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How To Decide Whether To Flat With Local Students Or Fellow Internationals

In all honesty, you never really know what you are going to get with your flatmates. It’s literally luck of the draw. But, if you’re tossing up between living with fellow internationals or local students, here are some pros and cons that may influence your choice.

Pros Of Living With Fellow Internationals:

  • You’re all in the same boat, away from home and out of your comfort zone. Knowing that you’re not alone in this situation can make you feel a little more at ease and allow for friendships to form fast; particularly if there is someone there from your home country that you can bond with.
  • They want to make the most of it just as much as you do. Any events that may be on, including nights out or weekend trips, you’ll likely find they are interested in going with you!
  • The feeling of having so many different nationalities in one room getting along is actually quite liberating.
  • You have the opportunity to learn so much from each other; learn parts of their language and have fun celebrating other international holidays such as Thanksgiving (American), or even days like Australia Day or Finnish Independence Day.

flat flag

Cons Of Living With Fellow Internationals:

  • There is a chance you could be placed with students that have come together from a different country and prefer to speak in their own language. You may initially feel quite excluded from some conversations, yet this should improve as you all become more comfortable around each other.
  • Cultural difference can be difficult; if you speak different languages it may hinder communication especially if there is no direct translation. You also need to be patient and respectful of people’s different mannerisms, food choices and lifestyles.

Pros Of Living With Locals:

  • In their eyes you are the unique one; your life and your accent is exciting to them and they are often interested in your stories.
  • They’ll give you great advice on where to shop for all your local necessities.
  • Whether you are going to learn or perfect the local language, or simply just enjoy the accent, living with local students will give you the best opportunity to do this; to embrace their culture and pick up the local slang.
  • Friends and family will also be curious about the local people, so spending time with your flatmates is a great way to get to know the locals and have stories to tell.

Cons Of Living With Locals:

  • They may go home on the weekends or over the holidays, which can leave you feeling pretty lonely.
  • Unlike internationals who will usually return home the same time as you, the locals will still be there having fun, going out and doing everything that you used to do with them, which you can usually see through their social media stories. This may lead to that dreaded FOMO feeling, as you are no longer living that life.

flat simpsons

Again it’s hard to say what your flatmates will be like but to get the best of both worlds it’s worth finding a balance. If you live with internationals you can always get to know the locals that are in your classes and if you live with the locals, there are still plenty of events especially for international students where you can meet other people in your situation.

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Eliza Velk

From Sydney Australia, Eliza Velk is a Marketing and Media student studying at Macquarie University. She spent 5 months abroad doing a semester in Leeds, England and developed a serious passion for travel as she ventured to 15 different countries during that time. She enjoys beautiful scenery and good food, and still thinks snow is a novelty.


One comment

  1. This is all spot on! I was lucky to get the best of both worlds – I lived with one local and two other international students, one French and one German, so there was a nice mix of cultures in our flat!

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