Nothing in this world can make us come alive as a new experience. A great adventure gives us moments that last forever and technology can help us shape a world without borders. The opportunity to study in another country is an opportunity to live and learn these things that should be understood and appreciated when this happens.
But after choosing to study abroad, there can still be many challenges to overcome. One of the most complicated may be to find accommodation, which is quite difficult in the country itself but can be especially difficult when looking abroad.
Here are some tips to make the process much easier so that you can focus on what really matters during your experiences abroad.
# 1. Do not travel without first finding a place to stay
This is perhaps the most important advice we can give. You should not travel to a country as a student if you do not know where you are going to live.
Many governments require students to find accommodation before they are issued a visa. But even if your destination country does not, it’s never a good idea to travel without knowing where you’re going to stay. It’s dangerous, on the one hand, and living in a hotel while you’re looking is expensive and can mean finding a more long-term place is challenging since students usually book the best apartments long before you arrive.
So find a place before traveling. However, there is a problem when renting somewhere before you see it: how can you tell if it’s good?
# 2. It is not always necessary to visit the accommodation in advance
If you have ever rented accommodation before, you know that sometimes there can be a big gap between how a place is presented online, in images, and how it looks in reality. Simple camera tricks can make a room look much bigger than it really is, while mold or rotten wood or anything else that makes the apartment look worse is left out. Having the lights on or taking pictures on a sunny day to make it look brighter and airier, move furniture, or just provide a single image of a room are all common tricks that landlords and realtors perform to make a place It looks better than it is.
The easy and common solution to these tricks is to visit the apartment in person and see how it differs. When you look in your own city, traveling there and then looking around can take only an hour or even less. And that is more than enough. Doing this only once in a city that is thousands of kilometers away not only requires a lot of time, but also a great financial burden.
For students who are saving for international education, obviously, this is not the ideal situation. However, fortunately, there are some secure online solutions that can save you time and money.
Online platforms like Uniplaces , for example, exist to help international students rent a house safely. With these platforms, students do not need to fly weeks in advance and knock on doors while they are in a temporary room; You can book a room online, whenever you want, and from anywhere in the world.
These types of platforms generally do not allow visits before check-in, but they, however, invest in professional videos and photographs to ensure that students have all the information they need to make a safe and informed decision. That way, not being able to visit an apartment is not a big problem because you know that what you see is what you will get.
# 3. Carefully analyze your contract
The landlords will always be careful with their property, after all, it is theirs. When negotiating, property owners may request a minimum contract term, a guarantor’s or guarantor’s signature (sometimes one based on the country of ownership), tax returns, evidence of employment, or a number of months of advance rent.
Some properties will provide furniture, others will not. In general, it is easier to find a place with the furniture already installed. As a result, you may have to pay for any damage you do to the apartment/furniture. Many contracts will also require you to pay for cleaning once you leave. Make sure you are satisfied with the terms established in the contract before signing anything.
It is also very important to verify if you will have any sanctions in case you need to leave the house ahead of time.
# 4. Do not exceed your budget
There may be a lot to explore and do when studying abroad. How restrictive and worrying it can be then if once you arrive, you discover that you do not have money to do the things you had planned. For this reason, the budget can be one of the best things you can do before traveling, and make a plan of how much you can spend each month, taking into account travel, accommodation, food, bills, college costs, and Expenses.
One of the biggest costs will be accommodation. Meet your budget and do not feel tempted to find a nice place at the expense of your savings. The properties with better location will cost more, as well as the bigger and better-furnished places. Expect to pay more if you want to rent a full apartment for privacy, instead of sharing it with other people (who will often be other students).
Apart from the rent, there are many other costs that you should keep in mind, such as the security deposit. Normally, the deposit will be for one or two months of rent and the owner is always paid along with the first month’s rent. This serves as protection in case there is any damage to the property, for example.
It is also important to know if the price of your rental includes the costs of electricity, water, gas, and internet. To get an idea of the monthly amount of this type of expense, you can search online at sites like Numbeo.
Sometimes, a more distant place seems attractive because it has a lower price, but do not forget to take into account travel costs (and daily travel time). In a city like London, an annual travel pass can cost you thousands of pounds. Although the tours will often have discounts for students, make sure that the location of your accommodation is economically effective and pleasant to live.
# 5. Consider your preferred type of accommodation
When considering your preferred type of accommodation, your budget is very important, but also consider what kind of environment you think would be appropriate for you to live.
You can find rooms for rent in several places: near the university, in student residences, in Facebook groups and, of course, on online platforms that rent houses specifically for students.
You can choose to rent a full apartment, a single room in an apartment with other students or a room in a student residence. Student residences can often offer greater comfort, with cleaning included and an established payment structure. However, they usually have more rules to follow when it comes to guests and schedules. To live in a student residence, talk to your university to see if there is a pre-existing agreement or even a residence on campus.
Whole apartments are rarer to find – and more expensive. You can search for real estate websites, Facebook groups or specialized platforms, such as the Uniplaces mentioned above. They are also a good option because they provide you with an official accommodation certificate to help with student visas.
# 6. Feel safe when booking
In addition to the fact that the owners are not always honest about how their properties look, some especially unscrupulous people will lie openly about their apartment, which, in some extreme cases, may not exist at all.
This can be especially true in the case of properties found on websites focused on classified ads, such as Craigslist, OLX, or Gumtree, where anyone is free to post an ad. Only use the websites of properties that you can trust when you make the reservation.
When booking accommodation, owners often request a security deposit that will be paid in advance. Always make sure the person is reliable before exchanging personal information or money.
Take the time to search online and talk with friends and people from your university to learn about their study abroad experiences and to find out which is the best and safest option for you. Finding a place to live abroad can sometimes be a minefield, but as you can see, it is not the end of the world.