One of the serious issues that applicants face along with applying for a visa and admitting to the dream university is finding a roof over their heads. How can students in the Czech Republic solve accommodation issue? Live in a dormitory or rent an apartment?
Alexandra Baranova, the GoStudy blog writer, weighed all the pros and cons of student life in the Czech Republic.
Seven students in one kitchen
"...and seven students in the same room and queueing up for a shower. You should be prepared for this if you are going to live in a dormitory in the Czech Republic. If you are nervously shivering now - do not worry: the author exaggerated a little, not everything is as bad as it sounds.
Nevertheless, there are some features and cons you should know about if you are looking to stay in a dormitory in the Czech Republic."
"Students choose to live in a dormitory mostly because it’s budget-friendly. In big cities like Prague, there are high-comfort dormitories, where everyone has individual room with en-suite bathroom, a good repair, and so on. But the cost of such a room can be quite high, which means that the main financial argument in favor of living in a dormitory loses its meaning.
“Common” + “living” – living in a dormitory implies a willingness to live together, be ready to compromise, and share everything you have: time, space, food, etc., even if you don’t want to do it at all.
They say you cannot choose your family. This is true for the dormitory roommates as well. Therefore, a roommate can become a lifetime friend or someone who makes your life a misery.
If you are an introvert, the dormitory life is not for you, because a purely personal space, privacy or silence will only be a dream for you.
If you have a serious health condition that requires a certain daily routine, living with roommates can discourage you.
If you study medicine or law, you should think twice before choosing a dormitory as accommodation. Studying these disciplines can be incredibly intense and requires to absorb huge volumes of material in the shortest possible time. If you have a roommate, who studies in a relaxed mode at the Department of Economics and comes home late from partying hard, it is only a matter of time before you start getting on each other’s nerves and misunderstanding each other.
A dormitory is absolutely not for you if you are a perfectionist and obsessed with cleanliness."
However, living in a student “beehive” has its benefits. What are they?
"If you feel depressed, you will always find someone to have a cup of coffee with or throw a pity party (like, complain about a bad temper of your tutor).
If your printer is out of ink and paper or money on the card run out you can knock on a neighbour’s door or write a post asking for help on the dormitory Facebook group. You’ll get help sooner than you may expect.
Students' scholarships in the Czech Republic do not comply with the minimum cost of living. If you have run out of flour (salt, sugar, bread, tea, sausage, coffee) refer to the previous section.
Living in a dormitory brings people together. If you are used to living at home, under the wind of your parents, until recently, living as a student in the Czech Republic will be your first experience of living independently. People close to you during this time can become your friends for life.
Imagine if you are preparing for an exam and suddenly you realize that you just don’t have a clue what the fifth section of the third chapter of the textbook on mathematical analysis means. You can ask one of your neighbors for help, someone might know a thing or two about it."
Cost of living in a dormitory in the Czech Republic
Cost of the university dormitory varies from CZK 2,000 (for place in a 4-bed room) to CZK 7,000 (for a 1-bed room).
"But suppose you carefully weighted all the pros and cons and gave up living in a dormitory in the Czech Republic. If you have no relatives in the Czech Republic who can accommodate you, your only option is to live in a rented apartment.
Students in the Czech Republic can choose one of two possible accommodation options:
Rent an apartment together with your friends
Rent an apartment only for themselves
The first option, in fact, is not much different from living in a dormitory: you will have to share the bathroom and kitchen with other people - only the scenery differs. This option is for students who cannot accept the concept of living in a dormitory but are not against sharing the space with roommates in a comfortable and modern flat."
The second option is ideal for those who:
loves and wants to live independently
studies and (or) works a lot
can afford it financially"
Cost of living in an apartment for students in the Czech Republic
Cost of a rented apartment may vary depending on the region or city. The average cost of one-bedroom apartment in a good area in Prague is about CZK 12,000-15,000 exclusive of utility bills. In province, the cost can be 20–30% cheaper.
Here is a list of pleasant differences between living in an apartment and living in a dormitory:
"In some dormitories there are rules that students must follow, like moving out or to another room for the summer. You have to be ready to pack up quickly. Living in a rented apartment does not imply such “seasonality”: you just live together with others as per the terms of the tenancy agreement.
By agreement with the apartment owner, you may even be allowed to have a pet. In this case you must be ready for extra repair expenses as you will have to repair the floorboards or replace wallpaper damaged by the cat’s scratching. Pets are strictly forbidden in a dormitory (with rare exceptions).
When you live alone in a rented apartment, you can safely have guests who can stay overnight: there is no need to worry about coordinating them with others and stipulate a meeting schedule with a roommate for a month in advance.
If you are an esthete and have excellent taste, your choice to live in a Soviet-style concrete high-rise building or in the pre-revolutionary building with beautiful two-meter stucco ceilings will be obvious. You can usually find a studio apartment in an old district in Prague at a good price."
Despite all the obvious benefits of living in a rented apartment, there are drawbacks you should consider.
"Owner of a rented apartment may be a person who is far from always being friendly and adequate.
A tenancy agreement is the only document allowing the tenant to live in the apartment. However, the owner can spring upon the tenant and ask him to move out if they decide to sell the apartment.
A tenant usually addresses all the matters concerning the maintenance of the apartment in an acceptable condition, from repairing the washing machine to purchasing new hinges for a closet. The owner will only pay for a part of the expenses at best. Utility charges can be considerable, especially if you live in an old house that should be well heated in winter.
A rented apartment can be initially furnished or unfurnished – in the latter case, this means bare walls and, therefore, significant financial investment.
It might be difficult to rent an apartment in the immediate vicinity of the university if you want to stay within your budget. It’s very likely that the apartment you like and can afford is located at the other end of the city.
The cost of living in a dormitory usually remains unchanged throughout the course of the study program. As for a rental apartment, the owner may increase the rent after the first year depending on changes in the real estate market. Looking for an apartment, you cannot predict what kind of people your neighbours will be. In a dormitory, you are not the person who has to deal with troublemakers, in a rented apartment it’s another matter. Neighbors who play drums in the evenings or make repairs from 6 am on Sunday, a barking dog, noisy children, cigarette smoke from the balcony below - you will have to solve all the problems with the house inhabitants by yourself."
Good luck, friends, in your search and settling down in your new home!