Back to school tips & tricks from HousingAnywhere


Aug 15 • 3 minute read

With a new academic year on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how to rock the semester ahead and capitalise on the opportunities it presents. You’ll also want to avoid some of the pitfalls of starting out which can land you in stressful situations down the line. Based on the wisdom of helping thousands of students settle into their new school environment, here are our tips and tricks for a successful launch to your 2018/19 university career!

Dive into your orientation week

Most universities and colleges host some form of orientation week to ring in the new semester. This can include everything from introduction sessions to your courses to club nights where you can dance the night away with classmates new and old. Check the websites and Facebook pages of your university, student union or local ESN section to find out what activities are on offer for you - even if you’re interning and not studying, many events might be open to you. Do the research now, as some orientation weeks require tickets which sell out far in advance.

Factor books into your budget

Don’t be too busy partying to remember that at some point in the semester you’ll be hitting the books. It’s easy to forget that some of your courses will require you to have access to textbooks or other academic literature. While a lot of this will be accessible digitally, if you’re a person that appreciates having a book in front of you, remember to keep space in your start-up budget for these materials. They can be surprisingly expensive and the cost always comes as a surprise! Check secondhand bookstores on campus or Amazon to keep costs down.

Find accommodation now. No, really!

If you haven’t already secured a roof over your head for the upcoming semester, now’s the time to get this one checked off your list. Our research shows that the best places are typically snapped up 2-3 months before the semester begins, so it’s best to start your search early. Always use a trusted platform for your accommodation search, as housing scams have been on the rise in recent years. lets you search for and book accommodation in more than 400 cities worldwide, so it’s a good place to start!

Decorate with upcycling and sharing

Is your new place unfurnished, or are is your room just missing some key things to make you feel at home? You can avoid that major IKEA trip by checking out free and for sale Facebook groups or university forums to find that chair or food processor to complete your place. This way, you’ll save money and avoid waste!

Find out what services your university has to offer

Most students are only aware of a fraction or the services on offer on campus. Make this year the one where you make the most of everything available to you! Free academic support? Mental health services? Employability training? Do some digging on websites or, if you have one, ask your adviser or studies what cool services you might be missing out on. What have you got to lose?

Sign up for new sports or organisations (you can always ditch them later!)

New semester, new you! I’m sure you have a long mental list somewhere of all the things you’d like to try your hand at. Let me tell you - university is the time to do it. You might not have that kind of time and control over your own schedule again (never mind the energy) until you retire, so seize the day!

Lots of universities host fairs where you can sign up or get more information about student associations and sports clubs. We all know you’ll need stress-busting activities to look forward to as the academic pressure mounts over the year, so go for it and join that rowing team or write for the student magazine.

Mark the important dates in your calendar now

We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling when all your deadlines happen at once and you find yourself drinking five coffees in a row in the library to get through your workload. This usually happens when you haven’t planned sufficiently, so take the opportunity now before the work begins to mark important dates in your calendar. This way, you can portion up your workload week by week and get the results you want while maintaining your sanity!

Remember to also check when your classes or exams finish, so you can start investigating the most cost-effective way to get home for Christmas. Flights and train costs can increase exponentially during the festive period so advance planning will let you stay ahead of the game!

Find more tips and insights on all things student and international in our HousingAnywhere community section. We’ve been there, and we want to make starting out far from home more simple and accessible.

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