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5 tips for international students in UK to find ‘home’ away from home

Choosing accommodation can be a nightmare to international students, finding a home on a foreign land, away from home. Source: Shutterstock

As an international student, there is no end to the nightmare of choosing the wrong place to call home in a foreign land.

Add to that the unfamiliar environment, confusing local housing policies and language barriers, and you have yourself a total horror fest.

The good news is, this can be avoided.

We spoke to former and current international students in the UK for tips on how to score the most suitable student pad for you:

1. Know what you want

The first step is to know who you are and what you want from your future student pad. Do you want to stay on or off-campus? How much heating do you think you’ll need? Are you with Aldi or Waitrose?

You need a serious discussion with yourself whether a backyard is necessary. Source: Jia Yi Oh

Make a list of your wants and needs – this will be your guide in the house search. But note this: You can’t have everything. There will be compromises to be made, but if you this guide from the get-go, you should be able to minimise trade-offs.

2. Location matters

If you want to keep costs low, stay in between the city centre and your university, advises Lee Ann, who studied law at the University of West of England, Bristol.

Lee Ann stayed in Easton, which is located between UWE and Bristol city centre. Source: Lee Ann Kong

It’s a win-win solution, Lee Ann says as “You can blend into the neighbourhood, instead of just coursemates you see everyday”, in addition to getting dibs on the bus.

“You will almost certainly be guaranteed a seat in the bus, paving the way to a pleasant morning”

3. It’s all about the apps

Gumtree, Zoopla, Movebubble, Rightmove – these are the apps Jia Yi Oh, who recently graduated from the University of Warwick, suggested to prospective students. And for maximum results, use a combination of these apps and cross-check their info between the apps.

4. Locals know best

Talk to your uni, seniors, friends, friends of friends – basically, whoever who has stayed in an area you’re interested in. “From my experience, asking other students who lived in that area before for tips and landlord contacts is useful,” Jia Yi said.

Jia Yi stayed at an on-campus accommodation during her first year before moving off-campus in her 2nd and 3rd years. Source: Jia Yi Oh

They can help to navigate with unfamiliar letting or renting policies so you can minimise the risks of scams or frauds.

5. Views and reviews

Check out your friends’ houses as well. Who knows they may be planning to move out, which means you can move in. Source: Jia Yi Oh.

Always arrange a viewing before placing a deposit. This lets you get a feel of the house and its surrounding environment. As well as reading reviews on a particular place, Jia Yi recommends reading reviews of the letting agents you are dealing with as well.

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