Moving to another country to study abroad turns out to be a bit scary, especially if it’s your first time out of the country. At home, living with your parents was easy, and questions like “how to choose an apartment” may have never come up in your daily life. BUT, since you are planning to study abroad next semester, you are now faced with the difficult task of finding study abroad housing.
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. You’ll figure out the name of the study abroad housing game in one way or another after you finishing reading this article. If you are curious how to find study abroad apartments, read on! Trust us, it will save you both time and frustration.
Why Choose Study Abroad Apartments for Housing?
Studying abroad is not only about classes and what you learn abroad. If you want the full experience, you’ll need to immerse yourself in the culture and truly live abroad. For this to happen, living on campus won’t really do the trick, even though your classes may be at an arm’s reach and you may be able to meet many people at your university.
If you want to live like the locals, you need to look for study abroad apartments especially for students. Study abroad apartments will force you to commute, explore the city, learn a bit of the language, and have an impactful cultural experience.
As opposed to living on campus, study abroad apartments will offer you more freedom. Think about it: some campuses have strict rules and curfews, meanwhile apartments come with many added freedoms. Do we really need to list all the freedoms apartments abroad will afford you?
How to Find Study Abroad Apartments
There are two methods for finding study abroad housing in the form of apartments abroad. The first one, outlined below, is a bit more complicated and requires you to do some serious research, while the second one is easier, but is only applicable in a limited number of destinations.
Pick your method wisely based on your destination and personal preferences!
Method 1: Conduct a DIY Study Abroad Apartment Search
Step 1: Make a plan.
The easiest way to start looking for study abroad apartments is by making a plan. You need to take into consideration various elements that you may find essential during your time abroad. For some study abroad students, having something like a balcony is a must; some students are interested in smaller apartments that don’t entail having roommates, while others want big open layouts and many housemates for an instant social group.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself when you start making your study abroad housing plan:
- How much money am I willing to spend? What is my study abroad housing budget? Setting your price range before looking for an apartment is key. If you are aware of what you can afford, you can start researching effectively to find the average cost of renting an apartment for a month. Also, take into account other expenses, such as a deposit, taxes, and monthly utilities.
- Do I want to live in the suburbs or near the city center? Location is key; it is an important part of deciding on study abroad housing and choosing which apartment you want. Sometimes an apartment on the outskirts of the city is the cheaper option. However, it might end up being too costly if you add the price of your daily commute. There are also other advantages of living on the outskirts of a major city, such as the fact that you will have the chance to convert your stay into a more authentic cultural experience, if you live where most locals live. On the other hand, living near the city center might seem more appealing to study abroad students, as being closer to most of the city’s attractions means you can save on transportation and be closer to restaurants, bars, and many shops. Seems ideal, right? Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this approach to study abroad housing: noise and costs, which can sometimes be too high for a student budget.
- How long am I going to live there? It is quite important to know how much time you are going to be needing study abroad housing for, as this will help you make your selection, since some may require a minimum period of stay. By deciding on how long you want to study abroad, you can eliminate the study abroad apartments that require longer stays and narrow down your list of options.
- How big do I want my study abroad apartment to be? You need to know whether you prefer a studio or would like to live with other people in a flat. Depending on the size of your desired study abroad housing, the costs of renting may vary greatly.
- What about the amenities? You should take into consideration other essentials of study abroad housing, like whether it is furnished or not, whether you can have pets in it or not, whether you can smoke inside or not, and how far it is from public transportation. Also, you need to find out whether the apartment has an included contract for wifi or cable, or any other convenience that might interest you.
Step 2: Know Where to Look for Study Abroad Apartments
- Network. Maybe you have a friend who already lives in the country where you are going to study abroad or maybe you know someone who has spent some time there. The easiest way to find a place is if someone recommends it to you. It might save you time and stress.
- Online websites. The Internet offers many possibilities for you to find study abroad apartments. From a simple search of keywords such as: “study abroad housing” or “student apartments” in specific cities, the options are limitless, from Craigslist to AirBnb.
- Host school. Most of the time, there will be fliers and posters on your host school’s campus of apartments available for rent for students that are located around the university. Also, someone at the student housing office or information desk might be able to lend you a helping hand, or even your fellow classmates.
- Get a real estate agent. If you speak the local language fluently and feel comfortable operating in a foreign setting, you can consider directly connecting with a real estate agent. Be prepared for unexpected twists and turns as you navigate tenancy though, as processes differ from country to country.
Method 2: Use Uniplaces
As mentioned earlier, there is an easier way to find study abroad apartments. Uniplaces is the ideal online resource where you can look at study abroad apartments in your destination country. And if you have any problems, you can just contact them directly for extra help. Take some stress off your plate!
This sounds a bit too good to be true, right? But it isn’t! The whole website’s mission is to make the process of finding study abroad housing easier for students. How? Without stepping out of the comfort of your room, you can complete the process (yes, the WHOLE process) by searching for study abroad apartments and then booking your new home before you ever step foot abroad (or when you do too). The main advantage of using Uniplaces is that you can have accommodation BEFORE you arrive, so you have one thing less thing to worry about!
Although, there are some downsides to this method, unfortunately. The main one is that it is only available in a few countries (so far!), including Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany. If you plan on studying abroad in one of these countries, you’re in luck! Uniplaces can hook you up. However, if your study abroad destination is not on the list above, then you’ll have to default to method one, which as we mentioned, isn’t all bad by any means.
Final Tips for Study Abroad Apartments
You really can’t have too many tips for study abroad housing. Students always say, “I wish I would have known that before I studied abroad,” so here are a few more things you should know about study abroad apartments before you head abroad:
- Necessary documents. You need to check with the landlord of the apartment in order to see what financial or legal documents are required.
- Check security of the site. If you plan on paying online, double check to see if the site is secure and and always pay with a credit card.
- Check photos. If the apartment that you want to rent has no photos, then do not proceed as it might end up being a scam.
- Pack Light. Students tend to overpack for study abroad, without thinking about what they’ll want to bring home. Don’t be one of the “overpackers”! Read up on how to pack light for study abroad.
That’s It! Now you know everything you need to find study abroad apartments!
Moving abroad is not easy; it can be pretty scary indeed. After all, who isn’t afraid to leave friends and family as well as the country they grew up in, and exchange it all for the mystery of starting over in a brand new place? Especially if you are moving abroad to a place where the culture and language are different from the ones you’ve known your whole life.
From my own experience, finding a place to stay where you feel at home is quite important to mitigate the shock from the environmental changes you’ll be faced with when studying abroad. So, that means you should choose your study abroad housing well!
Follow these tips, start packing, & get ready for an adventure abroad!
This article is sponsored by Uniplaces, an online marketplace where students and young professionals can book accommodation. Founded in 2011 by three friends, it grew into a global brand with accommodation in 32 cities in five countries. Our goal is to make the booking process as easy as possible, reducing all points of friction for both tenants and landlords. It can be said that Uniplaces uses technology to reinvent the real estate market.