Five tips to help you find a great apartment when studying abroad

 In Blog

Wether you are studying abroad, moving for work, or just wanting to travel the word, finding accommodation can be quite a challenge no matter where you go.

Take it from me, after moving to Italy, it was nearly impossible for me to find the right kind of apartment. Luckily I had several friends to help me along and give me some very good tips that I will now pass on. These are good tips to follow either you are moving to Italy, China, Canada, really anywhere in the world. So here we go, here are five tips to finding good accommodation when moving/staying long term in a different country. These tips are especially helpful if you have your eye set on the beautiful, eternal city of Rome.

1. Be wary of shared apartments.

Ok if you are moving with someone you know really well and are ok living with, that’s all fine and dandy. BUT if you are moving into an apartment that already has someone living there, proceed with caution. There are many horror stories that revolve around room mates, and if you are not good with confrontation, you should probably make sure you know the person you are moving in with quite well. If you don’t believe me check out this Facebook page (its in Italian so make sure you have a translator handy; anyway pics speak for themselves!).

2. If they don’t make you sign a contract, you better not start unpacking.

One thing you should always watch out for is if the land lord doesn’t make you sign a contract. Its one red flag that you may miss because, you know, sweet, you have a cool landlord, they don’t make you sign anything, and if they like you they might make you pay less 😉 right? NO It’s not cool, grab your bags and head back to the hotel my friend because that is one move you will seriously regret. You’re right, you might get a lower rent, but the downsides are waaaaaay more detrimental if your relationship with them goes south. You won’t have any legal protection should your landlord choose to raise your rent, or kick you out altogether. You can complain that their isn’t any heating or there is mold covering the wall, but if they don’t want to fix it, they don’t have to. Basically, DO NOT DO IT.

3. Don’t move into the city center unless you make serious mula.

Unless you are moving to a small town somewhere out in the country, this is advice for literally anywhere you go. Especially big, old city like Rome or Paris. If you move into the city center, the rent is going to clean out your bank account faster then you can say “holy crap”. Unless you have a lot of money to spend, in which case have fun, but know that the city centers are pretty busy even into the wee hours of the night. They are the hubbub of activity and usually near the places that tourist wants to visit. AAAnd you might hear some drunk university study abroad that got lost on their way home from the bar. Though to be fair, the city center often has a great view of beautiful monuments that you wouldn’t see if you moved to the outskirts.

4. But also don’t move too far away from the city center.

Yes i know its a bit confusing since I just stated not to move to the city center. But moving too far from it is also another problem you want to avoid. One reason is that the apartments that are far away from the center may be quite old and so they don’t have things like heating or air conditioning (and if you are moving to Italy, air conditioning is something you are REALLY going to want come summer time.) Another problem is that the public transportation system could get worse the farther you are from the center. When it already takes you a while to get somewhere you don’t want to add an extra 20-30 minutes because you live in a remote part of town, although countries like Spain and Germany are great with transportation so this one really depends on where you are moving too.

5. Try to find a housing agency like Spotahome.

I’ve found that the best way to find a home is by using a housing agency like Spotahome. They are great for finding a place that fits exactly to your needs. They also have great customer service help, and while exploring their website, a little help chat will pop up on your screen and ask you if there is anything you need help with. They are great for pinpointing exactly what you want out of an apartment and finding one that is best suited for you. You can choose how long you would like to stay for, what bills should be included, what you want to be allowed (like if you want to bring Fido or Lassie for example), If it should be for students versus professionals, as well as how much you want to pay for rent each month.

And there you have it folks! Those are my five main tips that you should keep in mind when finding the perfect apartment for you! There are many more things that you obviously need to think about so I didnt want to overload your brain with tips. But just a few little things you should also keep in mind: always check the signal that your phone gets at the new place (very important!), and make sure to make some friends as soon as possible. It always good to have friend who have your back if you don’t speak the language of the country you are going to (especially in a place like Rome!).

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