Student Housing – Choose wisely, don’t take a chance
So, you are finally set for higher education in the country and college of your choice. Exciting times, aren’t they? New sights, sounds, people, culture, lifestyle and living. And of course, the prospect of an international career!
Let’s ensure that the excitement isn’t watered down by poor / misinformed choice in selecting student housing.
Here are some important things to bear in mind before making housing selection. You have to live there for many months after all.
Types of Student Housing
On Campus Accommodation
Perhaps one of the cheapest and most sought-after student housing options, on campus accommodation is usually preferred by first-year students who want to get acquainted to the university, locality, country. Although there is little flexibility in choosing the type of room, on campus accommodation can be a great way to meet, greet and live with people across cultures, closer to the university.
Purpose-Build Student Accommodation (PBSA)
Large living complexes built specifically to house the students, PBSAs are quite popular among international students who want to live among other students. They are highly preferred for their facilities such as game-rooms, cultural centre, library, gyms, etc.
PBSAs are also in high-demand, hence, the bookings are usually open only for a short period.
Private / Rented Homestays
As per estimates by leading student housing companies, more than 70% international students opt for rented homestays. Indian students immigrating for higher education specifically in U.K., Ireland, Canada, and U.S. prefer to live in a rented home.
Flexibility of choice, personal space, living closer to preferred community are some of the reasons for their preference. If you also favour opting a private residence, then you must consider all aspects mentioned below before making an informed decision.
Types of Room
Whatever type of housing you choose, confirm the type of room you are selecting. Usually there are three options: Shared room, private room and studio apartment.
Confirm with the university / home owner about the room type – you may request a picture and details of utilities before you get to the next stage of reservation.
You must double and triple check to confirm the access to public and private transport from your housing location to campus. Also, figure out how near or far you’d be from town centre, places of interest, community centres, etc. Lastly, use social medias to figure out the safety quotient of the location.
You may want to live like a queen / king, but can you afford it. Your parents would have drawn a budget for your housing & living expenses; you’d have to source and finalize a space within that budget.
Start early, find the housing options online from the likes of Amber. Share the choices with your parents. Consider every expense head over & above rent, and understand the contract clauses with absolute clarity.
What is the duration of contract? Is the rent refundable; and how much of it has to be paid as advance? Is the place furnished? Are the costs of furniture / plumbing / utility repairs covered? Who to contact in case of emergency if the home owner is not available? Can you terminate the contract mid-way; if yes, then what would be the refund policy?
These are some of the many questions that you ought to take into account before signing the contract.
Once you have finalized, selected and paid for your choice of housing option, inform the relevant person/s about your arrival well in advance. There have been instances whereby students had to Air BnB for a few days because they ‘forgot’ to intimate the home owner before arriving!
Finally, a word of advice – you are immigrating to pursue academic excellence, and not for an extended staycation. Choose wisely, live healthy and fulfil your ambitions.