There are many students who dream of studying abroad and settling down there, but the number of students who actually make it a reality is very less. And the reasons for this may vary – from financial constraints to tiresome application processes. Well, whatever excuse the nagging voice behind you gives you, studying abroad is never a distant dream.
Once you’ve narrowed down the course you want to take up and the university you are planning to attend, you are halfway there (well, not really but it’s half the battle you’ve won with your inner self). Fast forward to when you’ve packed and are all set for university, with the flight tickets in your hand and plans on your mind.
Now when I say most of you, and I mean it, will have put off their accommodation search on hold hoping the university they’ve applied to gives them a room on campus. What you need to understand here is that while universities will give preference to international first-year students, chances are that you might end up having to struggle a bit on the off-chance that you don’t get on-campus accommodation.
In that case, there is no need to panic because there are plenty of places where you can crash for a few days while you search for accommodation near your university campus. But I am here to talk about how to avoid this situation altogether. Because trust me, you want your study abroad journey to be memorable – in a good way. According to various reviews, more than 20 percent students will agree that finding the right accommodation can make or break your university experience. More often than not, students complain about over-priced and over-booked rooms, unsafe living environments, or long commute, the list goes on.
Here are a few tips that I have compiled for you if you’re planning to study abroad, whether it’s for a long-term course or a short-term program.
1. Research, compare, and book accommodation
And I don’t mean that you do these steps after you’ve started university. Since travelling to a new country is already a daunting (yet quite exciting) experience, do you really want to take it up a notch by not even having a roof over your head. This is why I swear by it, in order to begin making the most of your university experience, you need to start looking for accommodation the minute you’re sure you are going to whichever city you’ve picked.
While there are some countries that require students to submit details of the accommodation before being issued a visa, even if there aren’t any conditions, it is never a bad idea to have a place where you know you will be safe. There are several student housing platforms such as University Living where you can compare and book accommodation near university campuses in your city of choice.
2. Virtual viewing of accommodation
I know how pictures can be deceiving and at times looking at them on the website and comparing them with the real thing is not really something that we look forward to. Now if you were attending a university in the same country, it would be a wise decision to just schedule a visit to the property to give yourself some peace of mind.
Does that mean international students have no other option? Well, that is where you are wrong. With platforms like University Living, students can easily ask for a virtual viewing of the accommodation that they are interested in booking. Since most accommodation providers will allow a Skype viewing, students can check out the property without having to travel to the city.
3. Prioritise according to preference
Before you begin searching for accommodation, you must make sure you have calculated and set aside a budget that you are willing to spend on accommodation. Because you don’t want to be in a new country and find yourself running out of money by the end of each month. When you start looking for accommodation, there are some important factors that you need to consider apart from your budget. The location is one such factor, how far from the campus are you willing to live in order to save on commute while making the most of your time at university. You also want to be close enough to the city centre where you can spend your day off.
Then there is also the type of room that you prefer to stay in, whether shared or independent. The great thing about University Living is that there are plenty of room types to choose from – ensuite, shared apartments, and studios. So, you can go ahead and book the room type that is more to your living preference. If you book a room in an off-campus student accommodation, you’ll also have access to great communal spaces even if you decide to stay in an independent studio. These spaces also offer convenience and comfort, with a list of amenities included and a rent payment structure already in place.
4. Safe spaces
With the times that we are currently facing, safety has somehow become one of the top-most priorities for students and parents. It isn’t just about the location of the residence anymore, but the entire accommodation. Whether the rooms are being sanitised or the safety protocols are being followed, all of these things are factors that you need to look into when you are booking an accommodation.
With University Living, you can rest assured that their priority is the safety of the students and the staff at the accommodations. This is why all of the properties on their platform have made it a point to offer safe living spaces for the residents.
Anupama Manral is a socially awkward book addict and an impulsive writer. When reality starts to blur, that’s when words feed her soul- at least, as long as they spell fiction. Some days she only exists between dreams. She can gaze at the stars and look for the unspoken stories within them. She truly believes that she will one day be the words she writes. Her first book “Half stars, half sins” just came out. She is currently working with University Living as a Sr. Associate for Content.