It is highly likely that you will be living with roommates while studying abroad. Whether you opt for a dorm room or an apartment/house, odds are that you will either be assigned one or more roommates by your institution or be forced to find one yourself because of living expenses and even safety in some cases. Whatever the case might be, living with someone you have probably never met before is no easy task. Here are some tips from us to help you.
Both you and your roommate(s) will be happier if you take the time at the beginning of your living together to lay down some ground rules for what is acceptable behaviour. It will give you guidance on how to behave in order to keep each other happy as well as provide objective grounds for complaints in case of infringement on said rules. These rules can include things like who cooks what and when, the distribution of cleaning and other chores, as well as how you are going to handle visitors and private time.
No matter how compatible you may seem with your roommate(s), it is practically inevitable that you will come to a disagreement at some point. While smaller disagreements can be no issue, bigger ones can lead to devastating arguments if you are not careful. Practice assertive communication and be sure to always hear out the other side, which can be especially difficult if you get emotionally triggered. It is always better to take some time to cool off before entering an important conversation. Just remember: always try to work with instead of against your roommates.
Living with roommates while studying abroad is rarely set in a luxurious, three-bedroom mansion. Instead, you are likely to be located in a dorm room or a small apartment. Because of this, space can become an issue. Everyone likes their privacy as well as alone time, especially when we are talking about university students. Therefore, it is important that you and your roommates agree on respecting each other’s space and availability. Communicating your spatial boundaries will result in a happier co-existence and a more peaceful university experience.
While at home you might have been able to blast music at full volume in your room without your parents complaining much, a roommate might not be as understanding. This is another mutual understanding that you must come to. The important thing is, once again, understanding each other’s boundaries when it comes to noise and quiet time. Just in case, we highly recommend getting a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones so that you can enjoy your audio as well as block out any external noises during your time living with roommates while studying abroad.
Finally, the key to having a quality co-existence with your roommates is to try and nurture a friendly and respectful relationship. This does not mean that you have to be best friends. It does, however, mean that you have to respect each other’s wishes and complaints as well as keep yourself accountable for peace within your shared home. The atmosphere inside a living space will always be nicer when the residents like each other. It does not take a lot of work to do this. Simply be positive and take into account how your roommates feel.
Although you might at first be resistant to the idea of living with someone you do not know while studying abroad, many young people find that they grow fond of the idea quite quickly. After all, having someone else living with you makes a lot of things easier, especially if that person is reasonable and easy to come to an agreement with. Who knows? You might even develop a friendship with those people. All it takes is a little willingness on your part to compromise.
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