Part two – The Housing Debate

Halls  v Rented Accomodation

 

It is one of the most complexed choices each exchange student must make but I feel I am in one of the best situations to judge as I have had an experience of both as I spent 3 nights in temporary accomodation in halls of residence and this is my 3rd night in my new permanent home.

I moved into St. Leo’s for 3 nights whilst waiting to move in to the house I had found through the UQ rentals website because I felt I needed my own space and I was spending most days at uni anyway (so much so that I used up my monthly internet allowance). I was remarkably impressed by the standard of residential accomodation from past experience of halls in Scotland. The rooms were fine with well kept toilet and shower facilities down the corridor. The amenities were superb – there was a gym, tennis courts, basketball courts, pool tables and common area. The food, in particular, was outstanding with three healthy meals with various options provided every day. The halls are not without disadvantages, most notably price on the yearly basis. I found that on first look I was staggered by the price and so that made private housing a more suitable alternative. I  found meal times were unrealistic as dinner was served between 5 and 6 and then there was no food or cooking facilities available until 7 the next morning. This meant people coming in late for dinner would often have to make their own alternatives or go without. In my opinion the private accoomodation I have arranged is much more suitable. I have my own room with ensuite and a pool and bbq for $190 per week. This may seem expensive but given the standard of the apartment and location it is fair. You can find cheaper alternatives further away from uni but I am literally 300 m away and the price is much cheaper than that of halls. Many people argue there is a better social network within halls. I cannot really comment as when I arrived it was fairly empty as many of the students had not yet returned for the semester but I find living in an house has actually provided a good social group as well. I live with two danish guys (and have met a number of danes), a singaporean and a chinese guy. People are always friendly and it is so close to halls in any case I have met people from halls around campus as well. Therefore my advice regarding housing is to decide what you want and what you need and use the options provided by the university whether it is applying to halls or using the rentals database. After all it does determine where you will be living for the next few months at least so it is an important decision and one that shouldn’t be rushed.

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