According to an educations.com survey of over 20,000 students, concern over student accommodation is rising. For students studying or working abroad, housing is a major concern. This rise in housing worries varies based on region. It is particularly prevalent among North American Students (50% stating that are concerned about accommodation) but this trend of rising worry appears in all regions, including Western Europe.
It can be difficult to secure accommodation, especially from afar when you can’t visit apartments or dorms in-person. Housing can also expensive, and some landlords can be hard to deal with. So, what should you do if you’re looking for housing for a study abroad program or internship?
Here are our biggest tips when it comes to finding housing, worry-free!
- Where to start.
Websites like Housing Anywhere, Student Mundial and StuRents can be a good place to start your search. They will give you a good idea of cost, availability and other factors. It can also be worthwhile looking at Facebook to see if there are any groups specifically for apartment hunters or subletters in the city you want to move to. These groups will give you a good sense of what’s out there and will help you to figure out where most students and graduates are living.
You should also have a chat with your careers team at your university. They will have experience of previous placements and therefore have knowledge of the best places to live, what agencies you might want to get in contact with and where you could find part-time work.
- Try to talk to locals
Google can only tell you so much. It can really help to get an insider’s perspective when evaluating housing. If you have any friends (close or distant!) who might be able to provide insight on which areas to avoid in the city you’re moving to, or what the typical cost of rent looks like, get in touch. If you don’t know anyone in the area, see if you can find online message boards (like Reddit) where people are talking about your location. Also, reach out to your future school (if you’re studying abroad), or to future co-workers (if you’ve already gotten an internship), as they will undoubtedly have wisdom to share as well. Many online apartment scams try to take advantage of the fact that you’re not a local and therefore won’t know what is considered expensive. Be sure to educate yourself by speaking to as many people as possible!
- Prioritise safety
Cheap rent is great but feeling like you can walk from your bus stop to your accommodation at night unaccompanied is better. It’s easy to be tempted by a location that is slightly further out from the city centre if it’s cheaper—but safety should be your utmost priority. If that means paying slightly more in rent, it’s worth it. Of course, be sure to talk to locals to evaluate which areas are the best—they’ll be able to provide you with the real deal.
- Be prepared to ask your agency/landlord questions.
When you start contacting landlords, be sure to not hold back with questions. Especially in a country you’re not familiar with, it’s crucial you do your research. Ask about utilities—what’s included in the rent and what’s not? Ask about safety deposits and most importantly, leases. Make sure you sign a lease too—a verbal agreement isn’t legally binding and could cause you trouble later. Always get everything in writing!
Moving somewhere new is an exciting experience, but it can definitely bring up concerns. Don’t let housing be one of them! There are plenty of great apartments and dorms out there, and with these tips, we hope you can find the perfect one for you.
educations.com is an education search engine used by over 3 million students a year to help them find the right education.