Advice for sharing a room or apartment

20 June 2022 | University life

Benefits of students living together in harmony

Most people who want to study at a university outside their home town have to decide to move to the city where the university is located. This means they also have to find a place to live for their years at university, whether it be a student halls, a university residence or in an apartment shared with other students.

This experience can be fun, but it’s true that sharing spaces with strangers can also be stressful, above all at first. The situation is full of uncertainty and this is why communication is essential from the beginning so everyone can agree some basic rules of cohabitation.

It’s true that these students are forced to make this decision because their home is far away, but you have to see the positive side and view it as an experience which is enriching, fun and one in which you may make friends, meet interesting people and come to consider the place as a second home.

Advice for sharing an apartment or room

Here are some tips when it comes to sharing an apartment or room with other students who are in the same situation as you. We hope they help you to find more positive than negative aspects of the situation.

  • Tip 1: Show your roommate(s) some consideration.
    You are going to find yourself in new situations at first and you have to remain aware there are other people in the apartment, you’re no longer alone and may not be able to act exactly as you would at home. Have patience, talk to each other and remember that you’re sharing a space with others. For example, if your roommate is ill, it’s likely they’d appreciate it if you kept your music down until they’re feeling better. Make sure you’re respectful of each other’s differences and make an effort to understand your roommates’ needs. If you behave respectfully in situations which affect you all, other aspects of cohabitation will be much easier.
  • Tip 2: Establish rules.
    Rules are essential to successful cohabitation and is one of the first things you have to agree so that everyone knows where they have to make more of an effort, what are shared tasks and how and when they should be carried out. The main issues are cleaning, noise levels, establishing rules when it comes to using the air-conditioning (if you have it) and the heating, and also whether you are going to share food (the shopping list, when to do the shopping, sharing the tasks among the apartment residents), etc. The more things you have agreed, the easier cohabitation will be, because there’ll be fewer opportunities for misunderstandings and anyone to get upset.
  • Tip 3: Cleaning.
    Unless you have a cleaning service, the cleaning will have to be done by you and your roommates. The important thing is that the residents of the apartment or the room share this task and it doesn’t fall to one person to do it because this will lead to resentment and arguments. The best thing is assign some days for cleaning every week and agree who will do the cleaning and when, but make sure that the division of labour is fair and everyone helps.
  • Tip 4: Your space must be respected.
    If you are sharing a room you’ll have to agree on a division of the area so that the people sharing the room feel they have their own space. Sharing a room can be more difficult than sharing an apartment because of two strangers having to live together in a small space, but it’s also a way to build close relationships and it’s a good idea for someone who has to leave home to study. On the other hand, if you have your own bedroom in a shared apartment, it must be clear to your fellow residents that your room is your temple. Everyone’s right to privacy must be respected and it’s clear that no one should enter anyone else’s bedroom without permission.
  • Tip 5: Communal areas are communal up to a certain point.
    It’s clear that there are some spaces in the apartment which are communal such as the lounge, bathrooms and kitchen. It’s important that the residents agree who can use the spaces when and how, particularly the kitchen if you’re not sharing food. It’s also important that everyone has a space in the bathroom for their toiletries, toothbrush, towel, etc. It’s also important to think about your roommates and talk to them about their plans when you want to invite friends to your apartment or have a party, especially during the week.

We hope these tips about sharing a student apartment will help you have a good experience. Remember that sharing, in general, involves being friendly and that good communication is also crucial to come to agreements and resolve disagreements with your roommates.

We hope you have fun!

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