To live off-campus is a big responsibility for an international student. Read on to learn about the advantages and downsides of off-campus living.
Another decision to make before stepping into your chosen study destination is your lodging. Whether you want to stay in a dorm or far from your school, it is mainly up to you to decide.
The question is whether to live on campus or outside campus. When incoming freshmen or even current students have second thoughts about their initial choice, it’s very acceptable for them to feel this way. The process of deciding what is best for you can take a long time and be awful, but it is necessary to make the right choice.
Living outside campus may be an exciting experience for first-timers. It can give great benefits, but can also be overwhelming. Listed below are a few pros and cons to consider before choosing to live off-campus.
You will have a sense of freedom when you live outside the campus. This includes freedom in choosing where you want to live, what you want to do, and your roommate(s). To suit you and your roommate’s lodging tastes and needs, you can go apartment hunting.
Being able to live alone and outside of school gives you a sense of liberty in whatever you do. But this also holds you accountable for whatever you are doing. You can go to parties, grab some beers, plan a hangout, just do them responsibly.
Living off-campus enables you to live alone or with the company of others. You will have your own privacy and can control it in any way you want. You can lock windows, doors, set security cameras, go to common areas, and more. Since you live outside of campus, this gives you a more private environment, away from familiar faces. If you enjoy being alone, this is your chance to pursue it.
Living alone brings the feeling of independence. You will have a sense of adulthood and develop yourself into a fully adult individual. As you live solo, you will not depend on others and have things managed by yourself. Living off-campus will enable you to have a higher sense of independence since you don’t need to rely on classmates or schoolmates that are just near you.
As compared to on-campus accommodation, staying outside the campus is much cheaper if you find the right place. This will further lessen if you choose to live with a roommate.
So, why is it inexpensive? Mainly because they are usually far from your campus. Accommodation choices that are inside or near campus tend to be more costly than those that are a few meters away.
If you’re lucky since you’ll be moving into an off-campus lodging, it can mean that you’ll have a huge amount of space to work with. As a bonus, you can even have a yard. There may even be patios and porches on certain homes. Make the best of the warm weather during the academic year by spending time outside with your roommates.
Less rowdy neighbors
In college, there are different kinds of people you will meet. But you can agree that the worst types are those that are rowdy, loud, and are not concerned with your own peace. However, you’ll have fewer responsibilities than if you lived on campus. You’ll no longer have to worry about your neighbors above or below you.
A lot of universities provide commuter programs for students living outside the campus. This is designed for socialization opportunities so that the commuters can still connect to life inside the campus.
Some students find it beneficial to live off-campus. Commuter assistant programs help students who are away from home to keep in touch and never skip a beat. It also helps that some meal plan packages for commuters let people choose what they eat.
Preventing logistical panic
Living off-campus means missing out on fire alarms, evacuation plans, move-in, and regular room checks by your RA. In addition, students living in other regions or simply do not want to return home over the holiday break may find it difficult to stay in their residence halls because of the requirement to move out. On the other hand, you may save money, but you will have to put in more time.
Could be far from school
An affordable place is often found far from campus. Meaning, your commute en route to school will take some of your time and may cost you more. You must manage your time well to be on time for class. If public transportation is not accessible, you will have to consider renting a car, which will be more costly.
While this can be a hassle for some, it can be a great way to explore the city or country more. If you enjoy traveling, off-campus lodging may be perfect for you.
After all, this will also allow you to be innovative in learning which route is the easiest way for you to get to school. There’s a lot of potential skills you can develop just by choosing to live alone, away from your classmates.
You will have to deal with a much greater responsibility when you live outside the campus. This includes setting up the internet, paying electricity and water bills, doing the laundry, and cooking your own meal. It may be an arduous task that will eat up a lot of your time allotted for studying.
Missing the college experience
The fact that your life isn’t centered on campus means there will be events that happen even when you aren’t at school. Simply put, you won’t be able to take advantage of every opportunity since you won’t be present to see them all. Sometimes, these events are what make the whole college experience worthwhile.
Out-of-campus lodging will make you miss that exciting once-in-a-lifetime college experience. Parties, hang-outs, social events, and such will be missed opportunities. But for others, it is not that important. They focus more on the bigger and much more important factors than this.
Students, especially those who attend classes in the morning, may feel the effects of this. If you have your own car and you don’t have a parking pass, you’ll also have to account for the time needed to find a parking spot even if you believe you’re on time. This is merely a price you must pay.
But if you don’t have a car, you need to carry the burden of commuting every day. You have to wake up early in the morning, sometimes skip breakfast, just to be on time for class.
Fewer study areas
Since you’re living outside the school, you will have to deal with the lack of study areas like libraries, halls, and lounges. Even if studying alone is an option, the monotony of it can quickly set in.
Now that we have given you the advantages and disadvantages of living off-campus, the decision is now in your hands.
Still thinking about how you will live in your chosen study destination? Read more of our articles about living life abroad as an international student.