As an undergraduate, or graduate, finding housing can be a worrisome task. International students, especially first year international students, have an even more difficult time. Coming to a completely foreign area, many not speaking or reading English very well, makes things difficult. On top of that, most schools no longer can guarantee that first year students have a place on campus. Here are some things to consider as an international student when looking for housing:
- Don’t put it all on yourself!
If you’re traveling to campus alone, use any resource you can find to find somebody to help you. There are all sorts of resources available to help international students find a place, and find a roommate that will fit well with them. You can check out our roommates section here. Many of these, including our roommates feature, allow students to connect via Facebook so they can learn about someone they’re considering living with before they commit to meet them. Most of all, know that it is always easier to find a good place with help. Don’t be afraid to use it, you won’t regret it.
- Don’t Rush
Landlords can sometimes be pushy people. Know that this is actually a pretty big decision for you, and it will affect the next year of your life. You need to find the right pad that fits you. There are all sorts of places to consider, and it all depends on what YOU like. If you want to be surrounded by lots of new people, look for a big complex (like this one – for example). A place like that will allow you to make lots of new friends in a short manner, and will likely have lots of fun amenities. But if you’re more interested in a personal area, try looking for a house or small apartment. You’re likely to get closer to campus with one of these, making walking to class and throughout campus easier. Take your time, consider all options, and talk to landlords multiple times. You want to be sure that you’re dealing with someone who will give you a positive experience over the next year, not the other way around.
- Proximity to campus is important!
You’re new to this area. You don’t know where to live and where not to live. There may be neighborhoods or areas to avoid. There may be areas that are sought after highly. Most likely, you’re unaware completely. When you’re searching online for a place to live, know that proximity is important. Sometimes the schools will point you in the direction of a website that displays all rentals in the city. You don’t want that. It will end up being a waste of your time trying to figure out which ones are student rentals and which ones are not. Try your best to learn about the areas of campus ahead of time (see our blog on neighborhoods in Bloomington) so that you make the right decision. Generally speaking, you’re better off looking closer to campus. It’ll make your life easier, that’s for sure.
If you’re an international student, and you’re looking for a place, use these tips to make your search as easy as possible. Take your time, think a lot, use every resource you can. The next time you look, it will only become easier. Need more help? Reach out to us directly for one on one assistance! Email us here! Best of luck!