Websites for alternative student housing, based on your wants and needs
Source: Shutterstock

Traditional student halls are passé.

Today, new accommodation options are popping up left, right and centre. Universities are teaming up with local families to offer homestay options, while companies like AirBnB let foreigners, including international students, rent for longer periods of time.

With so many choices in countries like the US and UK, the struggle isn’t in finding an available place to stay, but in finding the right place for your stay for the duration of your studies.

Alternative housing like this homestay aoption are cropping up everywhere. Source: AFP/Teh Eng Koon

So how do you find the most suitable homestay or AirBnB for your overseas study?

  1. 1. Bring your language learning to the next level: Lingoo

Lingoo is the world’s largest and best known online language exchange and homestay club. One of its best perks is that you can connect with qualified English or Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) tutors and arrange to stay with them for the whole or just part of your studies abroad.

2. For short-term rentals, go for AirBnB

Low commitment, high flexibility. Source: AFP/Phillip Faraone

If you don’t want to commit to a long-term rental contract, go for AirBnB – the leading provider of short-term rentals. Here, you can choose a Flintstone-like abode in the US deserta converted shipping container in the grounds of a Dutch museum or even a treehouse in downtown Atlanta.

Make full use of the website’s filters – dates, guests, home types, prices, instant book, etc – and tailor your search to your wants and needs. Then look for the following: five-star reviews, superhosts, legitimate photos, reviews of subcategories, etc. Finally, follow your gut and ask any questions before you click ‘book’!

3. To live with a family: Homestay

Homestays are accommodation schemes that set international students up to live with a host family. Some universities will have partnered with their local homestay providers to offer this alternative for students.

Choose this if you would prefer home-cooked meals, family nights in and an immersive yet supportive environment. It’s best to talk to your homestay family online to arrange a few Skype calls if possible before accepting your room. In doing so, you’ll make sure you’re clear on what living there will be like and whether you will get on.

4. To find decent housemates: RooMigo

Think Tinder but instead of finding the perfect partner (or friend, whatever you use it for), this is to help you find the perfect housemate. Launched last year, RooMigo connects people with others who have similar lifestyles to make sharing a home as painless as possible.

The good news is it’s simple to use; a user signs up with a personal profile, adds photos, describes themselves in the bio box and uses the different lifestyle tags to tell other members about themselves such as their hobbies, interests and the way they like to live in a house. The bad news is it’s only available in Ireland (for now!).

5. If you’re worried about losing your deposit and other scams: HousingAnywhere

Like Airbnb, tenants just enter their study abroad destination into HousingAnywhere’s search bar, as well as their move-in and move-out dates, and it lists the available rooms and apartments. On HousingAnywhere, tenants then get to filter the options according to accommodation type, furnished or otherwise, suitability for couples, bills charged, gender of tenant required, etc.

To guarantee a chosen place, users must pay the first month’s rent, which HousingAnywhere keeps safe and transfers to the advertiser 48 hours after you move in.

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