Finding suitable living options for Indian students while living abroad is a tough job. Several housing options are in front of them and thorough research on the same helps them find a home outside the home. Several countries provide different accommodation options that ensure a comfortable stay during the academic journey. Some of the common residences include on-campus housing or private rentals. It is important to check all the amenities that the housings provide such as furnished rooms, communal kitchens, study areas and utilities.
While selecting a suitable housing option, it is important to check out the length of the lease, location, roommates and safety of the place. Students can check trusted sources to get contacts of the accommodation providers and check out the prices, rental duration, photos and other details. Every city is different and each type of accommodation is different. Sharing an apartment with fellow students or roommates in such a situation can help reduce expenses and create a supportive living environment. In this article, we will explore popular living options for Indian students abroad, tips to find affordable living options and more.
Types of Housing Accommodation for Indian Students Studying Abroad
Most top study abroad destinations offer a variety of rented and shared accommodations that students can choose from, depending on their budget and needs.
Dormitories or Campus Accommodations: Most universities in countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, etc. offer housing facilities on campus. However, most likely, these facilities will be reserved for incoming freshmen. The benefits of choosing dorm rooms are that it provides a common platform for students to mingle and grow their network, especially within the university itself. However, depending on the type of dorm available and chosen by you, the rent or prices could either be highly expensive or inexpensive.
Private Student Rental Homes: Offered on similar lines to a dormitory, private student rental homes are usually located off-campus and come with additional amenities, in most cases. Similarly, the prices of these homes can vary depending on the utilities offered and the type of room chosen.
Homestay: An unusual concept among Indians, Homestay is a rather common occurrence in countries like New Zealand, Australia, etc. In this option, students get the option of living with a local family while they enjoy the freedom seen in a hostel. This option is perfect for those who get homesick but do not wish to mess with their freedom. Among the additional benefits of choosing a Homestay are home-cooked food, cultural immersion and linguistic immersion. However, homestay is commonly found a little ways away from the university and may have separate rules and regulations.
Shared Apartment: Another great option chosen by international and domestic students across most countries is sharing a private apartment. Shared apartments allow students, commonly friends or classmates to equally pay for an apartment. Thus, this helps vastly reduce the financial burden of living in a different country, where rent and accommodation prices can be steep. Shared Apartments often also are the most fun way of living since there would not be any curfews or restrictive regulations that eat into the fun days of college years.
Private Apartments: Among the more expensive options that an international student can opt for, private apartments allow students to live peacefully in an entire home completely rented for one person. With no one to interrupt and your own rules and regulations, private homes are perfect for those who wish to live alone and not be disturbed after a hard day at the university.
Note: While these are some of the accommodation options available for international students studying in top study abroad destinations such as the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Australia, the chances of not seeing the same options in other countries are moderately high.
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Therefore, when applying for a course offered by any university in any one of the countries, students must either ask the admission counsellor of the particular university or conduct research of their own regarding student accommodation.
Things to Keep in Mind While Renting Student Accommodation Abroad
Apart from researching the different student accommodations available for international students in countries abroad, there are several other pointers that all students aspiring to rent abroad should look out for, some of which have been outlined below:
Define Your Budget: One of the first steps in choosing a student accommodation is defining your budgetary constraints. Unless you have a billionaires background, the money you are able to spend on accommodation will be limited, therefore, sensibly defining how much you can spend on housing, while also defining the separate and additional costs that you may incur while living at an accommodation.
Define Your Needs: Another key element that will help you narrow down your options are your needs. Depending on your budget, define the amenities and facilities that are important to you and that you require for a smooth and worry-less stay during your studies abroad.
Know Your Rights: In most countries, every tenant possesses the right to live and access certain amenities. Thoroughly read through the tenancy agreement before signing any document. Check out the offers and limitations of living at a particular housing facility. If you do not possess the information for this, you can always ask your Admission Advisor or someone you trust to read through the agreement. Another point to remember is to check the apartment before signing any agreements.
Frauds: No country is safe from frauds unfortunately and international students can become key targets since their knowledge of certain rules of the country may be hazy. Therefore, as mentioned above, get the agreement read by someone who has an understanding of rental agreements.
Reach out to Students and Communities: A simple technique in finding accommodation can be achieved by connecting students and communities, either in-person or online. As a student, you will be able to access a number of forums for students looking to rent accommodation or find a roommate. Platforms like Facebook are one of the better ways to find good, affordable and somewhat trustworthy accommodation.
Here are some of the questions that Prashant Dambhale answered with regard to the living options available for Indian students abroad.
Where do Indian Students commonly reside while studying abroad?
The first-year bachelor students in most universities are guaranteed accommodation for the first year of their studies. Second-year students and onwards, choose to stay at a private accommodation, which includes private housing acquired by an individual and then rented out to students and PBSA or Purpose Built Student Accommodation, located close to the university they're enrolled in.
(What is a PBSA - A PBSA or a Purpose Built Student Accommodation is a private accommodation facility built by contractors for students particularly. Built in the form of cluster flats, i.e. rooms with shared kitchen and living areas. Some also include private studios as well. PBSA also comes with leisure and entertainment facilities such as gyms, game rooms and even cinema rooms.)
Should students opt for shared accommodation or independent rooms?
While both types of rooms have their own advantages, choosing single-occupancy rooms during such unprecedented times seems better.
What does a student require when renting a room?
There are many companies such as Casita that deal in offering international students a place to live during their studies. Depending on the budget and other requirements of the students, they are offered a range of accommodations. Students can choose one among them, pay the specified amount to book and sign a lease agreement for the specified duration.
The students will be legally bound to adhere to the rules and regulations specified in the lease agreement, once they have signed the agreement and paid the entire amount.
Can students vacate the premises before the lease agreement expires?
Yes, students who opt to leave before the lease agreement expires will be required to pay the entire rent for the remaining period or find a replacement for the period.
What do the rooms in a PBSA include?
A standard room would include a bed, study table, chair, room heater and floor carpet. Students must note that they will have to purchase their own bedding for the beds. However, depending on the budget of the student, a room may include more amenities and furniture.
What aids do housing organisations offer the students during the current pandemic?
Students opting to stay in one of the PBSAs, students will be able to avail quarantining facilities, regular sanitisation processes, regular temperature checks, among other aids.
What safety measures have been implemented to keep the students safe?
The PBSAs are equipped with CCTV cameras on each floor, with a dedicated reception area. Additionally, the housing facilities can only be accessed by students.
Will the students have to cook for themselves?
PBSAs usually include a common Kitchen that the students are required to use to cook food for themselves. Students can also opt to live in a private room with a kitchen at an additional cost to their rent.
What are the charges associated with rent?
The rent applicable includes the bills for the electricity consumed, water and Wi-Fi consumed. However, additional charges will be applicable to use other services and facilities such as laundry. Therefore, students who are planning their studies abroad can choose from a variety of options with a number of websites offering different housing options for international students.
Tips to Find Affordable Living Options for Indian Students Abroad
One of the major concerns of Indian students is finding affordable and cheap accommodation options to live abroad. The rent often determines the cost of living while staying in a foreign country. Students are often on tight budgets and exorbitant prices of accommodation seriously affect their budgets. Here are some tips to find popular and affordable housing options for Indian students abroad:
Being House Hunt Early: It is crucial to start searching for housing options early to find suitable student housing. The demand for student accommodation is high, especially in well-known university towns and cities. Students who begin their search early have a better chance of finding more selections and getting the best deals.
Explore Different Housing Options: Often, on-campus accommodation restricts the opportunity for students to engage with a different culture and way of life. It is relatively more expensive than off-campus accommodation. Living on campus at prestigious universities in the USA, the UK, and Australia does not come cheap. The off-campus accommodation is more reasonably priced and provides the opportunity for homestays, paid visits and even couch surfing.
Make Cleanliness-Check: Cleanliness and hygiene of accommodation matter more than aesthetics or physical features. It is important to check if the rooms are clean and cleaners are available.
Location and Background Check: The location of the accommodations, regardless of where the students are studying or where they intend to transfer, can make the entire experience a nightmare if any background investigation is not done before signing the rental agreement.
When it comes to finding suitable housing options, students have plenty of choices to stay abroad. It can be a dormitory, private housing, apartments, flats or homestays as per individual preferences. Students must consider all the factors while deciding such as proximity, cost, lifestyle and location. Most countries provide safe and secure accommodation for international applicants. They can contact student service offices to get guidance regarding their chosen destination.
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