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Staying in student halls or a flat?

Every who lives in a flat on their Erasmus experience does it because it is cheaper than living in halls. And that's the only reason which would make it better.

If you want to fully live the experience, the best thing is to go and live in halls, even if you'll be leaving your parents a bit more out of pocket. In halls, you have more opportunities to get to know more people, whereas in a flat you close yourself off a bit more. Of course, in halls you also have to go out of your way to get to know people: leave your shyness in your room and try to be as extroverted as you can. People in halls are normally looking to get to know people as well, so it won't be very difficult to make friends.

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But staying in a flat isn't a bad option either. You have your freedom, there aren't any rules. you are less likely to disturb other people, and of course, you won't have to pay to wash your clothes... The reason why I wouldn't recommend living in a flat is because throughout our lives we will have few opportunities to live in a residence with a whole bunch of people, and if on top of that you have gone to a country on your own, what is better than to amplify the chance of getting to know more people?

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Look, I'm not saying that just living in halls is going to be the key to have more friends: no. This topic depends a lot on each individual, on the residence, and on the people that you will be living with. The best outcome is being in a flat where you make a family of friends with whom you have a great connection, unlike one you have experienced before - the same as in halls. But the general experience seems to be better in halls.

In a residence, if you get to know lots of people or almost all of the university, and you always want to spend time with people you don't have to do more than knock on the door. The people that I know who live in houses or flats who want to go out have to travel to do that, and it's not the same as hanging around in pyjamas at home all day.

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I've more or less lived this situation myself.

During the first semester, I was living in a small residence, which had four floors and 72 rooms in total. It wasn't university halls, so a lot of people living there were studying for their Masters or working. Not many people were students or part of Erasmus like me.

From not being owned by the university and being private, the managers didn't really care about the wellbeing of those living there. I didn't get to know many people and everyone led their own life. So I didn't have a friendship group and I only hung out a few times with people from my halls. Thus from this, to go out and have a good time I always had to go out, always walking 20 minutes from my friends' halls which is where we often met up. Because almost everybody that I got to know during the first semester lived in the same halls.

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In the end, when the contract ended and I could change, I didn't have to think twice, I went straight to my friends' halls to ask if there was a free room.

And from then on, I had a really good time there. Yes, it's not a palace. Yes, sometimes the internet is rubbish. Yes, sometimes some of the security give us an earful. Yes, sometimes our flatmates complain about the noise. But I have increased my opportunities to talk to new people. When I'm doing chores, I am motivated because I know that when I'm finished I can leave my room and be with my friends. Sundays are for staying home, and what's better than having company to do that?

I don't want to make out halls as something perfect, which they are not. There are people that have problems with their flatmates and the halls don't bother to sort it out. Or maybe the location isn't that great. Or maybe they start to charge you for everything...

The most important thing...

My advice is to search for information about the halls on the internet before signing a contract. Search engines, Facebook, Twitter... whatever you like! A lot of people have stayed in these rooms and I am sure they would have shared their opinions on them. And the most important thing is to make sure you don't get ripped off! There are lots of sly people in the world.


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