We need to talk…

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I need to tell you something, and the thing is it’s pretty important…Uppsala has a housing crisis.

There’s something you should know when considering Uppsala as a study destination and this applies mainly to master’s students!

Luckily for students from outside of the EU (fee-paying or scholarship holders), the university will help find you accommodation. If you’re a European national then I’m afraid you’ll have to find your own housing and unfortunately you’re pretty much on your own, but fear not, I have some tips! I’ll say it now; it’s not going to be easy, you’ll either find somewhere right away or you’ll be ripping your hair out until the last minute where a place crops up weeks before you’re due to move. The housing situation in Uppsala is bad and they know it. With the influx of more and more students each year, this city struggles to provide available housing everyone. Someone told me that Uppsala university wasn’t allowed to own student accommodation, unlike most other universities globally, therefore all housing companies are privately owned. Although the struggle to find housing is well and truly a huge factor when deciding on where to go, please don’t let this put you off. With good organisation and preparation, you may find yourself finding housing rather quickly but for now, let’s get the basics down…

Start looking NOW. It doesn’t matter if you’ve even applied yet or not, the earlier you start searching, the better. Housing companies operate on a queuing system, so the longer you’ve been signed up, the more points you accumulate and when a room becomes free, that person then becomes the new tenant. Warning though, these queues are long and it can take up to 2/3 years to get offered a place. I’ve heard of some people waiting up to 6 years just to occupy one room (but this is obviously extreme!). This means that some Swedish students have been queuing since they were about 16! Obviously this is an incredibly unfair system since how are we as international students supposed to know about the housing crisis before we’ve even discovered Uppsala as a possible option? I agree that it’s ridiculous so whoever is in charge, SORT IT OUT!

Nonetheless, here’s a list of some housing companies, so sign up now!

Some housing companies operate on a first come, first served basis. This means that the person, who replies the quickest to the ad, gets the room! Companies like Heimstaden do this and I was very lucky to get a first-hand contract this way. They own the buildings located in Flogsta which is where most students live however this is not limited to students and you might find yourself living with people of all ages working all sorts of jobs. Here’s the site: http://www.heimstaden.com/

Then there’s the second hand contracts… people often rent out their apartments and rooms for students. Many are usually students who are renting a place but are going on exchange so you are essentially paying their rent until they’re back. The major downside is that when they want to move back, you have to be out and with the housing crisis being as bad as it is, you could be left homeless! I have friends who have to leave their places by January and although they’ve been searching since they’ve arrived, they still haven’t found anywhere. By anywhere, this literally means ANYWHERE. They’re not fussy at all as to where they live but there aren’t any rooms physically available since the competition for a room is so high. 2 hand housing often comes up on the student site Studentboet: http://www.studentboet.se/

I write with total honesty because I want to let you all know how serious you have to be in the search for housing. Since EU students are lucky enough to not pay tuition fees, you’re on your own in the housing hunt. I won’t sugar coat the situation for you, this is exactly what I think after 4 months of being here. I am still in the housing queues and am nowhere near the beginning of the queue. I am lucky but many are not so please be prepared if you are seriously considering studying here (I’ve heard it’s almost the same in Stockholm too). There’s no doubt that studying in Sweden is a rewarding experience but you must be aware of the housing situation so that you don’t get any nasty shocks! One friend turned up in Sweden to find out his room wasn’t even furnished (this is very common and neither was mine!), so if you get your contract, read it over and over again!

If you’re an exchange student through an agreement with your home university, don’t worry. You’ll already have a room and furniture sorted out for you when you get there … you lucky devils you.

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Written by Francesca

17 Nov 2014