Finding housing if you’re planning on going abroad
February 27, 2017
The University has an amazing study abroad program. With hundreds of programs spanning all across the globe, there are many options for students of every major. However, for those studying abroad, figuring out housing for the semester of the year that will be spent on campus can be difficult. Because students pay housing costs with their study abroad fees, no one wants to pay rent twice every month.
Many students who study abroad want to look for a one-semester housing contract in the residence halls. This is one of the best options, especially for those wanting to go abroad during their sophomore year. Many of their friends will be in the same situation, and it is possible to choose a room with a friend also staying in the residence halls.
For those in the residence halls, under Section 11 of the Residence Hall Contract, study abroad is an approved reason to drop the lease before paying the second half of the year’s room and board. Simply go to the Housing Office or go online and cancel your housing contract at the end of the semester.
However, this can be a difficult decision for those studying abroad later in their college careers. When I decided to study abroad, I knew I would be abroad the second semester of my junior year. After spending my sophomore year living in an apartment by myself, I knew going back to the residence halls when all of my friends were moving out would feel like backtracking.
For those involved in the Greek system, there are options to live in the house for one semester, as long as you can find a member of the house to fill your bed when you leave. This can differ between houses, but is not uncommon. However, as I am not involved in a sorority, a Greek house wasn’t an option for me.
Some leasing companies have options for shorter, six-month leases, but these tend to be difficult to find, and generally resign you to living on your own. If this option is not feasible, you will want to find another student to sublease from you, or officially take over your lease for the semester you will be abroad.
Finding a sublease for an apartment is not always an easy task. If you plan on studying abroad in the fall, a good tactic is to look for a senior who is planning on graduating early. They will likely not want to sign a year-long lease or stay in the residence halls, making them great candidates to live in your apartment while you are abroad.
If you are planning on studying abroad in the spring, it can be a little more difficult to find a sublease. Without the advantage of graduating seniors, the best option is to find a student studying abroad the opposite semester of you. Luckily, my roommates knew of a girl in their engineering fraternity who would be studying in Copenhagen in the fall, and I reached out to her.
Although she was not originally planning to live with my roommates, she jumped at the idea of subleasing so she did not have to not pay rent during the fall semester.
For those looking for a sublease, the Facebook page “UIUC Study Abroad Roommate Finder” has posts from people looking for subleases or roommates. One critical point to remember when finding a random roommate is that you need to ensure the person subleasing from you will hold up their end of the agreement. Hopefully they will get along with your other roommates, but at the very least, they need to pay rent on time and not destroy the apartment, especially if you were the one to pay the security deposit.
Additionally, don’t forget to officially sign a subleasing form with the landlord or leasing company.
There are various ways to find a sub-leaser for an apartment or to sign a short lease on campus. Every student should look into studying abroad, and housing should never keep you from your semester traveling Europe – or Asia, South America or Africa.
Isabella is a junior in LAS.