Deciding where to live during the period of your studies is no easy task. Costs, locations, roommates – these are some of the biggest considerations when choosing between university and private residence. But which type of accommodation is the best for you? Let’s find out!
For starters, you should think about your previous experience as a Bachelor student. This will allow you to easily cross out any drawbacks that disrupted your study aims and normal way of life. For example, you might have found out that you benefit from a cozier learning environment and more private space. This is a clear indication that you should check up your opportunities for private accommodation. Or maybe you have enjoyed more social interactions and a dynamic lifestyle as in a student dormitory?
Think about your university location and the distance to your residence. What is your favorite way to get around the city - public transportation, walking, biking or driving? Is it convenient to go to school this way from the place that you are about to rent? How much time would you spent travelling? And how much would that cost you? Have in mind that you might loose motivation to go to lectures if that's too far...
Dormitories are often conveniently located within short walking distance to your university, which is one of their biggest advantages. In some countries there is even a special free bus for students who were sent to halls of residence too far away from the study locations!
However, in some big cities universities are located in some neighborhoods that are far from the city centre and study campuses as well. In these cases you have to make some kind of a compromise - either be close to the center or to the university. Of course, the next aspects will also play a role in your decision, so let's talk about the money next...
On the one hand, private apartments offer more comfort, space and solitude. Unfortunately, they might also cost a lot. Besides the rent, you might have also other expenses to cover, depending on the contract. Such are, for example, the utilities and even the fines in case you decide to leave early or pay too late. Of course, you can always share an apartment with friends and lower your monthly bills.
University accommodation, on the other hand, is much cheaper or sometimes - even included as a cost in the tuition fees. In some cases students are required to pay for the used water and electricity.
However, the costs rely a lot in the different cities and countries. For a better orientation, we recommend you to gather more information about the student life at the place you chose for your Masters here.
Most universities have an on-campus or specially built low-priced canteen for students with full lunch and dinner courses. In most dormitories there are shared kitchen for couple of rooms or a bigger one for a whole floor, so that you can rely on the local supermarkets and personally cooked meals a.k.a. noodles. Students on private accommodation can take advantage of the university canteen for lunch, but not of the dormitory one (if there is such). However, in your own kitchen you will have much more space and comfort to cook. Watch out for hungry roommates!
University residence rooms are usually single and in rare cases - shared. Although, you will need to share kitchen, bathroom and/or WC. They are standardly equipped with a bed and a desk, and some basic kitchen facilities. For this reason, students have to bring comfort to their room by themselves and provide additional electrical devises and sometimes furniture. As for private flats – they are fit with different levels of comfortability in accordance to the price you are paying.
It is well known that dormitory rooms are limited and require a lot of paperwork and even additional requirements in order to register for one. For example, some universities expect good admission test results from their students and a good overall score level during the study period. At some universities dormitories, are granted 3 months after registration. Other campuses are quite small and, many end up without residence due to huge flows of candidates and course desirability. Finding a place highly depends on the city/town where you study - in some big cities this is an extremely hard task, even if you are looking for a flat or room, being prepared to pay a higher rent. Private landlords usually require a deposit and your signature on a rental document allowing you immediately to step into your new apartment.
No matter which option you chose - on-campus or off-campus - it't highly possible that you won't be perfectly satisfied by it - especially at the beginning. But don't let this bother you too much as you always have the possibility to change the place, but also - you might like it more with the time when you get used to it.