Finding Accommodation Abroad (Part 1)

We know many of you are worried about finding accommodation for a single semester abroad, so we asked Peer Advisors Raza and Emily (who both went through it!) about their experience and what advice they’d share. First up is Raza…

For my study abroad experience, I went to the National University of Singapore and I had the most fantastic time! In the months prior to studying abroad, I was super worried about accommodation. If that feeling is resonating with you, fear no longer and keep on reading! Hopefully this post should ease some of those tensions…

As my semester abroad was taking place in semester 2, I needed to find London accommodation for semester 1 only. At the end of my first year, I began to look for private accommodation on a rolling contract, meaning that I could leave my accommodation at my convenience with 1 months’ notice. This is something which I recommend other outgoing students to consider. It could be student accommodation or private accommodation. Looking back, I would try to secure a spot at King’s Residences for 1 semester only. You could liaise with other study abroad students and perhaps buddy up, through groups such as KCL Flatmate Finder on Facebook which is something else I considered. If you are looking at private accommodation in London and unsure of its legitimacy you can always reach out to KCL Money and Housing Advice. I have used them before and they are extremely supportive!

NUS were also extremely supportive throughout the accommodation process; they sent me resources explaining how to acquire NUS student accommodation but also what to do if I didn’t, providing links to trustworthy private accommodation websites. They also hosted webinars and replied to my emails very quickly! During the application process they provide space to indicate if you have any disability requirements that should be taken into consideration when allocating you on campus housing. [Sidenote: Singapore is known to have wheel-chair friendly and disability accessible infrastructure due to its large elderly population.] Unfortunately, like most university accommodation processes, getting NUS student accommodation was highly competitive. So do look out for emails from NUS and make a note of any deadlines as you do not want to miss them!

Whilst I did my own research of NUS student accommodation through web searches, reviews on chat forums and checking their accommodation website, it didn’t matter in the end since — due to the competitive nature — I only received one offer. This was at Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR).

PGPR Residence at NUS

I was grateful for this offer as I knew I wanted to be as close to NUS campus as possible and PGPR is close by. I was surprised to learn that NUS student accommodation is subsidised by the government, making student accommodation more affordable than private housing. My accommodation cost $2273.21 SGD for the entirety of my 4-month exchange (£1,854.7 GBP), a lot cheaper than what I was paying in London! However, a lot of private (non-student) accommodation is more expensive so I really urge outgoing students to be mindful of university housing deadlines as this will save you a lot of money.

I really enjoyed my time at PGPR. I made lifelong friends from all over the world and amazing memories. I appreciated the chance to integrate myself into the NUS student community! Wherever you end up staying, there is always the potential to make friends so do not worry if you don’t get your first choice.

NUS student accommodations also have a range of fantastic amenities! There’s a free NUS shuttle bus that picks you up outside your dorm and takes you around campus, an infinity pool on campus and loads of amazing food courts with very affordable meals. Most meals costed me around $5 SGD (£3.06 GBP).

The NUS shuttle bus

I understand how daunting this process is and how worried you must be feeling as I was doing it not so long ago and feeling just as worried! However, trust the process and just know that these things tend to work themselves out! You are going to have the best time ever and make so many memories! I am super excited for you.

If  have any questions or concerns, feel free to come to my office hours, Tuesdays 10-12 in room K0.57. Equally, if you are unable to come to my office hours, you can always pop in for a chat with the other Peer Advisors, see here for more information.

Take care and good luck on your study abroad adventures!