Where should university students stay?
Some people go to university in their home town and continue to live at home. However, many students travel to another town or city for their further education and have to find accommodation there. Many universities worldwide provide accommodation for at least some of their students. This often takes the form of a kind of communal, hostel-style accommodation. This accommodation is found in large blocks, often situated within the confines of a university campus. Such a block of accommodation is called a dormitory in American English and a hall of residence in British English.
Some universities in some countries also provide accommodation in flats in town. These are similar to the flats rented out by private landlords but have the advantage of having to reach, at least, a minimum standard of comfort and to some kind of rent restriction. Such flats are usually shared by several students and sometimes, at least in the first year, the university authorities assign students to a particular flat, whether they know their flatmates or not.
Then there are flats which are let out to students by members of the public. This is more of a lottery. Students may have more freedom, but the flats may vary greatly in standard of comfort and amenities and may vary quite a lot in level of cost.
Some students may be faced with a choice. What choice should they make and what are the criteria on which they should base their decision?
The choice of accommodation is dependent on the circumstances of the student. If you are a first year student and know no or very few other students at the university of your choice, it seems that a hall of residence or dormitory should be your first choice. Of course, you might not have an option because some universities in some countries automatically reserve places in their hostel accommodation for first year students.
The choice of hostel accommodation, organized by the university, would enable you to mix with a lot of new people. If you are in a strange town or city and so do not know many people, you might find it difficult to make new social contacts. Having a room in a university accommodation block will provide you instantly with an assortment of people with whom you should have something in common.
Also, university hostel accommodation often provides some form of catering facilities, such as canteen. Such an arrangement means that students do not have to do their own cooking or shopping, skills in which they might not yet have much expertise. This arrangement means that they will always have a nourishing meal available.
Accommodation in a flat, whether this is owned by the university or a private landlord, is much more appropriate, if you have been at university for some time. Then, you will be more mature, be more experienced in budgeting and be more likely to have met people whom you might consider to be compatible flatmates.
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