Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home and Away...

We have been inundated with emails from Singaporean parents, enquiring about the types student accommodation and concern of living safety for their child who is coming to study and live in Sydney for the first time. Before I continue, let me thank those for writing to me and treating me as if I am one of their uncles in their extended families. As a parent, I can understand their deep concern especially when their child is leaving home for the first time and starting university in another country can be a daunting prospect. To many students, finding a place to call home, for the duration of their overseas studies is one of the most important steps in the initial part of this process of leaving home and away. And finding just the right place for you can make your experience as an overseas student much more enjoyable and beside sparing your parents from worrying from the start.

To be honest, I am better at dishing out recipes than to advice on the type of accommodation for your child. But since I have gone back to uni as a full-time student and graduated in 2008, I have had a good understanding of the student living environment in and off the campus. There is a variety of accommodation options available to students and they range from accommodation dorms or units owned by the universities to private rental accommodation offered by landlords and leasing in Sydney. I am pretty sure that every university has a housing office to assist students to find accommodation while they are studying at the university. There are two sides of the proverbial coin debate between these two type of accommodations. The University Accommodation / Student Accommodation Houses are basically self contained dorms or units rented to students, so that you have your own bathroom and kitchen or share bathroom and kitchen facilities. These can be pretty lively and social, but students will need to adhere to any University policies for behaviour and social events. While university knows very well that every 18 years old student is probably not going to obey any strict behaviour codes, these places will probably expect a level of maturity and consideration. On the other side of the coin, students may decide to rent a house or unit from a private landlord, maybe as part of a group with other students. You are usually responsible for all of their own meals, or as part of a share agreement with their housemates. These share houses can often be noisy places, with lots going on, depending on your housemates. Most suited to independent, social and lively students. But keep in mind that you will be liable for part of any expenses involved in damage to the property... and may be evicted if you are a nuisance!
My final advice is to make use of the internet to find out what possibilities are available, long before you bid farewell to mama and papa at the Changi airport!

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