Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Applying for Accommodation

If you're new, please read this post first: Initial Steps to Studying Abroad and/or watch this video: How to Study Abroad: Introduction and Options

3 weeks, Turkey 2012

So you're going to be studying abroad... for a whole year (either in one place, or split between two places) and it's time to think about where you are going to live, how you are going to apply and how you will pay for it all. As usual, I will split this section into Bilateral and ISEP and for extra information, I will add my own personal experience at the bottom. The posts will also be split up by pictures of past places I have lived/stayed in to add a little extra insight into what travel life is like on a day-to-day basis - enjoy.

2 months, Italy 2013


As with everything to do with the Bilateral Exchange option, the accommodation available and how you go about applying/paying for it varies according to where you are going to be studying. My only tips therefore are to look at this as early as possible and to complete the following steps:

  1. Work out what your budget is (E.g. what can you afford to pay out weekly, monthly, termly, yearly for your accommodation and still have enough money left for food, travel and entertainment?)
  2. Work out what is important to you (E.g. single room, roommate, bills included etc.)
  3. What can you therefore afford in the host country? As in; what are your accommodation options according to what you want and what is available in the area. 
  4. How will you pay for this accommodation? (E.g. where is the money coming from?)
  5. When will you need to pay for this accommodation? (E.g. is there a deposit? Is is paid monthly or termly? Will you have to pay in £, $ or something else?)
  6. Who is responsible for your accommodation? (E.g. is it owned by the host university or a private landlord? - what are the risks regarding this?
  7. Have any previous students gone down this accommodation route? (This might help you either organise it or be prepared properly for your arrival).

Please also keep in mind that Student Finance is available as normal to help you with your accommodation fees, e.g. through a maintenance loan, so try to make sure that you can pay your rent once this has come through and not before. This will save you a hell of a lot of stress!

2 weeks, Switzerland 2013


The ISEP Exchange accommodation option however is similar to that of first year at the University of Chester. At the moment, you pay £4,700 to the University of Chester for both accommodation and food.

This means that, when you get to your host institution, you are already placed into assigned accommodation and you will have a set amount of food per week. This does however vary from place to place so please make sure that you research what exactly you get from your chosen host institution before applying there. For a detailed account of my experience, read the next section carefully. 

1 night, Noosa, Australia 2013

My Own Experience

Prior to Application Submission
Whilst researching my different options and compiling my preference list, I researched the accommodation available at each place that I was interested in.

Here is the information I came across on the ISEP website for a few of the sites I was interested in:

  • Northern Arizona University - 
    "Students are housed in double-occupancy rooms in one of the residence halls located on campus. A single room may be available upon student request (based on availability) but an extra charge will apply. Single room availability is limited. Students receive a meal plan for 19 meals per week at the university’s dining halls."

  • Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - 
    "Students are housed on campus in double occupancy rooms and receive a full meal plan. Married students can be accommodated in on-campus apartments, but are responsible for any additional expenses. Most students will be housed on the Global community floor, Neely Hall on East Campus."

  • University of North Texas - 
    "ISEP students are housed in double-occupancy residence hall rooms in Standard Halls on campus and receive a meal plan for 20 meals per week."

  • Westminster College, Utah - 
    "Undergraduate students are housed in apartment-style (single) rooms in residence halls on-campus. Graduate students live in a house or double apartment adjacent to campus. Students receive a plan for 21 meals per week at the college’s dining hall."

Something to take note of; I noticed that some Universities offered things like: an american roommate, an international house, a host family, a shared flat, dorm rooms etc. so please make sure that you understand what these things mean and make sure that you would be comfortable living like that for an entire year. This could potentially make or break your day-to-day life so consider your options carefully.

Another difference is that some universities have far more information available on the ISEP website than others. Please therefore take a look at each university's actual website as well thus getting a better understanding of what is available.

2 nights, Whitsundays, Australia 2013

On Acceptance of Host Institution
A few days after I accepted my place at NAU, they emailed me explaining how to go about specifically applying to their accommodation. They explained that although it was paid for by ISEP I did not get automatically placed and I still needed to apply in the same way as every student.

Simply put, I followed the instructions given to me and so should you. Saying that however, I did inquire about a few things that they didn't seem to offer, such as non-international housing. For me, I don't want to live in an international house if I am going to America, I want to live in the accommodation that the standard American students live in too. This comes from having done the whole International-living thing during my Gap Year and thus only meeting 3 Australians whilst in Australia. I don't really want a repeat of this whilst at NAU. 

2 nights, Magnetic Island, Australia 2013

Awaiting the Results
I am thus still waiting on my accommodation confirmation even though other international NAU students I have spoken to have already been accepted into the I-House. This kind of makes me hope that I have been placed else-where but I guess only time will tell!

3 weeks, Cairns, Australia 2013

So, to recap, please make sure that no matter where you go or where you live that it is within your budget and that it is a place you could be happy at for an extended period of time. If you succeed in these two elements, your day-to-day life will be much more comfortable than if you don't.

Hope that helps,

Lucy xxo

3 nights, Berlin 2012
The next post in the series: Coming Soon!


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