Accommodation on your year abroad… pay a-tent-tion

So, first things first: congrats on getting accepted to do your year abroad! Now it may seem daunting moving away from here, but actually, it’s not THAT different from moving out of home and coming to Sheffield.

To help you along though, here’s my 5 top tips for getting settled and finding a place to stay while you have the best year of your life

1 – Prioritise: what do YOU want. Everyone’s different, and every uni is different. If you want to be catered for and on campus, this should be your main priority. Equally, if you want the independence (and the savings) of doing it yourself, then look at self-catered.

Alternatively, you may feel finished with endcliffe, and want to move into a house. If so, look on Facebook and the internet for groups of uni students to share with. I can’t stress it enough: your year is about you. Do as you wish.

2 – Again, sounds obvious, but do your research. Ask past students who’ve been, look online, make the most of the resources available to you. It really will help. What’s on offer, how much is it, can you afford it, how near is it to uni/shops, the list goes on.

It comes down to your priorities (again). It’s not as scary as you thought – just think about what you considered when you came to Sheffield. Why did/didn’t you choose Allen Court? Did the Ridge really appeal to you THAT much?

In fact, it’s also worth considering what you want out of your year in terms of lifestyle: location and the people around you will influence this. If you’re applying for uni accommodation (which I’d recommend, at least for the first session), then consider whether a particular place has a reputation for being rowdy/quiet/drinks/not/full of internationals/mature students etc.

However, remember that your access to stuff will change your experience. I went to Australia, and wanted a beach lifestyle. I was lucky: my uni (Wollongong) offered an accommodation guarantee, so I knew I could meet people in the uni housing, which was offered in different places. I wanted a beach lifestyle, so choosing city centre wasn’t a major attraction to me. But, because I also wanted to meet as many people as possible, while saving money for travel, I went for the cheapest in Kooloobong, as I knew I could easily get to the beach whenever I wanted with the free bus, but was really near the uni, and had shared accom with over 500 others (many of whom were international students)

3 – If you’re going private, id advise a letting agent. Why? It gives you some security. By this, I mean that some landlords are terrible. At least with a letting agent, there’s someone to hold them accountable, so that you don’t spend all your time at ‘home’ living in Harry Potter’s stairway cupboard.

4 – Be open to advice: opinions of those who’ve been are great, they give a far better insight into what you’ll do and where you’ll go than any uni prospectus or online stats will. The personal touch is what makes your year, so ask us!

5 – You’re not alone. In fact, you’re one of many. There’s loads of international students out there: all of them are going through the same process as you. There’s even some from Sheffield (probably). It’s alright to feel apprehensive, and if you think you might get homesick, consider going with those from here for familiarity. While this isn’t what I went for, as I wanted to get to know people there and get involved, it’s worth considering if you think you’ll miss here a lot.

6 – (Bonus) – make friends with everyone! While you may have swerved all the official freshers activities here, nursing a quad vod hangover with a friery and Netflix instead, I’d advise doing them, wherever you go (be it a hike, some team building, or even some kind of speed dating thing. It’s a great way to get involved and immerse yourself in whatever culture you’re set to experience. You’ll also get to meet loads of people – be they those running them, or people like you, who don’t know anyone, so go to meet others. So yeah, befriend everyone: Internationals and locals alike.

Internationals will be more down forย  travelling around the country you live in, and they start off not knowing anyone (like you). So, make friends with them – buy them coffee, play never have I ever, whatever gets the bond going.

But, befriend locals too: they’ll more than not be open to showing you their hometown, their family, and their friendship groups, which will help you feel integrated and a part of it all.Not only this, they’re also the ones with cars (and that means ROADTRIPS and exploring). Don’t get me wrong you can do this with internationals, but locals know the best spots, and it can make it heaps cheaper. What else could you want?

To be honest, it’s hard to cover accommodation (which is already broad) in a blog post. Especially when I’m trying to make it so general and applicable. So, and I can’t stress this enough: ASK. While you can get a good amount of info from the uni itself, if you can find first-hand experience and the direct answers to the questions you want answered, then ask those who’ve been. It really is the best way to find out about what goes on at the uni you’re going to, and how (and where) to live to get the best out of it.

Also, any questions about Wollongong, or KB, or private accommodation (which I did second session with mates I met through uni to save even more for travelling) then drop me a message ๐Ÿ™‚

Henry

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