Finding the right housing when studying abroad

Getting Around By Rytis Cekauskas September 21, 2019

When it comes to planning your studying experience abroad, finding the right place to live is especially important. Your housing of choice will not only take most of your budget it will also impact your college experience. Here are five options you might consider when looking for the ideal student housing that meets your needs.


1. Shared flats

Living with other people in shared housing has many advantages, like sharing the costs and having your own room with the privacy and comfort of living in an apartment. It’s also a good way to meet new people and even build lasting friendships.

While sharing a flat might save you money, finding the right one takes time. You will often go through a short interview round, to make sure that you are the perfect fit for the group of people (or person) you are going to be living with. They may require you to provide proof of income or to state how you plan to pay the rent while studying. Where available*, you can pay your bills online from or from your phone using the Western Union® app, and be everyone’s favourite flat-mate. Or get support from your family back home by receiving your money in cash at a Western Union agent location.


2. Student residences

If you want the real student experience, or you’re still not ready to take on the expenses and responsibilities that come with an apartment, student dorms or halls of residence are a good way to start your college adventure.

Student dormitories can vary in sizes, prices, and facilities.  Depending on the student hall, you can either share a room or a small apartment, usually located very close to schools, college campuses, and university buildings. However, dormitories in a hall of residence might be limited, most of them are fully occupied weeks before the academic year starts. So, remember to apply for a place in advance – many of them have their own website.

If you’re the easy-going, adventurous kind of student, who doesn’t mind sharing four walls with someone you’ve probably never met before, a residence hall is the right place for you! Who knows, your roomie might even be your next best friend.


3. Homestay

If learning the language, emerging in your destination’s culture and savoring all the local food is how you imagine your study abroad experience, then a homestay with a local host family may be the option you’re looking for.

This option is mostly available through private agencies like Au pair or Work and Travel. While there are many pros of living with a local family it may involve working for them. But If you want to have a full cultural experience, while earning pocket money, a homestay could be the best route for you.


4. Rent a room

If you still feel like living in a family environment without making too many compromises, you might consider renting a room in a private home. This type of housing might cost you a little more, but you’ll feel right at home while studying abroad.


5. Private apartment

Comfort, privacy and your own place to study – a private apartment can offer you all that. Finding the perfect apartment requires time and the right budget. Many universities’ or college’s social media groups and online platforms, however, can provide you with information about where to look for affordable student apartments. But be careful! Watch out for fake listings and avoid rental scams by reading the information carefully. Make sure to inspect the apartment before signing the contract.