This blog is courtesy of our friends at HousingAnywhere.com, a global housing platform that helps students find housing in Europe (and beyond):
We all know the many costs involved with being a student. The largest one, by far, is housing. This is even more true when you move abroad to be a student.
As a foreigner, you can easily feel overwhelmed by having to make decisions in a context you know nothing about. This is why we’ve put together a list of smart tips on how to search for housing in Europe:
- Pick your neighborhood carefully: Europe is great because it’s so small. There really isn’t such a thing as being far from the city center. Besides, a city center is never where you want to be! They are very busy, full of tourists and overpriced–areas not appropriate for students at all. Start your search by finding out what different neighborhoods have to offer. Some may look less attractive than others, but those will have cheaper accommodation. They will also offer cheaper alternatives for daily expenses (for example, markets instead of supermarkets, small and local cafes and restaurants instead of chains).
- Move outside the city: Alternatively, you can just live outside the city. As we just explained, you don’t need to live in the city center to enjoy European cities (and the locals know this). That’s why the infrastructure of cities is made so that people who live right outside them can easily come in and out of them with direct trains to the main stations in the city. Students might say this is inconvenient to go out, but think about the fact that you’re going to make friends and will be able to stay with friends as needed. If you’re planning on doing this, remember it’s important to check the price of commuting every day first and see if it’s really worth it. As students, you’ll be granted a discount upon showing your discount card.
- Look for spaces, not rooms: This is especially good for people looking for long-term accommodation. What do we mean by spaces instead of rooms? We mean spaces in homes that are not officially rooms, but can be furnished like one. Nowadays there are so many brands like Ikea, Hema as well as resell platforms and Facebook groups which offer the possibility to furnish your home for almost nothing. Therefore, it’s worth looking for unfurnished spaces, as those will cost a lot less than normal housing and will have received much less interest–meaning higher chances of actually getting the space, and you’ll be able to decorate it your own way. How fun!
- Share a flat: This will not only reduce your costs of housing and day-to-day expenses, but it will also facilitate your integration. You’ll likely be mixed up with people your own age who have lived in your new city for a while and who will be able to help you get the hang of things.
The key is starting your search in advance, because this is the best way to increase your chances of finding something you like. The more you wait, the more compromises you will have to make. Think about it: The earlier you find your housing the earlier you can start planning the rest of your time abroad, researching local facilities, transport, weekend getaways, and so much more (so that when the time comes, all you have to do is enjoy!).