Hostels, Homestays and Housing
A topic that often terrorizes ten out of ten students who are planning to study abroad is the accommodation. How does it work? How much I will pay for that? Am I going to like it? What can I do in case I don't like it?
There are many options for all tastes and pockets and you only got to find out which one matches your life style.
If you do not intend to stay long in the country, are on holiday or only need a temporary accommodation, the best option is to book a Hostel. In the hostel you have the choice of staying in a single or shared room. It is important to bear in mind that the greater the number of people in the room is, the lower is the daily rate. Most hostels offer breakfast, TV room and shared kitchen. Some of them can also offer bars, games room and gym. The daily rate is usually lower than in a hotel and you have the opportunity to meet travellers from all around the world and practice the local language. Visit hostelworld.com for more information and bookings.
For students who wish to really get into the local culture, the best option is probably the Homestay. I recommend that you book at least the first four weeks in this type of accommodation, time when you will have the opportunity to get used to the customs and habits of the country and practice the English with native speakers. Meals are optional, but they are a really nice way to get into the local food. Be aware that, by hiring a Homestay, you must obey the rules of the house like having time to get home, making meals or even giving satisfaction about where you were. After the first month and if you like, you have the opportunity to extend your stay with the host family or seek for a new accommodation. Staying in a Homestay is compulsory for those under 18 or for students who are going to study a High School abroad.
The majority of universities and colleges offer to its student accommodation in Students Housing, where you can choose between a single or shared room, depending on availability. Usually, in this kind of accommodation the bathroom, the kitchen and recreation area and shared among all students and it is the residents obligation striving for order and good relations in the common areas. There are Students Housings for all tastes and pockets. I recommend you to contact the provider institution for more information.
A very common choice among students who are already abroad is to rent a room in a shared house/ flat. The rent, usually paid weekly, depends on the number of residents and size of the house, bills included (gas, internet, light), location and room type. In London, for example, the average price of a single room (for one person) near the central city, is around £120 a week with all bills included, while the a Twin room (shared by two) is around £80. There are also Double Rooms available for couples. I suggest you to definitely visit the house before signing the contract just to make sure that the room is really as it was advertised and to be introduced to the other residents. Different cultures often come into conflict, but nothing that cannot be solved with a good and previous conversation.