As an international student, you typically have two choices for accommodation when studying in England or anywhere in the United Kingdom: residence halls and shared houses. Here are seven things to consider when deciding on either choice of accommodation:
1) Friendship. Residence halls offer the opportunity to meet lots of new people and make friends quickly. Shared houses offer the benefit of deepening the friendships you have made. For this reason, many first year students choose to stay in residence halls, while second and third year students typically move out into shared houses.
2) Cost. Residence halls cost more per semester than shared houses. Also, many residence halls require that you sign up and pay for a meal program. Shared housing is cheaper, but you must continue paying rent over the summer.
3) Space. With residence halls, the rooms are usually smaller. You may also have to put up with a roommate, which drastically reduces your chances of privacy. With a shared house, you have a lot more space and no roommate (unless you want one).
4) Commute. If you live in a residence hall, your commute may involve a quick walk across campus. A shared house may require a car, train, or bus in order to get you to your classes.
5) Security. A residence hall has locked doors and other security measures to keep you and your belongings safe. A house may have security features, but you will have to make sure. You may need to take additional protective measures, like installing a combination lock on your room door.
6) Roommates/Housemates. When you live in a residence hall, you typically have a roommate who stays in your room for either the semester or the year. Should the two of you not get along, you always have the option of moving out the following semester. With housemates, you may have to wait until the end of your contract before you can move.
7) Maintenance. When you live in a residence hall, maintenance and repair of house fixtures is not your concern. In a shared house, everyone needs to help with maintenance, and even pay out of pocket for repairs.
These are just some facts to keep in mind when considering living in either a residence hall or shared house. By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of either option, you will be better prepared to make the right choice.