Accommodation shall be provided by the institute, otherwise, cheap living options will be available through brokers. Different universities in India will have either of the following facility:
- International Hostels
- Combined Hostels
- Option to live outside
Budget accommodation varies from filthy fleapits to homely guesthouses and, naturally, tends to be cheaper the further you get off the beaten track. It's most expensive in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, and the resorts of Kerala, where prices are at least double those for equivalent accommodation in most other parts of the country.
The cheapest rooms usually have flimsy beds and thin, lumpy mattresses. Most places now offer en-suite bathrooms (or “attached” rooms, as they’re known locally) and hot water, either on tap or in a bucket, though shared showers and toilets with only cold water are still fairly common at the bottom of the range.
It’s always wise to check out the state of the bathrooms and toilets before taking a room. Bedbugs and mosquitoes are other things to check for – splotches of blood around the bed and on the walls where people have squashed them are telltale signs.
If a taxi or rickshaw driver tells you that the place you ask for is full, closed, or has moved, it's more than likely that it's because he wants to take you to a hotel that pays him commission – added, in some cases, to your bill.
Hotel touts operate in many popular tourist spots, working for a commission from the hotels they take you to; this can become annoying and they should be given a wide berth unless you are desperate.
Official and non-official youth hostels, some run by state governments, are spread haphazardly across the country. They give HI cardholders a discount but rarely exclude non-members, nor do they usually impose daytime closing.
Prices match the cheapest hotels; where there is a youth hostel, it usually has a dormitory and may well be the best budget accommodation available – which goes especially for the Salvation Army ones.
A more modern, Western-style breed of hostels has started popping up in major cities and tourist destinations from Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu. These are aimed directly at backpackers and tend to provide better facilities than the old-style hostels, as well as pleasant communal areas ideal for socializing. One of the most widespread chains is Zostel.
If this is your first time away from home, the uni-managed accommodation will be a great first option to help you settle into your new life. The accommodation's proximity to the uni means you won't have to worry about travel fare or time.
Living with other students in close quarters is also a great way of developing friendships outside of the regular working hours. You will also know before-hand about on-campus activities, like social events and cultural gatherings.
Unlike private accommodation, you won't have to worry about electricity, water, and other maintenance-related bills. You’re also likely to be well supported by the university in case anything goes wrong.
Since the university decides your room, you won’t get to choose who you live with. You might have to share a common bathroom with other students. The rooms may be small and less furnished compared to private accommodation options. Living near lots of students can mean having to endure some noise on certain occasions.
Some students may prefer to not live in the campus accommodation and may opt for private apartments. Here we look at the advantages and disadvantages of living in private accommodation.
Living in private accommodation can be appealing, as it enables you to decide exactly where you live and who you live with. Your room is likely to be larger and more spacious than the campus accommodation. You have more options to choose from and can opt to live in a better-furnished space.
Private accommodation is likely to be more expensive than campus accommodation. You will have to deal with landlords and bills and keep a track of your payments. Not being close to the campus can mean having to fund your travel costs. You could also miss out on certain on-campus activities due to distance.
Some Useful Sites
- Student Accommodation One is a site that lets you look into home-stays around the world.
- Student Mundial allows you to find various forms of accommodation abroad.
- Roommate Locator is a good website for finding rooms to rent around the world.
- CasaSwap is a free international housing network, which allows you to find places to rent, sublet, and gives you the option to swap accommodation with other members from all over the world.
- Just Landed allows you to connect with ex-pats around the world. It offers useful guides to 38 countries.
- Sharemyflat is a not-for-profit website where landlords list out available rooms.