Finding Your Home Away From Home

The Academist

Know the pros and cons of living both on and off campus!


The ordeal of seeking admission cannot be overemphasized. Now after all the struggles, and stress, you have been successfully admitted into the institution that you chose. After this hurdle is crossed, you must consider your accommodations while living abroad; although living abroad will be far from where you call home, the U.S. and Canada, both offer endless options to accommodate you on your stay abroad. Considering housing, on campus, or off campus; the decision could drastically affect the overall cost of your education, management and academic survival at large.

Freshmen often do not have the slightest idea of which decision to make, nor, how to go about making it. Sometimes, they seek counsel from already established students, but usually, they end up getting sophisticated advice as some of these students will speak based on how they have lived and how comfortable they are. Knowing the pros and cons, to better weigh the possible options based on what is needed and what is on ground financially. Very likely, it will be a matter of cost saving for almost everyone.

Without having to ask too many questions or dilly dallying, living on campus is the most cost saving. Getting an apartment or a dorm on campus beats down the cost, especially for the freshman year, and in some cases even, throughout the entire duration at school. There are quite a number of reasons why it is so; depending on the kind of campus, and the basic needs of the student. In some universities, it is mandatory for students to live on campus, and this also is due to some reasons best known to the school authority, and a handful of other external bodies and personnel.

As earlier stated, getting accommodation on campus can be quite cheaper than the off campus counterparts. In some universities, housing costs are deliberately made cheaper than those outside the school. This is to make the cost of living for students affordable, reliable and comfortable. These universities provides other facilities and utilities for the students; the ones they cannot quite be assured of off campus. These dorms or apartments are renovated and refurbished annually for the comfort of the school and the prestige of the academic environment; on campus housing also allows students more convenient locality to classes and campus resources. Another perk that comes with living on campus, it allows students to dine in dining halls, which alleviates the stress of grocery shopping and meal preparation. All the costs are paid along with the fees to the school, and the worry is stopped all at once. Students are always encouraged to spend less and save more. And to do this, students need to try to cut down all unnecessary costs, and save more for the future. Students are encouraged to discover, recognize and take advantage of these opportunities and make good use of them in order to live a less financially stressed life, while they are on their academic journey.

Living large is not really a student thing in most countries, and they often find themselves safe and comfortable living in the school dorms, hostels, quarters, apartments, etc.

University authorities with very sound architectural plans try to erect their accommodation in such ways that they are accessible from classes and other buildings within the school. They are accessible from anywhere, and probably, at any time. Therefore, the cost of transportation is subsidized within the school, compared to the amount spent by students coming from outside the campus. The school management often places strict rules on the cost of transportation for students within the campus to and from classes, fellowships, libraries, restaurants, etc. In some universities, from their dorms to other places in the school is just a stone throw, easily discoverable and accessible, which has proven to be very useful for freshmen students. In all, transportation cost are either minimized or cancelled out completely. In such schools, life is basically a triangle having three ends; housing, class and gathering halls.   

Secondly, living on campus helps a student not worry about utility bills such as electricity, water, lawn etc.. Should the student live off campus, bills are unavoidable, usually on monthly basis, which is not really helpful as a student finances may already be strained. The school authorities is responsible for all the utility bills for the entire campus, covering both resident students and staff. As such, electricity, water and maintenance are constant, and instantaneous. Students do not have to engage in environmental sanitations as experts are already hired to take care of them all.

Although presented here, living on campus has many perks; but it is also understood that off campus housing will work better for many international students as well. Such accommodations would require paying bills on a monthly basis, along with electricity, water, and food. This option might be more ideal for independent students, students with family, or students who appreciate living alone.

Whatever your housing needs may be; be informed, and ensure you have researched all your options. After all, this will be your home, away from home!