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#StudentLife: Tips on living with roommate(s) during your studies abroad

Authors: Jakisheva Adina and Uri Heba*

The international opportunities we get access to nowadays allow us not only to travel, but to also study abroad and receive high-quality education. Moving to another country might be a challenge for many of us, as it is a big new chapter in life and attending university is not the only thing we have to take care of. One of the very first steps is arranging your accommodation in the country that will become your new home. At Corvinus University of Budapest, for example, international students get the chance to either apply for a dormitory or receive guidance from our staff on how to rent a private accommodation.

Among the questions we usually ask ourselves, there are “Where will I live?”, “What are the costs of living there?”, “With whom should I share the apartment?”. Naturally, sharing a flat or a room in a dormitory would be the most affordable option. Here comes the fun part: once the previous struggles are over and you have finally settled, signed a contract, and even found a roommate, it is time for you to start working on your new relationship!

Sharing space can be difficult - when you are a student it’s especially important to adjust and try to create a calm environment so that you can focus on your studies, without extra stress. After all, coming back to your new home after a long day at university shall be your salvation, not your next thing to worry about! That is why we would like to give you a few tips, in order to keep your space peaceful and comfortable:

Keep the communication clear and respectful

Be clear from the beginning and agree on some basic roles with each other to avoid problems later on. A direct and transparent, but respectful communication is essential for good coexistence. Get in agreements about the main rules of the space, for example when/how/who will do some of the main chores. You prefer taking care of the kitchen? Then they can be in charge of the living room! There are other things that can be settled early on, so make sure to think about those before a conflict occurs out of sheer misunderstanding.

Respect each other’s space

The privacy and space of your roommate matter as much as yours. Usually, internationals find each other and rent spaces together. That is why you need to consider cultural differences when moving in with someone. Remember that the social behavior you are used to might not be the most appropriate to them. Always ask before you can use/borrow anything from them (e.g.: dishes and kitchen utensils) and always talk through every problem you might face in regards of the shared space you have within the walls of your accommodation.

Build a good relationship

Be friendly, but don't expect them to be your best friend from day one (we all know the extrovert vs. introvert deal!). We have all seen how cool roommates can be from different movies and series (you probably have watched "Friends" by now), but reality is that people are quite different, and so are their boundaries. Perhaps, you'd like to befriend your roomie, but they might be more closed-off - and vice versa. That is why we advise you not to get into your roommate's personal/private matters without being specifically asked to - you might end up in an embarrassing situation. It’s always better to work on the relationship step by step, so take it slow and pay attention to their vibe.

Add courtesy to your habits

Treat your roommate as they (and you) would like to be treated. For instance, if you notice that they have some issue but they wouldn't like sharing it, respect their choices while showing support (don’t be pushy!). No matter how your relationship develops over time, you can rest easy knowing that you acted like an adult and treated your roommate with courtesy. If they share their thoughts, show appreciation – and keep in mind that is is easier to find solutions for common problems when both of you get along well.

Think about the relationship with your roomie as a serious one, because you would share your personal space with this person.

Finding someone that you can trust can be an opportunity to get a close friend when it works out well. Mutual space connects people, however, it can harm both of you if you don’t set boundaries and compromise in difficult situations.

Last but not least, our personal tip on the topic is to take a walk and to do leisure activities together. For instance, those in Budapest can go out for a drink or explore the outdoors getting in touch with nature at these 5 Hungarian locations. For those who study at Corvinus University of Budapest, for instance, our dormitories offer some facilities that can be handy – the gym, sports courts, study rooms, social spaces, etc. Remember that you are both living in the heart of Europe, so enjoy your stay and take every opportunity to explore!


*The authors of this post are students of our Master in Communication and Media Studies at Corvinus University of Budapest. This content was produced as part of the course on Public Relations and Marketing Communication Design.

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