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student accommodation advice

On or Off Campus? University Accommodation Advice

May 31, 2016

You’ve spent hours comparing university courses, you’ve identified the most prestigious institutions, and you’ve researched different countries, towns and cities to find the perfect location for you. Once you’ve decided on your course, university and destination, it’s time to find somewhere to live.\r\n\r\nWith different types of accommodation having their strengths and weaknesses, deciding whether to live on or off campus can be extremely challenging. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you make the decision.\r\n

The pros and cons of living on campus

\r\nMost universities provide first year and international students with university halls of residence or purpose-built houses. Living in this type of accommodation can really help you make new friends and learn about your university’s culture and traditions. On campus accommodation for international students is usually guaranteed, so you’re sure to find somewhere to live.\r\n

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  • Perfect for socialising
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\r\nLiving in university owned accommodation can be a great way of making friends and immersing yourself in university life. You’ll be in the heart of the university and surrounded by likeminded students. Some universities have specially designed international student housing, allowing you to meet people from all over the world.\r\n

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  • Little to no commute
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\r\nLiving on campus means you’re likely to have a short (or non-existent) commute to your classes each day. Lectures, seminars, meetings, facilities and events will be right on your doorstep, saving you both time and money on your journey to university each day.\r\n

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  • Potential to save money on living costs
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\r\nCampus accommodation tends to be more expensive than off campus housing but you may be able to save money elsewhere. You’re unlikely to spend a lot of money on transport and, if you opt for catered accommodation, you’ll get free meals from the campus canteen.\r\n\r\nYou may also be able to save money on essential items for your home by sharing with your housemates. Rather than buying an iron, kettle, toaster, and lots of pots and pans for yourself, you could go shopping with your new housemates and split the bill between you. You never know, some of your housemates may have these items already, saving you even more money.\r\n

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  • You may not have much living space
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\r\nThe structure of your university accommodation will largely depend on the country you visit. In the US, for example, it’s typical for students to have a roommate. For those who treasure their own space and privacy, sharing a room could take a while to get used to. In other parts of the world, such as the UK, students tend to get a bedroom to themselves but often share kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Before applying for a place to live, contact the university to find out how much space, freedom and privacy you get for your money.\r\n\r\n

The advantages and disadvantages of living off campus

\r\nIf you like the idea of being able to escape from the university grounds at the end of the day or you’d rather not share your bathroom with fellow students, living off campus may be preferable. \r\n

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  • Often more affordable than on campus accommodation
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\r\nLiving off campus can often be more affordable than living right at the heart of the action. You may be able to find affordable accommodation that costs less than university owned halls, particularly if you rent somewhere further away from university. \r\n\r\nHowever, be sure to weigh up commuting costs before sending off an application. If it’s going to cost you £100 on public transport each month and several hours of your time, living closer to university may be more productive and cost effective. \r\n\r\nYou may also save money due to less temptation to spend. When living on campus, you’re likely to be invited to so many events and parties that saying ‘yes’ to them all could work out expensive. \r\n

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  • You’ll have more space
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\r\nPrivately owned accommodation tends to be bigger than halls and flats provided by university. You may be able to find somewhere with a bigger bedroom, a larger living room, and perhaps even an en-suite bathroom. Off campus accommodation provides you with more flexibility and choice. You may also have more freedom to alter your living space, but be sure to check with your landlord before putting pictures up or making any alterations. \r\n

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  • Easily escape from city life
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\r\nIf you attend a city based university, off campus accommodation will give you the opportunity to escape from busy city life and surround yourself with green spaces. After a day of lectures you’ll be able to go for a walk in the park or perhaps study from the comfort of your garden. \r\n\r\nWhether you choose to live on campus or outside of the university’s grounds, be sure to research your options thoroughly to find out exactly what you’ll get for your money. If you’d like to learn more about international student accommodation, please get in touch with the team at IEC Abroad. \r\n\r\nWhether you choose to study in the UK, the USA, Australia, or another part of the world, we can help you find the perfect university, course, and accommodation for you.