Congratulations to all the students who have got accepted to universities and courses of their choice. Once the final choice of university is made, it is time to look for accommodation. There are some universities which require international students to stay within campus in the first year. For them these guidelines will be required a year or two later. For students of universities which do not provide dorms or rooms, it is a daunting task to find a good apartment/room which is close to campus, has good neighborhood , reasonable rent and also has good roommates.
Listed below are some key points to give guidance on housing for an international student.
University website : The first step to research is to go through the accommodation details given on the university website. If the university provides accommodation, then the procedure to book one will be mentioned here. If not, then some links to the portal which can help the students search rooms will be available. Check out the links to know the kind of rooms and facilities available for a certain budget.
Google Map: Look up your university on Google Map. This will help you learn more about the city which will be your home for another few years. Refer to this map while looking up a room/apartment. Calculate the amount of time required for daily commute. Check out the distance from the city center or the nearest market.
Connect on Social Media: Most of the universities have student groups on social media. You can join those groups and connect with the students there. Take their help in locating good options. Many times freshers find their roommates on these platforms.
Beware of Scams: There are many sites which lure international students into sharing their bank details to book a room/apartment for them so you need to be really careful. While checking out the rooms, cross check it with google search. Fraudulent sites pick up impressive images form the internet and show them as their own.
Start Early: By the month of June almost everyone has finalized their university and they all start looking for a place to stay. So if you have finalized your college months before, then start working on the location and shortlisting the building. This way you will get a wider choice and definitely a good place at an attractive rent.
Be objective: As an international student, you might find it difficult to get a single room with all the amenities as per your expectations since many landlords would like to meet you in person before leasing out. In such cases, be open to settle for a smaller room or a shared room for first few months and then keep looking for options.
Temporary accommodation: There are plenty of cheap hotels, youth hostels and private rooms available for short stays. These can be of help if you plan to search for a place after reaching the university or for interim stay if your accommodation is going to be available after few days of your arrival. Reserve it online as soon as your travel plans are finalized.
Your safety is of prime importance. So kindly do not compromise on neighborhood to get better deal in room or rental. One wrong decision can put you off your track and can have dire consequences. Choose wisely and have a great academic year.