Seeing that I've been writing posts that involves a lot of tea lately, I think it's time for the second last installment of Yang's Guide to Studying Overseas! Just like the title suggests, I'm going to talk about flatting- the when's, how's, where's, etc.
Just like you, the pictures (like above) on university pamphlets make me excited about moving out and start living with new people and make new friends. While this is nice and everything, there are a few precautions that you need to consider first.
Look I'm not trying to sound pessimistic or to scare you off but flatting with strangers is not easy. Sometimes people who you think that you can live with might turn out to be the worse thing that could happen in your life...like ever. I'm talking from my experience here because I lived with two other Malaysians and they turned out to be total nightmares. In fact, I got along better with the two other foreign flat mates. This goes to show that never judge a book by its cover.
Usually certain universities requires you to stay on campus during the first year. In my opinion, there's a good reason to this.
For freshies, the university life can be daunting and pretty much a whole different world. Especially for international students such as ourselves; seeing that we have to deal with the homesickness, language barrier, culture shock,etc. Living on residential colleges comes with many benefits such as:
a) Community Support
c) Chances to make friends (Colleges usually host parties to welcome their residents)
d) RCs usually host university tours for their residents
My university (Otago Uni, can I get a woot woot?! Haha) doesn't have this rule, it's quite loose actually. As long as you're not underage, you can live off campus. I know a lot of Asian universities require their students to stay on campus though.
I opted for staying at Toroa International House because I believe it's a safe choice and despite my flat drama, I didn't regret it one bit.
Okay, so you're still not sold to the idea of staying on campus. That's alright.
Obviously by staying on campus means that you have to abide to some rules and you don't want that so it's totally cool. There are a few steps you have to take:
a) Find out the best time to flat hunt. Note: This can be quite a feat to do because you will be doing it long distance. There's a lot at stake but I've seen people do it. :)
b) ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS YOU WANT! The landlord and you need to be clear on the terms.
c) Before signing the bond, READ THE FINE PRINTS.
d) If you can, check other tenants' backgrounds. I might have taken this a bit too far but given my recent flat drama, it seems important.
Moving on to being actually in the flat. YOU'RE FLATTING NOW! YAY!
How to come up with flat rules: (If you and your flatmates are the adventurous type, you can skip this part.)
a) Get to know your flatmates.
b) Have a flat meeting.
c) Give a time frame. If certain rules aren't working out for you guys, have another meeting and discuss.
d) Know each other's pet peeves. Be clear during the meeting.
How to handle flat drama: I'm no expert because mine was just...terrible.
a) COMMUNICATE! Have a flat meeting and discuss what went wrong. If it involves two of the flat mates, ask the remainders to become judges to this "argument" that will go down at the meeting.
b) Flat Counselling. Seeing that I stayed at a residential college, they actually have this service. Sadly this doesn't work for me.
c) Be the bigger person. It pisses you off still but at least you'll be the classy one while your flatmate looks so annoyingly childish. It's okay. Some people are just like that. C'est la vie.
I wish you guys a BIG GOOD LUCK because if all goes well, you just met your new family. :)