A lot of hard work and passion goes into acquiring an admission letter from your dream University. Your parents gleam with pride as you are all set to fly overseas and take a landmark step in your career. As you get ready to leave, it hits you that the newfound freedom has its downsides. It leaves you in charge of your life, from finishing the legal works, finding student accommodation abroad, paying bills on time, excelling in your studies, to keeping your sanity all through the process.
As exciting as it sounds, switching gears from the comforts of your family to the hassle of apartment hunting in a brand new city may send a chill down your spine. It is quite normal to feel anxious, scared, and confused. We’ve got good news! Here are some tips to alleviate your stress and land on an ideal student accommodation you can call home.
1.Spot a location of your choice
There are many factors at play while choosing an area of the city to reside in. Apart from the distance to Uni, you must research the proximity to basic services like the train station, sports centre, supermarkets, health clinics, and city centre. Check the options and frequency of transportations to University and city centre.
Ask yourself whether you prefer a busy neighborhood in the city or a quiet lane in the countryside. Check if the standard and cost of living of the place meet your demands. It is best to check out different neighborhoods and streets to know what kind of location suits you best.
2.Have a budget in place
Before you draw out a budget for your international study plan, you should have a rough estimate of the incoming and outgoing money sources. Are you availing of a student scholarship from the Uni or an educational loan from your home country? Is anyone sponsoring your education? Are your parents sending in money? Are you working part-time after college hours? Ask these questions while making a list of the income sources.
Now, think of the ways your money flows out: rent, groceries, tuition fees, meals, bills, textbooks, transportation, clothes, gym, traveling, home décor, and monthly subscriptions. Segregate your expenses into needs and wants and cut out non-essential luxuries. Put away some amount every month for emergencies. Share the student housing to save a few bucks.
3.Research the available student housing options
Have your priorities in order and choose from the different student housing options available. Most of the cities have both on-campus and off-campus housing options for international students.
The on-campus option includes University halls or dorms, while off-campus options include private student accommodations, private houses, and homestays. In dorms, students have to deal with bustling doorways while private housing offers more personal space. In homestays, you live with a family in the host country, which lets you explore the local culture more and cope with homesickness better.
Weigh your preferences and choose a type of housing by considering aspects like comfort, safety, distance from University, proximity to basic facilities, cost, and the way of life.
4.Choose your housemates wisely
Sharing an apartment not only saves you money, but it also earns you someone you can count on unless you choose the wrong housemates. Figure out the type and number of people you want to live with.
Nobody wants to live with someone they can’t trust. Make sure you choose people who are reliable, responsible, friendly, and caring. Observe any conflicting priorities or traits; for instance, a morning person and a night owl never fit in the same house. If your housemates are people you have never lived with before, it’s wise to hang out and get to know them better so that you don’t enter a completely strange setting when you move in.
5.Know where to look for
Once you have settled on the location and potential housemates, it’s time to start looking for a house. You can connect with trusted student accommodation providers to help you with the cumbersome paperwork and finding the perfect place for you. AmberStudent has reliable and student-friendly properties near the most preferred Universities in the UK, such as University College London, University of Kent, and University of Hertfordshire.
Do not overlook the University’s international department, where you can get a reliable database and affordable leads. Keep seniors and alumni in the loop for updates on cheap and vacant houses nearby. Trawl University-affiliated pages as well as expat pages in social media for daily updates and fast responses.
6.Book a house tour before you make a decision
Once you have shortlisted the student properties in line with your preferences, book an appointment to view the house before you make a decision. You can ask the landlords or the current tenants to show the place around, either online or otherwise.
If you prefer to rent a house after moving to the country, you should arrange your stay for the first few days. Start the house-hunt early so that you have the leeway to visit different student hostels before you choose one. Remember that you have no commitments at the viewing stage and have the space to go back and forth with the letting agents. Keep your radar on as you go through each room, ask questions, and get a well-rounded view of the house.
7.Be clear about utilities and bills
Think about the number of people you will live with while looking over shared amenities like kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Check if there are enough storage space, cleaning tools, drawer chests, and kitchen and bathroom supplies. Ensure there are smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed and an efficient system for waste disposal and parking. Cross-check the number of bathrooms with the number of people.
Purpose-built student accommodations in major student cities like Cambridge and Roehampton are made to cater to student’s comfort and needs. They usually have reading rooms, spacious halls, sports and gym centres, and communal areas for social interactions. Double-check if the rent covers all bills, including water, gas, electricity, internet, TV license, and heating ventilation.
8.Talk to the current and former tenants
Apart from the house tour, take time out to talk to the current tenants. Students do not care if you rent the house or not, so their feedback would be honest and reliable. You may want to ask them about the landlord and whether they respond on time. Listen actively and ask the right questions to know about their experience staying on the property. You can ask them about the difficulties they faced in the house and how they tackled them.
They may share small details about the neighborhood and general setting of the place. They can recommend agents and providers who can help you. You can also follow student vlogs to understand the vibe and general lifestyle of student accommodations.
9.Steer clear of frauds
Be extra vigilant every step of the way as housing scams are on an all-time high during the pandemic. Confirm the address via a simple Google search. Read reviews both on properties as well as the agents. Learn about the latest housing scams in the area.
Make sure the website is well-maintained without any broken links. Refrain from transferring money before you sign the contract. Make sure you have copies of all relevant documents regarding the house. According to the UK’s tenancy protection law, the security deposit must be put into any government-approved tenancy deposit schemes. This way, you have assured a refund if you leave the property undamaged. Trust your gut and do not agree on anything you have a strong feeling against.
10.Read the contract, don’t just skim through it
Make it a point to go through the contract and take time to understand each statement. Educate yourself on the jargon and clarify any doubts you have with the student accommodation providers. The contract should clearly state the minimum length of tenancy, sublet options, and maintenance procedures, along with the rules on room décor, guests, and pets.
Before you move in, ask for an inventory and cross-check with the available utilities, and report immediately if you find a missing or broken piece. Look for any damps or rodents. Test the showers, switches, and power points. Take a note of meter readings for electricity, water, gas. Consider taking advice from a family member since they may look high and low to find details you may miss.
How can Amberstudent help you?
We at AmberStudent are devoted to giving you the best experience and option for student accommodation worldwide because we apprehend its value. We have upgraded ourselves continuously with the COVID policies and would be more than eager to assist you in those.