Choosing where to live while you study can be a complex matter. It is especially tricky if you’re new to the city where you’ll be studying. The options can be dazzling – and all you want to do is move your stuff in and get on with learning and having a great time!
There are lots of alternatives on offer, all with their pros and cons – so let’s take a look at what’s out there.
Student halls and dorms
The Harry Potter option – although with a bit less magic and a bit more socializing! Halls can be a good, affordable option for the first year, as you’re thrown into a housing situation with a group of more or less random people who are starting out just like you. They’ll also be keen to make friends and learn from each other about living away from home.
But ask a sophomore student why they don't live in halls anymore, and you'll soon hear why it's not for everyone. Sharing on such a large scale can be difficult, especially with a bunch of people who may be used to their parents cleaning up after them! Privacy is at a minimum, disturbances are common, and – partly because it is temporary – it never feels quite as homely as other options.
In a fraternity/sorority house
Ah, the Animal House option. While it needn’t be as crazy as the movies, a frat or sorority house can be a lot of fun. You may not meet as many new faces as you would in halls, but you’ll become much closer to those you share with – as long as you get along.
So it’s a bit more of a family affair than a dorm. But you may notice greater scrutiny on the way you behave, and it’s harder to concentrate on your studies if everyone’s coaxing you to party. Some people start to feel their individuality is compromised as they become defined by the house in which they live.
Rental property with fellow students
The Young Ones option. Although you may be able to find potential housemates on social media or through your student union before you start, house rentals are most common after the first year once everyone has a chance to figure out who they get along with. Sharing with a handful of friends can work out more cheaply for everyone, and also feels a bit more ‘grown-up’ – if that’s what you want!
Problems tend to arise only once the honeymoon period is over. Colleagues that are great company in class or in the pub can prove to have domestic habits or quirks that make life difficult at home. These can range from failing to do the washing up, to arguing about or neglecting to pay bills, to expecting you to be far more ‘available' than you want – or not being as sociable as you’d like them to be.
On your own
The, uh… Amelie option? Well, there are a couple of reasons why you don’t see many movies about students living alone. On the one hand, living by yourself is relatively expensive, so it’s not terribly common – especially among undergraduates. And it’s also not as sociable: you’re cooking for one, spending the evenings alone, and solving problems by yourself – not much fun in the movies or in real life!
But for introverts, this level of control is ideal. If you’re prepared to make compromises elsewhere in your budget, you get to choose where you live and how you live. And you have the kitchen and bathroom to yourself.
There is one final option: Youniq is a market leader in student housing in over 10 European cities and has now arrived in Madrid. Their rooms and services provide most of the ‘pros’ mentioned in the previous options – without the cons.
Youniq’s rooms are affordable and all-inclusive. This inclusivity removes the stress and expense of sorting out bills and meals, and also covers the multitude of facilities that you’ll find under that one roof: a gym, sports court, and outdoor pool; catering and cleaning services; and the security and accessibility you would expect.
You’ll get to meet plenty of new people. But with your own fully-furnished room, mini-kitchen, and bathroom, you can socialize on your own terms. Shared study rooms and a TV lounge give you the option to meet your new friends for quiet time as well as parties, while the residence’s location in Madrid’s privileged Ciudad Universitaria area (complete with excellent transport connections) make going out a treat, too.
Now you’ve seen the options, perhaps finding somewhere nice to live while you study in Madrid doesn’t seem so complex after all...