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Staging The Graceful Exodus Of Your College Rental

animalhouseHave you ever tried to take a poster off of a wall, only to discover the pushpins left dozens of teeny holes all around? In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best way to decorate your temporary space – but you longed to make it reflect your personality, even as a short-term home during college.

Recent statistics show that more people than ever are choosing to rent homes, particularly in well-populated cities. If you are one of them, you’ve probably questioned just how much effort to put into home decor, or how much you can get away with. A rental home deserves your attention and deserves to reflect your tastes just as much as a home you own. But how can you make that happen without possibly getting fined when you finally move out? Actually, there are plenty of ways to decorate a rental and leave it just the way it was – or better – when it’s time to leave for summer break.

Color Now, Chameleon Later

So, you don’t want white walls that look like a hospital room? Frankly, we don’t blame you. But remember that blood-red walls, floral wallpaper and psychedelic stripes won’t work, either. Instead, choose neutrals and lighter shades that are easier to paint over later – or even leave on the walls if your landlord likes it! Here are some shade suggestions:

  • Light blue
  • Eggshell or beige
  • Yellow
  • Light green

Keep in mind that the more neutral you go, the more likely it is that you can leave the walls painted (If you do a good job) upon your exit.

Accents Matter

Let’s say you aren’t going to paint the walls but you crave a splash of color in your rental. Don’t let white walls slow you down – get to work adding color with furniture, pillows, throws and other home accessories. In truth, your visitor’s eyes will be drawn to whatever you intend for your focal point of the room to be – and it does not need to be a wall. Here are some ideas regarding home furniture and furnishings.

  • Solid colored sofas and chairs – Pick a color palate for the sofas, chairs ottomans or other main furniture in your home. Whether they are brightly colored or more muted, remember that colors will offset the plain walls and give you a canvas to work with.
  • Patterns for pillows – Once you have your “canvas,” you can add patterns with area rugs, decorative pillows and cozy throws.
  • Other knickknacks – In addition to the furnishings of your home, try adding character to the room with colorful houseplants, books, candles and other fun accessories. They are easy to pack up when you leave and they can make a rental house feel more like a home.

Hang Time

So, you can’t make holes in the walls. What now? There are alternatives that don’t leave your walls looking like a slab of Swiss cheese.

  • Poster Putty – This sticky stuff is a fine alternative for hanging lightweight artwork, including posters (of course), unframed photos and small canvases.
  • Mounting tape – Most brands of mounting tape work fine to hold up art, and won’t damage the walls when you peel it off.

A Graceful Exit

When the time comes for you to move from your rental property, ensure that you will receive your deposit money back in full by leaving the home the way you found it, or even better. Here are a few things to take care of before you hand the keys in.

Clean the baseboards.
Have you ever looked down at the baseboards in someone else’s house and noticed how grubby and dusty they were? Well, imagine how much more the baseboards stand out when you remove your furniture and they are in plain sight. Dust and clean the baseboards before you leave the rental, and the whole place will look cleaner.

Plaster any holes.
Oops – you’ve got a hole in the wall. Luckily, you can fix it with a tube of spackling and some sandpaper. Simply fill the hole and sand it down. A little dab or two of paint and the wall will look like new.

Repaint if necessary.
If you painted the walls, make sure to find out whether you will need to restore them to their original color before you move out. Regardless of your landlord’s feelings about it, you may need a fresh coat anyway if the walls are marked and scuffed up.

Rental properties have plenty of potential when it comes to decorating – you simply have to be creative and willing to cover your tracks at the end.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Chris Long. He is a Home Depot store associate and has been helping renters, homeowners, and other property owners in the Chicago area since 2000. Chris also contributes advice on furniture decor for Home Depot’s Home website. His interests range from providing tips on living room furniture to information on closet storage, room dividers and end tables.

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6 Things You’ll Need for Your College Dorm Room

DormRoomGoing to college is an exciting time in anyone’s life. It’s a time of new opportunities and individual experiences. However, no matter how individual the experience, the dorm rooms always start exactly the same. Once you see what is already in your dorm room, it’s time to decorate it. Here are some great ideas on what everyone should have in their dorm rooms.


The bed will take up the most space in the room, so you want to ensure it’s attractive. Great bedding can give the room that cozy feel.  Also, you want to buy many decorative and practical pillows. This way, you can use your bed as a daybed sofa by lining pillows up against the back. Comforters and pillows are also an excellent way to add pop to an otherwise drab room.


These days, more students are deciding not to bring a TV to the dorms. However, the right TV can also double as second monitor while taking up very little additional space. Choosing a TV that can plugged into the laptop allows the student to enjoy all that the modern world has to offer, whether it’s typing a report on a bigger screen or just watching movies online.

Wall Art

Wall art gives your student a chance to express themselves. Gone are the posters of yesteryear. Thanks to the invention of sticky back putty, there are easy ways to hang up real pictures or artistic elements without the need to drill into the wooden or brick walls. This ‘museum putty’, as it’s sometimes called, is clear and leaves no residue once removed.

A Small Comfy Chair

Sometimes, a student doesn’t want to sit on the bed or in one of the hard student chairs. A small comfy chair is recommended, however, it shouldn’t be a furniture type chair. Instead, opt for a camp chair, beanbag chair or gaming chair. These chairs have a very small footprint, and can be moved around easily.


Rugs serve double duty; not only do they allow your student to express themselves, they also hide what is usually a very unattractive floor. If the dorm room has a hard floor, a rug also saves the student from walking on a cold floor at 3am. There are many different types of rugs, from giant area rugs all the way to little throw rugs. Since you’re not limited to only one rug in a room, there’s lots of fun to be had decorating with rugs.

Window Coverings

Draperies that block light are very important for dorm rooms. Getting enough sleep is important to doing well in college. Light blocking shades are a real benefit when you were up all night studying or having fun with friends. Fortunately, the Shade Store has many window treatments heavy enough to block light while still being unobtrusive enough to make the room seem open.

Though all dorm rooms start out the same, there’s no reason for them to stay that way. For the next 4 years, this will be your student’s home away from home as they transition to adulthood. Helping them outfit it well is the first step on their college career.

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5 Tips On How To Be A Good Roommate Next Semester

collegeroommatesjpgCollege life will have its ups and downs, but relationships are what define the experience. They motivate you to push through a difficult class or distract you when you’re studying for midterms. Just like any partnership, healthy roommate relationships take work. Common sense and a few simple tricks can help you and your roommate coexist peacefully under the same roof.

Maintain Your Own Space

It is all about boundaries and you and your roommate need some. Maintain your own space and define what your boundaries are up front. Don’t expect your roommate to read your mind — if late night TV is going to interfere with your beauty sleep, now is the time to say so. Make this a bonding ritual that helps clear the air right from the start. Things to discuss include:

  • Smoking
  • Visitors
  • Study time
  • Noise control
  • Pets
  • Food
  • Sharing

It is hard to come up with a complete list of things you love or hate all at once, so leave this line of communication open. Some issues may develop over time and the boundaries will change.

Hang Out at Least Once a Week

With any luck, you are building a friendship, not just saving on the rent, and that takes commitment. Set aside time for you and your roommate to do things together. Whether it is movie night or shooting hoops every Thursday after class, spending together time is a proactive way to nurture the relationship.

Expect Conflict

It is bound to happen – if you put two or more people under one roof, they will eventually disagree at some point. Go into the partnership knowing that problems will happen. Dealing with them right away keeps them from smoldering. Find ways to talk out the issues as they arise.

Timing matters. Be smart about approaching your roommate if you do have a problem. If it’s a bad day, put it off. Be aware of your own mood, also. If you are already cranky or irritable, what starts out as a discussion will end up as a battle.

Come Up With a System that Works

This is about organization. There are bills to pay, chores to do and personal space to consider. Plan it out to avoid procrastinating on necessary tasks:

  • Create a schedule for study time.
  • Make a list of who is responsible for paying the utilities.
  • Develop a “to do” list for cleaning.
  • Discuss how to get the best amenities for the house. For example, can hook you up with rocking TV service for just $29.95 per month. Research what else is available in the area to get the most for your combined buck.

Don’t leave anything to the imagination, but it is okay to leave some tasks open ended. If you have a minute to clean the refrigerator, by all means, knock yourself out.

A Little Communication Goes a Long Way

Communication, or lack of it, is a deal breaker. Finding ways to communicate puts out fires before they happen. You know the old sock on the doorknob trick? That actually works. Have a system that signals you need some privacy. Not everything in life is planned, so you had better have a way of silently dealing with those little unexpected surprises.

Above all else, be considerate of your roommate. Ask before you borrow, don’t eat food you don’t own and be courteous about noise. Remember, this person is more than just a way to keep the rent down. You are half of a team working to get through school together.

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The Post-Graduation Move: Relocating into the Real World

graduationGraduation day. Classes are over, the degree is earned, and it’s time to take the next step out into the world.

Whether you’re staying close to your college town or setting off toward new horizons, chances are that your housing situation will change. For many students, the post-graduation move may be the first time that they live alone or move without the help of friends and parents.

The key to a seamless transition (and avoiding a throwing all your stuff on the curb at the last minute) is to plan ahead. Moving day will rarely be fun, but it doesn’t have to be awful. Here are some suggestions which may make it hurt less:

Be selective.

A friend’s roommate once told me her philosophy when moving. “If I don’t need something, and it isn’t pretty, it doesn’t come with me.” This is apt advice. Moving is a great opportunity to cleans ourselves of things we don’t need. If it isn’t essential or especially valuable to you, why bring it? Be selective. You’ll have less to load and fewer boxes to unpack in your new digs.

Have a game plan before you begin packing.

Knowing ahead of time where boxes and furniture will go in the new home will allow you to pack accordingly, and unload it more efficiently. If you’re using a rented truck, try dividing the space inside into quadrants and then assigning different rooms to those quadrants. For example, perhaps you decide to load all kitchen and living room articles into the back-right quadrant. This way, you’ll know where everything is during unloading, and you’ll be able to unload the truck one room at a time.

Use a floor plan of your new place.

This is especially helpful if you’re using movers, but it’s also helpful for friends and family helping you move. The floor plan will allow you to visualize how things will look in your new space, but can also serve as a road map for anyone helping you relocate. Tagging furniture with numbers of corresponding rooms on a prominently displayed floor plan means your help can see where everything goes. If you don’t need to bark directions for where every little thing goes, both you and your helpers can work more efficiently.

Be safe.

Everyone knows to bend at the knees when lifting, but here are a few other less obvious safety tips:

  • Pack heavy things in small boxes and light things in big boxes. If boxes are easier to hold in your arms, they are easier to carry and less likely to be dropped.
  • Drink water. Hydration is a necessity on moving day, not a luxury. Besides its obvious benefits, water is also crucial for the proper functioning of your spine, and your spine needs all the help it can get lifting that solid-wood antique dresser you just had to have.
  • Stack heavy boxes on the bottom and light ones on top. Gravity and weighty boxes can make for a very long day if they fall.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. As tempting as it is to wear comfortable flip-flops or Crocs on sweltering moving days don’t do it. Protect your toes from falling boxes and dropped furniture or your feet may never look right in sandals again.

Help your friends help you.

There may not be a more selfless act of friendship than helping someone move into a new place. They’ve committed at least an entire day — maybe an entire weekend — to lugging your stuff to and from a moving truck, with no motivation other than their love for you, and the task would be impossible without their help. So take every effort to make it worth their while.

Buy their meals while they’re helping, provide them with a case of their favorite soda or beer during breaks, and above all, make sure to say thank you.

Also, give them ownership in the moving process. Most of us have relocated several times in our lives, especially during those school years when we’re moving in and out of dorms and apartments, so we all probably have best practices worth sharing. Allowing friends to make decisions can decrease both your level of stress and the chances that they feel they’re being bossed around.

Relax and Plan.

Believe it or not, your next move doesn’t have to be terrible. Loads of sweat and tired, sore muscles may be unavoidable, but with some deliberation and planning, you may be amazed how much more efficient a move can be. Just remember to think things through, drink water, and most importantly, say thanks to your help.

With your move completed and your degree in hand, settle in to your new home or apartment and look ahead to the rest of your life with excitement.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jay Harris. He has been a Home Depot store associate since 2005 in the Chicago area. Jay writes tips on equipment rentals, including carpet cleaner rentals and truck rental tips.

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Dorm Room Survival – Tips On Sharing A Small Space

Whether you’ve grown up sharing a bedroom with a sibling or had the luxury of a spacious room to yourself since birth, adjusting to life in a shared dorm room can be a shock to anyone’s lifestyle. It is not always ideal but if you plan on saving on room costs in college, sharing a dorm room is a necessity.

The relationship students make with a freshman year roommate can ultimately become a friendship that lasts for life, or a painful memory you’d rather avoid thinking back to. Even if you’re lucky enough to land a spot in a newer, more comfortable dorm, you’ll still be cohabiting in a shared space.

Fortunately, a bit of conversation, openness, and proper planning can assuage many of the conflicts that can emerge between students sharing a room. In order to ward off problems before they emerge, live happily, and make the best use of your available space, remember these useful tips:

1. Talk about expectations and set ground rules

It’s good to have a laid back attitude towards a roommate, but an ‘anything goes’ approach from the start can ultimately lead to big headaches down the road. During your first week together (or anytime, if it’s never happened before), initiate a conversation about your mutual expectations for the shared living space. Start with the following questions:

  • Are you comfortable having guests over, and if so, how many and how frequently?
  • Are you a neat freak or does clutter not borrow you? It’s generally best to keep it tidy — otherwise the neater of the pair may end up cleaning up and moving an important item of their roommate’s that can cause tension later on.
  • What time do you go to bed? What expectations do you have about lights and noise at night? The same questions apply in the morning.

2. Determine personal and mutual areas

Dorm rooms can be downright tiny. Sometimes they’re little more than a walk-in closet, and split between two people. Whatever the case, decide with your roommate whose space is whose, and which parts of the room are shared. As you settle in, this will help both occupants to understand the limitations of the space, as well as working together to create a mutual vision of the room you both want.

3. Make the most of closet space

Your closet in a dorm has to go a long way. Instead of just storing clothes, it’s now your general ‘out of the way’ spot for anything that would otherwise be cluttering the room. To make the best of it, try the following:

  • Hang a shoe rack on the inside door to get shoes off the ground
  • A second shoe rack on the outside door can hold items like toiletries, hair dryer, and other daily necessities it’s good to have close at hand.
  • Choose heavy-duty wire hangers over plastic to maximize space on the hanging rod.
  • Use a collapsible hamper for dirty clothes and keep it out of the way in the closet
  • Use hooks inside the closet to hang items like belts and jewelry

4. Create an efficient desk

You’ll likely be spending a lot of time at your desk in college, so it’s best to make an effort to create a workspace that’s both tidy and keeps necessary items readily available.

  • Use a clip lamp with a flexible neck that clears tabletop space and can be used for room lighting as well.
  • A wireless or Bluetooth speaker can eliminate cords and tangles, and be placed elsewhere to clear space on the desk.
  • Use simple drawer organizers to sort pens, scissors, staples, and more.
  • Keep a bulletin board or dry erase board on the wall to keep track of your classes, deadlines, and activities (and to keep small papers off the ground and desk).

5. Find multi-use furniture

If you’re tight on space, find items that allow for extra storage or multiple uses. An ottoman or coffee table can often include storage inside. Likewise, raising your bed can be an option to create additional storage underneath.

6. Use hooks

If you’re keeping a bicycle in your room, hanging it from the ceiling can be an excellent option to clear floor space. Likewise, strategically placed hooks can hold coats, book bags, and anything else that would otherwise end up on the ground or in a crowded closet.

7. Limit yourself

Remember that this is college! Get out there and enjoy yourself. Study hard, but don’t put all your emphasis on stocking your room with stuff, just because it’s your first chance to live alone and decorate however you please. Be a minimalist however you can.

Are you in college now? Have you had issues sharing a small space with a roommate? What tips do you have to share with others in that situation?

Author Bio:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Johnson. She takes a keen interest in organization as a result of her experience working at Extra Space Storage. She contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions. 

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Helpful Tips For Last Minute College Housing Situations

Whether you spent your summer break lounging around by the poolside at your local country club or building houses for grateful families in Central America, your return to school is sure to be bittersweet. On the one hand, you’ll have plenty of warm evenings to catch up with the college friends with whom you parted in May before classes begin in earnest. On the other, you’ll have to work hard to set yourself up for a successful school year during the even warmer days in between.

Of all the tasks that you’ll need to complete before you can focus on your studies, finding housing may be the most frustrating and time-consuming. If you’re like most returning college students, you probably lined up some form of housing for the fall semester prior to skipping town in the spring. Whether you found a roommate willing to share an on-campus dorm suite or signed a September lease on an off-campus house or apartment, you may have looked to have your fall housing situation all sewn up.

When Housing Plans Fall Through

Like many aspects of college life, student housing offers few guarantees. Every year, hundreds of thousands of college upperclassmen return to school to find their housing plans in shambles. If it looks to be your turn this fall, don’t blame the flaky roommate who backed out at the last second or the shady landlord who reneged on an offer of shelter after receiving a higher offer from another potential tenant. Instead, shake off your housing blues and join the last-minute housing rush.

Always Use Trusted Resources

You may be tempted to start your scramble on a national housing-finder site like Craigslist or Zillow. While these sites may be useful for the general population, college students have several good reasons to treat them with skepticism.

First, Craigslist’s notoriously loose listing policy and low barriers to entry ensure tremendous coverage at the “affordable” end of the housing spectrum. In fact, small college towns are its historical wheelhouse: With its cheap listing policy and simple first-in, first-out ranking scheme, it tends to attract small-time landlords who own relatively few properties and lack major marketing budgets.

Craigslist’s affordability and convenience are also its Achilles’ heels. With no fact-checking infrastructure and only a rudimentary forum-based peer-review mechanism, it offers few guarantees that its listings are accurate or even honest. As such, the process of vetting potential landlords and living spaces found via Craigslist can be exhausting. If you’re scrambling to find last-minute housing before school starts, you may not have time to complete such thorough due diligence.

Consider Your Budget When Using Resources

Meanwhile, Zillow offers relatively little value for bargain-hungry college students. Although it has broadened its appeal dramatically since going public, the site still caters to upmarket home-buyers and professional real estate investors. Its rental-finder feature provides excellent insight into the statistical state of local rental markets but offers little practical support for students looking to find cheap, immediately-available housing in a crunch.

Try Sites Geared Toward Students

Fortunately, your college or university probably offers an attractive alternative to listing sites like Craigslist or Zillow. For instance, Northwestern University provides its undergraduates with access to off-campus property and rental listings across the Chicago area and can even broker connections between students and landlords. Meanwhile, the University of Miami offers a searchable dedicated-listing service exclusively for students in search of off-campus housing. It’s closed to non-students, eliminating competition from the general public and adding a security feature that’s absent from Craigslist.

Talk to Other Students

Depending upon where you go to school, your off-campus rental market may be dominated by a handful of big property-management companies. This is especially popular in areas near major research universities. If possible, talk to peers who have found housing through one of these management companies and determine whether they’re generally pleased with their experiences.

Since they own so many individual units, these management companies rarely operate at full capacity and may have apartments available throughout the school year. They may also offer move-in specials and teaser rates to fill unoccupied units. If you renew your lease after it expires, keep in mind that your rent may “readjust” to a higher rate.

Look for Space in a Dorm

On campus dorms typically have deadlines for housing, but are prepared to deal with students who apply late. It is not uncommon for dorms to set up lobbies as “temporary housing” for the first couple weeks of the semester. While living in the lobby of the dorm may not be appealing, remember that rooms typically open up quickly as students move back home, drop out, or move into off-campus houses after joining a fraternity or sorority.

Check out Your School’s Paper

Most college newspapers will have a classifieds section. Students who are studying abroad may be looking to sublet their room to another student for the semester. You may also find students in a similar situation as you, who are looking to find a replacement roommate after another has bailed. If you would rather try to find another roommate before searching for a new place, place an add in your student paper or on a campus housing site as soon as possible.

Backing out of a Lease

With so many last-minute housing options at your disposal, you may well find multiple units that suit your needs. If you’ve agreed in principal to a lease without actually signing it, you can typically back out of your commitment with ease. You may lose your lease-application fee, which can range between $25 and $50, but your not-to-be landlord won’t be able to keep your security deposit or any advance rent that you paid. If you are unsure about a new prospect, you can negotiate with the landlord to secure a shorter lease, giving you the opportunity in the meantime to search for a place that is better suited for you.

Today’s guest article is provided by Jackson Hathorn. He points out that finding housing at the last minute doesn’t mean you have to live without. Internet and Cable Services from Comcast can help turn a bare-bones studio into a fully wired, and highly functional, domicile.

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Five Ways to Make Off-Campus Housing Cheaper

Living in on-campus housing can be pretty convenient. Your room is usually furnished, utilities are generally included, and if you are like my college roommate and haven’t learned how to boil water, a meal plan is available. With this convenience, however, comes a price. The cost of administrators and services that you either don’t want (resident assistant’s policing you) or don’t need (all those programs you never take advantage of but are costing you money).

If you decide to live off campus, or if you’ve reached the maximum time you’re allowed to live in the dorms, you need to be careful with how you spend your funds because increased freedom comes with increased risks of going over budget. Here are some tips for making living off campus cheaper:

1. Research Home Phone, Internet and Cable TV Services

The best way to make living off campus cheaper is to save on reoccurring monthly expenses. A college student needs Internet like he needs air to breathe – it’s hard to Wikipedia the history of eastern philosophy the night before an exam without it. No cable TV? Forget having potential new friends over for a “Mad Men” watching party or to root on your basketball team when they are away. Take the time to research the best prices on home phone, Internet and cable TV as soon as possible. Two excellent starting points are BillShrink and My Rate Plan.

2. Buy Groceries Instead of Dining Out

If you never took the time to learn how to make your favorite childhood recipes, or if your household was like mine and there was nothing worth learning, it will be pretty tempting to go out to eat every night. Even if you mostly order from that mediocre pizza place that delivers from around the corner, the price will add up. Make it a priority to learn a few reliable dishes and how to vary them up so you don’t get bored of them. Watch a few online videos or ask a friend, and it will save you a pile of cash.

3. Furnish Your Apartment with Used Furniture

One nice convenience of living on-campus is that the room comes furnished. Furniture can be quite expensive and it adds up quickly: a bed, desk, couches, and coffee table – the list goes on and on. Save up to 75% by shopping for your furniture used. Check postings on bulletin boards around campus, local classified ads, or today’s favorite – Craigslist.

4. Find the Perfect Roommate

You can cut your living expenses in half by simply finding a roommate. Well, finding a roommate is not that simple. The last thing you need is some nightmare of a roommate that drives you crazy during midterms. Many schools offer opportunities for off-campus students to meet each other or at least post ads. Asking friends on Facebook if they know of anyone also works well. If you don’t care if they are a student, Craigslist is another great spot to advertise. Once you find someone interested, ask about living habits, see if you click – and be sure they put down a deposit.

5. Use Public Transportation

If you go to school in a big city, parking costs alone can set you back a bundle. Add in insurance, car payments, registration – sometimes the freedom of having a car isn’t worth it. Check with your college to see if they offer free or discounted public transportation rates for students. Offering to buy your buddy with a car a couple of beers if they give you a ride is always an option as well. If you can live without your car, you’ll significantly cut down on your costs.

Living off campus means more freedom and a chance to save a lot of money – if you’re careful. What are some of your money saving techniques for living off-campus?

Author Bio:

Dwayne Thomas works for, a site that helps you find the best deal on cable TV, and enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience to help college students save on campus expenses.

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Cheap Housing Tips For Students Studying Abroad

Whether it’s across the Pacific, smack dab in central Europe, in the heart of Africa or along Australia’s Gold Coast, record numbers of cost-conscious college students annually study abroad, finding the experience even more rewarding thanks to these budget-friendly housing tips.

1. Partner with a university-sponsored program.

For a majority of students, university-sponsored programs offer reasonable and affordable dormitory-style housing in their location of choice. By living and engaging daily with fellow college students, language barriers quickly fade, and common interests quickly develop thanks to similar coursework and activities. Learning local peers’ perspectives on college life is also often a plus to this arrangement. For more on pricing and programs available, students should connect with their respective institution’s study abroad office.

2. Seek out businesses that cater specifically to student housing needs.

Community-style housing options off-campus but close to all the action can provide another perspective on the culture and camaraderie of the chosen country. For example, student accommodations in Brisbane, Australia, are just a “door step to beautiful Parklands, art galleries, museums, West End’s vibrant nightlife…A truly ideal location for students, directly opposite South Bank train station and busway, and within easy reach of Brisbane’s universities.”

3. Consider a homestay.

For total immersion in the native language and nuances of everyday life in the selected country, staying with a host family (homestay) might be the perfect fit. Many students who have opted for this arrangement report feeling like an adoptive member of their host’s family.  Living in their homes, getting to know their immediate and extended families, talking around the dinner table about native traditions, or just listening to everyday experiences have turned strangers into lifelong friends, resulting in lasting relationships well after the student’s time abroad ends.

4. Rent a place.

Finding a place to stay while abroad has become even more innovative and fun thanks to companies such as Airbnb and CouchSurfing, both of which have been featured prominently in the media. Airbnb “connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 26,000 cities and 192 countries.” From villas to castles to a simple apartment, Airbnb might just provide the added oomph to any study-abroad experience. At the same time, CouchSurfiing encourages breaking out of the routines associated with traditional travel by connecting like-minded people with each other to experience another culture in an entirely new way. Visit their sites to learn all the possibilities for renting around the world.

5. Stay at a Youth Hostel

Sometimes experiencing the culture of a new country is best discovered with those wanting to do exactly the same, as is often the case with travelers staying at youth hostels. A budget-friendly alternative, hostels are typically less expensive and provide basic accommodations. Stay times are flexible as well. Students can check out and other web-based resources to find the right one for their personality.

So, whether you are planning to study abroad as part of your current academic program or you have a passion for going to college for graphic design overseas, I hope you find these cost saving tips helpful.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Karen Gerboth. She serves as the Director of University Communications at Wittenberg University where she enjoys covering a wide array of higher education topics.

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