Studying abroad is an opportunity to be able to study alongside with exploring a new country and having the time of your life. However, it also forces you to grow as an individual since you most likely will face a variety of difficulties and have to solve them yourself as they come.
If you choose to stay in apartment rather than a homestay during your time of studying, you are going to have to get use to being independent a majority of the time. You will have to provide all life necessities for yourself. On the bright side you won’t be completely alone, to keep you company is the presence of roommates. An apartment in London usually houses you and other roommates (up to 3 per bedroom).
What makes this experience better is getting to know your roommates beforehand. Discover everyone’s likes, dislikes, and pet peeves. Creating a bond between each other will make the many months lived together pleasurable for everyone.
Besides all the fun and games that come along with living with in an apartment with your roommates, there are some more serious aspects you need to take into consideration. Establishing ground rules early in your stay is a crucial in order to keep all of your roommates on the same page.
Most of the apartments are self cleaning so it is a good idea to discuss chores as an apartment. How are they going to be evenly distributed? Consider creating a weekly cleaning router to make sure everyone has a role in keeping the apartment clean.
Apartments in London are a smaller than what you would be used to in America. So making sure everyone has their own space is important. Think about privacy; acknowledge that everyone needs “me time”. When having guests over, make sure everyone in the flat is comfortable with any AIFS students coming over (it’s always best to ask beforehand).
With a shared kitchen it is important to discuss cooking and food. How are groceries going to be spilt? Do you want to cook meals together and split the groceries cost. (This makes shopping and cooking a social activity and easier when done together). Or is everyone going to buy their own groceries, if so, how is kitchen time going to be spilt up?
Being best friends with your roommates is not required but enjoying each other’s company does help to make your stay there much easier. If you want to go out exploring around town, asking your roommates will give you company. When it comes time to wanting travel, the easiest people to coordinate is with may be you roommates. If you guys all get along great, chances are you will want to explore everywhere with each other, creating the best memories.
The most important part of establishing a good relationship with your roommates is that it will allow you to have a friend by your side to comfort and support you when you are going through stressful or tough times. Someone who you can cry to or laugh with in the comfort of your own flat.
Sierra Esqueda is a Journalism student from Fullerton College studying abroad in London for Spring 2019. Sierra will be documenting her time abroad via blogs. While in London she wants to get practice with travel writing to be able to see the world and tell those who cannot, about it. Keep checking back for more of Sierra’s blogs here.