Studying abroad brings in a number of opportunities and challenges alike that shape and teach numerous lessons in life. Among such decisions is choosing the right accommodation for oneself.
All first-time study abroad aspirants either look for campus accommodation or private rented accommodation, which could either be single-occupancy or shared-occupancy. However, deciding between campus accommodation or rented accommodation can be confusing.
In an interview with Prashant Dambhale, Partnership Manager - South Asia at Casita, we were able to find out the few necessary points to remember when choosing between student accommodation for international students in countries like the US, the UK, Ireland, Europe, Canada, Singapore and Australia among others.
Before we take you through excerpts from the interview, let us first learn about the different types of housing options available for students studying abroad and what are the things that one should keep in mind while choosing suitable accommodation.
Types of Housing Accommodation for Indian Students Studying Abroad
Most top study abroad destinations offer a variety of rented and shared accommodation that students can choose from, depending on their budget and needs.
Dormitories or Campus Accommodations: Most universities in countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, etc. offer housing facilities on-campus itself. However, most likely, these facilities will be reserved for incoming freshmen. The benefits of choosing dorm rooms are that it provides a common platform for students to mingle and grow their network, especially within the university itself. However, depending on the type of dorm available and chosen by you, the rent or prices could either be highly expensive or inexpensive.
Private Student Rental Homes: Offered on the similar lines of a dormitory, private student rental homes are usually located off-campus and come with additional amenities, in most cases. Similarly, the prices of these homes can vary depending on the utilities offered and the type of room chosen.
Homestay: An unusual concept among Indians, Homestay is a rather common occurrence in countries like New Zealand, Australia, etc. In this option, students get the option of living with a local family while they enjoy the freedom seen in a hostel. This option is perfect for those who get homesick but do not wish to mess with their freedom. Among the additional benefits of choosing a Homestay are home-cooked food, cultural immersion and linguistic immersion. However, homestay is commonly found a little ways away from the university and may have separate rules and regulations.
Shared Apartment: Another great option chosen by international and domestic students across most countries is sharing a private apartment. Shared apartments allow students, commonly friends or classmates to equally pay for an apartment. Thus, this helps in vastly reducing the financial burden of living in a different country, where rent and accommodation prices can be steep. Shared Apartments often also are the most fun way of living since there would not be any curfews or restrictive regulations that eat into fun days of college years.
Private Apartments: Among the more expensive options that an international student can opt for, private apartments allow students to live peacefully in an entire home completely rented for one person. With no one to interrupt and your own rules and regulations, private homes are perfect for those who wish to live alone and not be disturbed after a hard day in the university.
Note: While these are some of the accommodation options available for international students studying in top study abroad destinations such as the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, the chances of not seeing the same options in other countries is moderately high.
Want to Know the Most Suitable Living Options Abroad?
Therefore, when applying for a course offered by any university in any one of the countries, students must either ask the admission counsellor of the particular university or conduct research of their own regarding student accommodation.
Things to Keep in Mind While Renting Student Accommodation Abroad
Apart from researching about the different student accommodation available for international students in countries abroad, there are several other pointers that all students aspiring to rent abroad should look out for, some of which have been outlined below:
Define Your Budget: One of the first steps of choosing a student accommodation is defining your budgetary constraints. Unless you have a billionaire’s background, the money you are able to spend on accommodation will be limited, therefore, sensibly define how much you can spend on housing, while also defining the separate and additional costs that you may incur while living at an accommodation.
Define Your Needs: Another key element that will help you narrow down your options are your needs. Depending on your budget, define the amenities and facilities that are important to you and that you require for a smooth and worry-less stay during your studies abroad.
Know Your Rights: In most countries, every tenant possesses the rights to live and access certain amenities. Thoroughly read through the tenancy agreement before signing any document. Check out the offers and limitations of living at a particular housing facility. If you do not possess the information for this, you can always ask your Admission Advisor or someone you trust to read through the agreement. Another point to remember is to check the apartment before signing any agreements.
Frauds: No country is safe from frauds unfortunately and international students can become key targets since their knowledge of certain rules of the country may be hazy. Therefore, as mentioned above, get the agreement read by someone who has an understanding of rental agreements.
Reach out to Students and Communities: A simple technique in finding accommodation can be achieved by connecting students and communities, either in-person or online. As a student, you will be able to access a number of forums for students looking to rent accommodation or finding a roommate. Platforms like Facebook are one of the better ways to find good, affordable and somewhat trustworthy accommodation.
Here are some of the questions that Prashant Dambhale answered with regards to the living options available for Indian students abroad.
Where do Indian Students commonly reside while studying abroad?
The first-year bachelor students in most universities are guaranteed accommodation for the first year of their studies. Second-year students and onwards, choose to stay at a private accommodation, which includes private housing acquired by an individual and then rented out to students and PBSA or Purpose Built Student Accommodation, located close to the university they’re enrolled in.
(What is a PBSA - A PBSA or a Purpose Built Student Accommodation is a private accommodation facility built by contractors for students particularly. Built in the form of cluster flats, i.e. rooms with shared kitchen and living areas. Some also include private studios as well. PBSA also comes with leisure and entertainment facilities such as gyms, game rooms and even cinema rooms.)
Should students opt for shared accommodation or independent rooms?
While both types of rooms have their own advantages, choosing single-occupancy rooms during such unprecedented times seems better.
What does a student require when renting a room?
There are many companies such as Casita that deal in offering international students a place to live during their studies. Depending on the budget and other requirements of the students, they are offered a range of accommodations. Students can choose one among them, pay the specified amount to book and sign a lease agreement for the specified duration.
The students will be legally bound to adhere to the rules and regulations specified in the lease agreement, once they have signed the agreement and paid the entire amount.
Can students vacate the premises before the lease agreement expires?
Yes, students who opt to leave before the lease agreement expires will be required to pay the entire rent for the remaining period or find a replacement for the period.
What do the rooms in a PBSA include?
A standard room would include a bed, study table, chair, room heater and floor carpet. Students must note that they will have to purchase their own bedding for the beds. However, depending on the budget of the student, a room may include more amenities and furniture.
What aids do housing organisations offer the students during the current pandemic?
Students opting to stay in one of the PBSAs, students will be able to avail quarantining facilities, regular sanitisation processes, regular temperature checks, among other aids.
What safety measures have been implemented to keep the students safe?
The PBSAs are equipped with CCTV cameras on each floor, with a dedicated reception area. Additionally, the housing facilities can only be accessed by students.
Will the students have to cook for themselves?
PBSAs usually include a common Kitchen that the students are required to use to cook food for themselves. Students can also opt to live in a private room with a kitchen at an additional cost to their rent.
What are the charges associated with rent?
The rent applicable includes the bills for the electricity consumed, water and Wi-Fi consumed. However, additional charges will be applicable to use other services and facilities such as laundry. Therefore, students who are planning their studies abroad can choose from a variety of options with a number of websites offering different housing options for international students.
Want to Learn More About Student Accommodation Abroad?
With online social media platforms and overall in-depth connectivity that has been made possible due to the internet, connecting with like-minded people has become easier in today’s day and age. Therefore, be sure to make full use of the technology to find the best student accommodation for yourself. However, it is important to note that you remain calm during this entire process, as sometimes finding accommodation in an entirely alien place can become overwhelming.
Stay tuned for more such information on living abroad!