When studying abroad, one of your options for accommodation is to share a flat or dorm room with a roommate. You’re lucky if you’ll be staying with a long-time friend, but that isn’t always the case.
Chances are, you’re more likely to end up being roommates with a complete stranger. While it’s fun and delightful to meet new people and make friends, the experience can be frustrating if there are no clear boundaries.
The shared space between you and your roommate is essential for comfort and relaxation. If you want to keep peace in your flat, arrange some rules with your roommate.
Here’s how you can establish rules and set boundaries in your shared space:
Define Personal Time and Private Space
There will be moments when you’ll prefer to be alone rather than socialize. You may also want to stay in your personal zone during your rest or study hours.
If you and your roommate come from different cultural backgrounds, what seems normal to you may appear disrespectful to them. They may mistake your actions for aloofness or may be offended by your sudden distance.
Establishing boundaries in communal spaces is essential too. For example, you may choose not to place personal items in certain areas of your flat or dorm.
Having a mutual understanding of personal time and private space is key to respect and trust. Discussing this early, even before settling in your new place, is vital.
Delegate Chores Fairly
There are many ways to delegate chores between you and your roommate. You can consider a chore chart that schedules each task and who is assigned to do it.
To simplify things, you can decide to wash your own dishes, fix your own beds, or clean the kitchen after using it.
Delegating chores fairly doesn’t mean delegating equally, but sharing chores in a just manner. If your roommate has spent six long hours at school and two more at work, will it be fair to ask that they spend more time on chores? Yes, but only if you’re in the same situation.
Whether it’s you or your roommate who has more time and energy to spare, the effort in chores must remain. Consider your class schedules and part-time jobs to gauge the best division of tasks.
Discuss Rent, Bills, and Food Sharing
Money matters are often a sensitive topic of discussion, but not when you have a roommate. You may have personal bills and meal plans to deal with, but for others, it must be equally shared.
For example, rent generally must be divided between the two of you for each month. If you have bills for shared services such as Wi-Fi, you must share that as well.
For food, you can buy or make your own. But if you have a shared pantry or refrigerator, you can both agree on sharing for monthly groceries.
Having a roommate can be tough without clear boundaries and rules. Flip through our articles here at MSM Unify to learn more about student accommodation tips for your studies abroad.