free, you have to help out with some light household chores, run errands or sometimes just be around for conversations.
This is also a great option iof your major is related to caring or child development, as you can use your time living as an Aupair as vital work experience or as practical experience from your course. This could be the difference between getting a job or not if you already have many years of relevant experience.
Of course, you could also rent your own apartment, depending on your financial means, it might be nice to look into having your own place. Same principles as option number 2 apply- search the web, talk to former students, check facebook groups- you might be able to find a comfy flat all to yourself.
Whilst thisk is less likely in larger cities, if you are studying at a College or University that has a relatively small population you may be able to afford a place to live by yourself. This is a handy first year option if you’re moving to a new area as it will gove you some time to get established before potentially moving in with friends or flatsharing.
If you are either late to the party, desperate or scared of not being able to find an apartment in time, I suggest couch surfing or staying at a hostel during the first few days. You may find that other students are looking for someone to share a room with.
Sites like Airbnb and Couchsurfing give you plenty of short term accommodation options at varied costs, although there is some inherent risk with this method and you should exercise caution and common sense.
Whilst being a useful option to have in the short term, this can actually get expensive the longer you do it for so it’s better to try and settle somewhere as soon as possible to keep costs down and stop you having to move to a new place every few days.
Another option that you might want to consider is staying at home. I know, I know. You have just finished high school and you really want to explore the student way of life and want to enjoy your independence. But hey, if it saves you valuable money that you can spend on more important things like travelling and going out, why not?
Plus, you probably won’t have to live off Ramen noodles like many of your fellow peeps. And if you ask nicely, “Hotel Mum & Dad” might even offer a free laundry and housekeeping service.
Whichever option you end up choosing, make sure it is the one that suits you best. For example, if you would rather live in a quiet environment, then being an AuPair might not be the perfect fit for you. Either way, you are about to start a new exciting adventure that is College and even though for some people the idea of living on their own for the first time, may seem scary, you will definitely rise to the occasion and grow with the challenges (such as doing your own laundry).
Do you have any tips on what’s the best way of finding great student accommodation? If so, then please share them with us in the comments section below. Help out your fellow students 🙂