From someone who’s been there, done it and is about to start doing it again.
The single biggest stress of my year abroad, and that of most of my friends too has been accommodation. Whether it’s finding it, keeping it or hating it and having to start over again we’ve all gotten wrapped up in it one way or another and there have been some pretty low points!
Through the struggles and frustration I’ve decided there are different stages of turmoil when looking for a temporary home and so I’ve scribbled them down below. (Take it with a pinch of salt and always remember…it’ll be fine in the end!!!)
The world is my oyster, I can do anything and I’ll definitely find some cool, like-minded, young people to live with. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
This stage of optimism is the most positive stage there is, though this doesn’t usually last for too long and is quickly tarnished by the famously wild WG-gesucht requests.
What requests I hear the lucky ones murmur who’ve never had to deal with this bullsh*t… Let me tell you:
‘Must be pescatarian’, ‘must be between 27-29’, ‘must be willing to contribute to the WG art collection’, ‘not someone too serious, but also someone who adheres vehemently to the cleaning and WG meeting routine and know’s how to play the violin to add to the musical prowess of the group… Oh and one last thing, only Bio, organic grains allowed through the front door.’
2. Last minute will work better
Seeing only rooms available from right this moment onwards, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that prime time to start searching and seeing reasonable results will be just under a month before you move.
3. Oh shit I’m moving in 2 weeks
Number 3 leads on perfectly from number 2. After starting up your search again, now at a reasonable time frame before you move, you’ve had no luck and now you’re getting ever closer to there just being a single number of digits worth of days before you’re who knows where. This is when the panic monster creeps in and really- ironically- sets up home.
4. Gets ripped off
Unless you’ve found yourself a little gem of a room, and just put up with only being able to wash your socks in the sink because of whatever faulty appliances or strict WG-rules (we discussed them earlier)…Then you’re probably in the same boat as many of us. We end up splashing out purely to have ‘somewhere’. Somewhere is clearly better than nowhere but you’re left exhausted and with a bad taste in your mouth that despite your best efforts this is what you got lumped with- a 700 a month ‘studio flat’ and an appointment at the German Registration office.
5. Finally finds something just before you move again
Eventually, -thank God- something ends up coming along an your luck finally changes. You breath a sigh of relief and reflect on how the hell you just got through that mess, sit down after your Ikea trip in an effort to both treat yourself and finally feel at home, and then glance to the suitcase in the corner you know you’re going to have to pack your life back into in 6 weeks.
*Laughs about the whole experience and comments on how it was a learning experience…before going through the whole thing again.*
It’s the cynical circle of life that is looking for accommodation abroad, and as someone who’s currently at stage 2, please send good thoughts. Chocolate and care packages are also readily accepted.
P.S. it’s not all that grim😉