Everything you need to know about accommodation for your exchange
If you have just been selected for your next QTEM exchange, congratulations!
We believe you are as excited as we are to start this new experience, so here are some tips and tricks about your future accommodation.
1) Accommodation type
1. A studio all for yourself
Studios usually consist of a big room with:
bed and/or sofa;
table (to study and dine);
kitchen (some may be equipped);
optional (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.).
Price: €€€ (most expensive option)
A place all for yourself might be the right choice if you prefer having more private time… or, why not, to be the host of all private parties!
2. A room in a student resident
The usual student house consists of many rooms (30+) with:
bed (single or double);
desk (to study and dine);
bathroom and kitchen are usually shared between rooms on the same floor;
common areas (living rooms, dining rooms, study rooms, etc.);
optional (private bathroom, small private kitchen, washing machine area, etc.).
Price: € (cheapest option)
The main advantage of student residences is that you will meet so many people and make a lot of friends!
3. A flat shared with some friends
The usual flat consists of 3-6 rooms (with bed, desk, and closets) and:
1-2 bathrooms (with optional private bathrooms);
fully equipped kitchen;
living room with dining table, sofa, and TV.
Price: €€ (good compromise)
Sharing a flat is a great way to start making friends from the beginning, have dinner together, and chat in front of a glass of wine!
We advise you to get information about the city neighborhoods and the preferred means of transportation (metro, bus, bike, etc.). Then you should be ready to face this dilemma: shall I be close to university or to the nightlife area?
A good trade-off might be to stay in a student neighborhood (with bars and clubs nearby) with an easy connection to the university (e.g. only one bus/metro to take). This way, you can spend no more than 30 minutes commuting in the morning to reach the campus, and you can easily walk back home after a night out!
3) Accommodation platforms
Some universities send accommodation suggestions, for student residence especially, so get a feeling of the neighborhoods and the prices.
Then, conduct your research for announcements online; depending on the city, some websites have more announcements than others, have different policies, and different fees to pay!
Some options are:
1. Facebook groups
Search for keywords like “[name of the city]”, “[name of the university]”, “student”, “rooms”, “accommodation”, “2021/2022”, and join the groups with the most members, which is a good sign of a high number of posts;
Turn on your notifications and contact the host as soon as an apartment you are interested in pops up!
2. Platforms for long-term rent (e.g. Spotahome or Uniplaces, in Europe)
The user-friendly interface will allow you to filter the announcements based on your personal preferences and look at the options in the map, for a more efficient research;
These platforms, as intermediaries, provide you with additional assurance in the contract, and also provide reliable customer support… in exchange for booking fees though!
3. Platforms for short-term rent (e.g. Airbnb)
This option is usually not suitable for long-term stay, but you may ask the owner if the house is available for monthly rental, at a cheaper price.
In any case, you can contact your local QTEM club to reach out to the QTEM club you will be spending your exchange. They will be happy to help and will provide you with some useful information… plus, you will start to get to know some QTEM students!
4) Our suggestion
With this article, we tried to highlight the main aspects to take into account when finding accommodation, and, as you can see, there are quite a few; so, don’t wait until the last minute!
All options make sense, it just depends on what you are looking for!
If you want to hear our opinion, we advise you to share a flat with other QTEM students: you will become a family, and they will probably become your best friends!
If you go to the “Student locator” section of the QTEM portal on https://www.qtem.org/en/portal/student-locator, you can reach out via email to students who will spend their next exchange at your same destination (watch out if sometimes these emails end up in the Spam folder!). Perhaps, you can make a WhatsApp group, get to know each other, and discuss!
We wish you all the best for your next QTEM exchange, we are sure it will be the best experience of your life!