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6 Reasons Why You Should Live With Flatmates

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by Phoebe on 29 Oct 2018

When it comes to moving to a new city, a lot of people initially think about getting their own place, rather than exploring the ins and outs of having a shared accommodation. However, unless you’re sitting on a big monthly housing budget, having a few flatmates in a house share is typically the way to go for most expats.

Finding student accommodation, whether it be in modern art-filled Berlin, bustling Amsterdam or historic Vienna, is usually easier when you’re searching for co-living spaces. In fact, a lot of the housing available to young students and professionals is set up with having roommates in mind.

Plus, you’re already in a city where you’re going to need to acclimate to its culture, its people and perhaps even the language. Wouldn’t it be much more fun to do all of this with a few new friends? AND you can even split expenses on top of it!

So, let's learn more about the benefits of living with flatmates in your new home-away-from-home.

It’s an easy way to make friends

thought-catalog-547018-unsplash Unless you already know a few people in your new city, chances are that you’re going to want to start making new friends as soon as possible. A fantastic way to do this is to find a few other expats who are interested in sharing a flat or a house!

The great news is that there are several forums on Facebook where you can look for others who might be interested in finding roommates. Typically, there will be listings in all different types of cities, or you can post something yourself that lets others know that you are open to a house share. Additionally, you can also search the classified listings in your new city a few months out. Once you connect with others who are interested in finding housing, you can begin to search for accommodation on a trusted housing platform.

Now, once you move in, not only will you have immediate friends in your flatmates, but you’ll be introduced to their circle of friends. Before you know it, you’ll be hosting your own parties, and you’ll have a brand-new support system in your new home. Forget about feeling homesick!

You get to learn about new cultures

friends in a city When you’re studying abroad, or you’ve relocated to start an exciting career as a young professional, one of the amazing facets of this stage in your life is that you’ll be exposed to a multitude of different cultures. But how cool would it be to experience this without even walking out your front door?

When you decide to share housing with flatmates, it’s unlikely that you’ll all be hailing from the same country. Therefore, getting to know one another, as well as learning to appreciate your different backgrounds and cultures, can be a big part of the fun!

Many expats like the idea of relocating to another country alone because it is a wonderful way to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace new things — and new people. Whether one of your flatmates is a fashionista from Milan or a world traveler from Helsinki, you’re going to learn a lot about their cultures and lifestyles while you share accommodation.

You’ll build self-confidence and become aware of your own roots

friends having a beer Of course, learning about someone else’s culture and, in turn, discussing your own can make you realize things about yourself that you’d never thought of before. This is why intermingling with as many people as possible can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the expat experience.

When you share details about your lifestyle, it can be surprising to learn that someone who lives on the other side of the planet can like your favorite dessert, or may be infatuated with the same music. The more you discuss how your cultures are the same, and how they differ, it’s easier to bond as friends and become even better flatmates. These are the kind of relationships that can last for decades!

You'll be saving money

money Of course, one of the more obvious benefits to shared accommodation is that it can be much more friendly on the wallet. Even though you may need to get a larger space, the jump in price will be much less than you might think. Plus, whatever you’ll be paying will be split two, three or maybe even four ways.

However, these savings don’t just stop at your monthly rent payments. You’ll find that there are a number of other ways to save when living with roommates, including:

  • Deposits - When you sign on the dotted line, you’ll need to put down a deposit, even if you won’t actually be moving into your apartment or house for a few months. Typically, your deposit will be the same as one month’s worth of rent. As long as you return the property in the same state it was in when you moved in, it will be returned promptly. So, if your deposit is €650, that looks a lot more manageable split three ways, right?
  • Utilities - Some rental agreements may include the utilities, but many landlords require those renting the property to be responsible for all utilities. The necessities include electricity, gas and water, and almost everyone will need Internet access. Additionally, you may also opt to have satellite television and phone services, especially with the money you’ll be saving by sharing with your roommates.
  • Household Necessities - When you’re tallying up your expenses, which also transcends into the money you can put back by sharing them, don’t forget to add in the necessary things that you’ll need for your apartment or house. Think about items that everyone in the household will use, such as cleaning supplies, paper products, etc.
  • Food - While you may be planning on trying out all of the local foods that you’ve heard so much about, such as the chocolates in Brussels or the pizza in Florence, there will be times when you eat your meals at home. If you’re trying to stick to a tight budget, this is also going to be the most economical way to dine, especially if you’re splitting the cost of the meal ingredients. Stick to shopping at discount grocery stores and fresh markets, and you’ll save even more!
  • Furniture and Decor - Depending on your lease agreement, your shared accommodation may or may not come furnished. If you’ll need to provide your own furniture, you’ll probably bring a few items from home. However, lots of expats purchase furniture once they arrive. Flea markets and secondhand stores are great places to look, and you can split up the price with your roommates, and then resell it to incoming international students once it’s time to return home. Buying a few pieces of decor, such as a painting, curtains or a rug, will also make for a fun shopping excursion as new flatmates. What a great way to get to know one another’s tastes and preferences!

Just remember to include everyone that will be staying in your co-living space on the rental agreement. Some landlords may tell you that you’ll only need to put one person on the lease, but that’s never a good idea — and for several reasons.

At the end of the lease, you’ll want to ensure that not just one person is left with any remaining financial responsibilities, and everyone will want their portion of the deposit returned. Additionally, for all sorts of legal reasons, each person is protected by their inclusion in the rental agreement.

You’ll have someone to share responsibilities with

housework Probably one of the worst things about living alone is knowing that all of the responsibilities rest on your shoulders. However, having roommates means that you can split up the household chores to make sure that everything gets done.

Many people sharing housing decide to rotate the duties so that the same person isn’t always stuck cleaning the bathroom. Making a calendar and putting it on the fridge is a nice way to keep everyone on the same page — literally.

You’ll have someone to rely on in your new city

group_of_friends Ultimately, the best thing about having roommates is knowing that you always have someone at home who can support you, help you make decisions and listen to anything you need to talk over, even at 2 a.m. They will essentially step in and serve as your “out-of-town” family, which will give you the support that you’ll need to be successful!

As you begin to prepare for your move abroad, try to find your roommates before you even begin to look for accommodation, so that you can find the space and amenities that are best-suited for your specific needs. And, a few different people searching through listings is a lot better than just one!

Living with flatmates in a shared accommodation can definitely be one grand adventure. Be sure to embrace it, and make enough memories and friends to last a lifetime!

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by Phoebe on 29 Oct 2018
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