Immigration. Travel. Living.

Tips to finding student accommodation in New York

After choosing a university in New York, USA, it is very important to decide where you will live. A student needs to find the perfect accommodation place and price that fits his/her budget. The choice where to live is up to a student. He/she may want to live with other international students, or live with Americans and explore the local culture and improve your language skills.

To help you decide on your accommodation search, we have prepared some tips for you.

Tip #1. Choose which student accommodation option suits you best

There are many options in New York: from a shared room with other students in a university dormitory to a private apartment. The choice of the type of accommodation usually depends on your budget and the availability of rooms. A lot of international students choose the social atmosphere of shared housing in order to make new friends in a new city. However you can communicate with others both in the university dormitory, and in an apartment rented with other people, and even if you decide to live alone.

University dormitories

The easiest way to find accommodation for an international student in New York is to reserve a place in a university dormitory directly through the university and live on campus. Typically, in this case, you will be sharing a room with someone else and eating in the dining rooms. The disadvantage of it is that university dormitories are usually very noisy and crowded. Freshmen like this most of all. Plus, it gives you an unforgettable experience of living on a traditional American college campus.

A student can apply for a place in the hostel directly on the university website. To do this, he/she will need to indicate the desired conditions: with or without a dining room, with a shared or separate bathroom, in mixed dormitories or for representatives of only your gender. The university should try to satisfy your wishes regarding dormitory, location, or roommates.

Private accommodation

Living in an apartment in New York City with fellow students is a great choice if you want to be with your fellow students but have more independence than at a university dormitory. You will get the privacy of your bedroom and common space – a kitchen, bathroom, and living room that you will share with your flatmates. If you want even more private space, and your budget allows it, you can find an apartment just for yourself.

Typically, private housing is located off-campus in a student-friendly area of ​​the city, which provides additional infrastructure and entertainment options. However, it is better to rent accommodation not too far from the university so that you can easily get there on foot, by bike or public transport.

Most New York universities have a coordinator position that provides international students with information about off-campus housing. Such a coordinator should be the first person, with whom you will contact when looking for housing. It is also worth asking him/her about the safety of different areas, and how much the utilities will cost. Sometimes the university website has a page with links to available rooms in shared student apartments.

Tip#2. Explore the area and find the best location for you

Before booking a room in New York, explore the area using Google Maps and Street View. Find out what student hotspots, restaurants, venues and amenities are nearby and decide if they are appropriate for you. It is also worth doing an online survey of the area to ensure that it is safe and student-friendly. Your college can help you with this. If you need to use public transport, make sure you have it.

Tip#3. Choose the price that suits you

Housing costs are the biggest expense at a university. It is very important to make the right decision, whether you decide to save money and rent a room further from the city center or rent a separate apartment.The cheapest option is a place in a dorm room, but by saving on rent in this way, you will have to give up privacy. A good option is accommodation with meals, because  it will help you to save money.

It is normal for New York City students to share a room with other students, so don’t worry if your budget allows you to do just that.

Tip#4. Imagine the ideal and proceed from it

With whom you will live during your university years will determine how easy these years will be for you. If you want to be in an atmosphere full of communication, you need to indicate this when looking for a place of accomodation. It is recommended for you to imagine how you want to see your life outside of first, and then proceed from that vision.

To find out what kind of atmosphere and level of communication prevails where you intend to settle, you need to do a little online research. Decide for yourself whether you want to live with Americans or with other international students. This also needs to be mentioned when searching and filling out an application.

Tip#5. Important details about student living in New York

  • You will need to pay a deposit for the rent of the new home. Usually it is the cost of a month or six weeks of rent. This amount will be refunded to you when you leave if the condition of the apartment remains the same as when you moved in.
  • Utilities (electricity, internet, water, cable TV) are added on top of the rental price, so keep that in mind when budgeting. In the dormitory utility cost is already included in the cost of living.
  • Consider the possibility of additional fees – for example, for the use of parking spaces, laundry facilities, or concierge services.
  • Since you are an international student, you need to look for accommodation with furniture, or order furniture and utensils after arrival (if you do not want to take all this from home). Check if your home has a washing machine and refrigerator. Some university dormitories and housing estates give students access to a pool or gym, which will save their money on sports.
  • Check your chosen accommodation for security – whether the front doors are closed, whether there are a security guard and surveillance cameras in common areas. So it will be safer and calmer for you and your relatives.

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