6 steps to finding an apartment abroad
Going abroad is hard. The world around you becomes an unfamiliar living space. Change seems ubiquitous and it is hard to find your footing initially because of all of the cultural differences.
UE - Going abroad is hard. The world around you becomes an unfamiliar living space. Change seems ubiquitous and it is hard to find your footing initially because of all of the cultural differences. The trick when you are abroad — and surrounded by so many new things — is to create at least one space of constant comfort you can return to and the best way to do that is to live in an apartment.
But navigating the search for an apartment at home can be stressful enough. And navigating the process abroad can be even worse. Here are some important tips that you should heed if you choose this option.
1.RESEARCH THE AREA
You are looking to live in an area that is both safe and relatively close to your school. This is not the time to be any more adventurous or ambitious than you have to be. See which neighborhoods are ranked the best, determine where most international and native students stay and find reviews from past international students who stayed in the apartments.
2. PICK A PRICE POINT
After researching what neighborhood you would like to live in, pick a price point. You are not a local, so you may not get the local discount but try to find the price that seems reasonable for the area. Pick a range and find accommodations that fit that range.
3. FIND ROOMMATES
Going abroad is the opportunity to interact with people from the country. Figure out if that is what you want to do and if not, try to live with some other international students from other countries.
This is the time to do something different and not just live with your friends. Of note, I had two friends who studied abroad in Ireland. They lived in separate apartments but in the same apartment building, which offered the best of both worlds.
4. HUNT FOR PLACES ONLINE
The best way to find an apartment online is through referrals and Facebook housing groups. This can help you limit your search and find some great options. Craigslist is another option. It may seem sketchy but many international hosts post their apartments on there. Make sure to look over pictures and see if you could get comfortable.
5. GET ON SKYPE
Before signing any contracts, make sure to Skype the people you will be living with or the landlord. Really iron out the terms of the deal and get comfortable. Skype is the best way to gauge if this is a good fit.
6. SIGN AND DEPOSIT
Make sure to read over the terms of your lease and fine-tune the details and rules before signing. After signing, send a deposit to confirm your spot and to make your offer a concrete reality.
Studying abroad is an adventure. Get to know the place you will call home for the next few months by immersing yourself in the city and living with other locals. You will come back with a new sense of appreciation for the time you spent abroad.
Sherin Nassar, George Washington University