Commute or not to commute?
If you’re going to a university in a different city, you’ll need to do a little research on where your campus is located and which buildings you will be studying in. From there you’ll be able to start pinpointing the area for your accommodation and how you are going to commute to university.
And here comes in the dilemma of “Should I rent closer to university and save money on transportation or find something further but cheaper?” In the end, the determining factors will be the time you spend commuting, the price for transportation and whether living further will actually cut down the cost drastically.
Shared vs Single accommodation
Renting a studio apartment starts anywhere from 300 euros in a small town in Europe and goes all the way up to 850 euros in England. The more budget-friendly option would be to rent a room in a shared flat/house or to apply for the student accommodation at your university.
To decide on this one, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable with sharing common areas such as the bathroom and the kitchen with others or you absolutely need the quite and independence for when you are at home.
The benefit of shared accommodation is that you can split the cost of such things as TV license and kitchen utensils and have a buddy at hand to help you out.
Storage, parking, and studying
Whether you share the place or live an independent life, consider where you will be spending most of your time.
Storage. If you’re not planning on returning home to change seasonal clothes for the semester, plan in advance the storing area for all the luggage, warm clothes and sports gear in case you own some. Great if you can utilize the underbed space for storage or have a cupboard just for junk.
Parking. Whether it’s your bike or a car, check the availability of a parking space in your accommodation and at university and make sure to communicate with the landlord and your institution about you using it.
Desk area. Whether you like quiet or can tolerate background noise, whether you need everything to be in one place or you carry everything in your laptop, this will determine if you actually need a desk at your house or you can use the university facilities, e.g. the library, free classroom, or language cafes.
Realtors vs Solo
It makes it a whole lot trickier to rent an apartment if you are an international student. Not only will you need to provide proof of finances and secure a deposit, you might need a guarantor and have a local bank account.
Not physically being in the country, you may find numerous alluring offers which will turn out to be scams. To avoid that, check the university information on student housing and companies which directly provide services to students. Always check the information, request proof of ownership and read the contract.
In the end, spending a little bit in advance will spare you extra visits, anxiety, and possibly staying at a hostel before all the paperwork is done. Remember that student accommodation goes like hot cakes start planning it at least six months in advance!