University Accommodation - The First Choice:
As an international student in a new country, among the many challenges that a student faces; finding proper accommodation ranks pretty high on the list. Most mid to large-sized institutions offer on-campus accommodation and usually international students are assured of a place on-campus in their first year of study. Additionally, a number of institutions in the USA have made it mandatory for their first year international students to stay on-campus.
Advantages of Staying in On-Campus Accommodation:
- Proximity to the classrooms and all university facilities like the library and gymnasium.
- Time is not wasted on travelling to the university from somewhere far away.
- Living in the dormitory/on-campus rooms fosters a sense of friendship and togetherness.
- In the USA, university accommodation comes with an optional meal plan; so getting food on time is not a problem.
- In case of medical emergencies, students can contact the on-campus medical support staff/team.
Other Accommodation Options:
Some students feel that living within the university curtails their freedom. In such a scenario students can choose to live in a home-stay, a private student hostel or rent an apartment or an individual house. A home-stay is a good option as this allows the student to stay with a local family and have food along with them. Private student hostels offer students accommodation across budgets from simple dormitory style accommodation to shared and single-rooms. Living in a flat or an independent house along with like-minded friends is a great way to bond and sharing costs on food and rent helps students’ save money.
Pros and Cons of Non-University Accommodation:
- Students have the luxury of following their passions and interests and not bound by university accommodation rules.
- Students get to explore the city and country and also learn to become independent; this fosters a spirit of adventure and responsibility.
- The closer the accommodation is to the city-centre the costlier it is; hence students may have to travel a considerable distance from their residence to the university.
- Students who do not know how to cook may face problems and end up spending more on food and drink.
- Immediate access to medical care in case of a medical emergency is doubtful.
Finding Inexpensive Accommodation Abroad:
- Browse the internet - From international student chat groups to Facebook pages - the information available is useful and helps students make a wise choice.
- Websites like Studenthousing and Studentpad serve as a complete resource portal with reviews, pricing and booking facilities.
- Connect with international students on Facebook and Twitter to know about local accommodation options
- Check student bulletin boards for notifications on students looking for room-mates; websites like EasyRoommate are very useful.
Points to Note:
- Ensure that the accommodation is in a safe locality.
- Inform your institution, friends and faculty members your address of residence.
- Share your contact number with your local friends and your family.
- Keep in regular touch with your family email; Facebook and Skype have made this very easy.
- If you are leasing an apartment ensure that you read through the terms and conditions carefully.
- Get clarity from your landlord / accommodation manager on charges for utilities like water, electricity, telephone, internet and gas / heating etc.
- Get a bill or receipt for all payments made.
Living alone in a foreign land is challenging in many ways; but it also moulds students into free-thinking and strong individuals and helps them face the challenges of a professional career. Choose your accommodation option with care, a ‘home away from home’ will help you focus on your studies.
Image Credit: www.southampton.ac.uk