If you’re an international student who recently moved to the U.S. for school, you’re likely inundated with many tasks and processes that you’re not entirely familiar with. Finding housing is a complex task to begin with but being an international student new to the states adds another layer to navigate.
While getting accepted to your dream school is an exciting time, it’s also important to find the right housing situation that will help you easily assimilate to your new surroundings. Here are 5 tips to make your search for international student housing easy and efficient.
1. Ask Friends & Family First
When it comes to apartment searching as an international student, looking within your network of friends and acquaintances may make the process much easier. As the process of renting requires significant verification and evaluation, moving in with a known person makes things easy as well as increasing your chances of getting approved. While we don’t discourage using online resources and tools, we suggest starting with your inner-circle.
2. Prepare for Alternative Document Requests
The most challenging aspect of searching for apartments as an international student is the verification process. As you may not have the standard paperwork required for an application such as tax-returns and paycheck stubs, it’s important to know which alternative document types can substitute as paperwork.
Before launching into your apartment search, make sure to have copies of your official identity document/passport, your acceptance letter from the school and proof that you have the funds to cover your rent.
3. Beware of Rental Scams
As an international student, you may be susceptible to rental scams due to several reasons. Internet rental scammers may assume that an international student isn’t as savvy about spotting red flags or that they’re high need for fast housing will make them an easy target.
If you’re apartment hunting online, especially on sites such as Craigslist, be watchful for warning signs such as overzealous realtors, request for personal information too soon or requests for money transfers. If a situation doesn’t feel right, it’s most often not.
House hunting as an international student can be complicated. However, taking certain steps can make the process much easier for you. Follow these tips and you’ll be enjoying your new chapter in a new country before long!