Thursday, 19 August 2010
Looking for the acommodation
Well, the acommodation...
Probably I've just started the most difficult chapter about Leuven but I could achieve it with patience. It's useful to read (and to study hard!) the KU Leuven website, because it's a bit caothic and it's difficult to find what you are looking for. Leuven is a student city, so most builidings are inhabited by students, but it doesn't mean that most of them are comfortable. Generally there are three kinds of acommodation, depending on your habits, what you like and the money you would like to spend on it. It's also important to know in which faculty will you be studying (some of them are inside the ring of the city, it means in the old city centre) and others are in Heverlee or Kessel-Lo (you can go there by bike or bus).
Leuven has got student residences. Some of them are subzided by the university, so in the KU website they say that this kind of residences are only for belgian students or students with a scholarship. It can be sure, but you must ask by email to this residences and some of them have got rooms available. There are other kind of residences, which are private and they have got a lot of rooms in different floors where you have to share the kitchen, the bathroom and the toilets. Some residences have got rooms with private kitchen or bathroom but they are more expensive than the others. The problem with the residences is that you have to apply for the room from abroad, most of them close the applying period in may so you have to be quickly asking information! and also you have to transfer some money for the reservation. I don't know a lot of information about the residences but I know some names (ask to our know-all Google!):
- Thomas Morus
- J.L Vives
- Goede Herder
- Regina Mundi
- Loyola International
These are some names but there are more residencies available for international students. The problem is to find out the information in the KU website (some of the residences don't have their own website). You can try to look for them in flemish (studenten residentie, for example) and maybe you'll find the web and then you can change the language.
Be careful because here in Leuven there are other kinds of buildings called residences too that are not what (at least, in Spain) you expect. This kind of residences normally hasn't got an official website, so you find them while you're looking for a room. They are similar to the official residences and the owner is who takes care of the facilities and hires the cleaning service.
Well, there is a "culture" of the acommodation in Leuven. The KOT. I haven't got enough information about what it means at all, but it usually is a room in a building with other students with their own room. There are a lot of builidings like this, most of them are old but they have been restored (and some others are still too old, in my opinion). The buildings in Leuven are so beautiful (you just have to look for pics on the internet), precisely because their appearence is charming antique. Depending on the owners of the buildings, the facilities can be better or not. It's so important not to arrange the room from abroad because although it seems to be great for you by the description and photos, it may be not your room.
So the best way to look for this kind of acommodation is spending some days here in Leuven during the summer and try to find the suitable room for you and sign the contract. If you have planned to do a summer language course or some tourism before the beginning of the academic year, there are many available rooms during july and august, or you can also find people who can rent you the room any time. The available rooms or studios will change depending on the time you'll arrive in Leuven.
In my case, I'll only spend here the first semestre, so I planned to arrive here in August so as to have enough time to find a good room (I didn't have time to arrange a room in a residence from Spain because I didn't know anything about the procedure and the period). So it's important to remind you that most residences only rent rooms for students who will stay here during the hole academic year (10-12 months), but some of them offer rooms during a semestre.
Well, about the kots, they can be rooms or studios. This mean that a room is smaller than a studio and it usually has got only the bed, a desk and a wardrobe. This also depends on the owner of the room (pay attention on it because some rooms don't have mattress and you'll have to buy it one here!). Some rooms has got private kitchen or private bathroom but most of them are in buildings where you have to share them with other students (I've seen many different rooms that seemed to be good for me but I didn't like because, for example, I have to climb to floors to take a shower or there was only one toilet for eight students). This kind of rooms has got different prices depending on the facilities and the situation, ranging from 200€ to 350€.
The studios are normally bigger than the rooms, most of them has got private kitchen or bathroom. They can be in a building with other studios or not. Some of them are individuals an others has to be shared (so if you come here with a friend it can be the best way to live, probably cheaper). The prices rang from 400€ to 600€.
Well, my choice has been a bit different. Depending on how much time will you stay here, the Housing Service of the university gives a list of available rooms and studios. I found a room in a shared apartment with two belgian students. It is a new building so the facilities are so good and I'll only have to share the bathroom and the kitchen with two people. My room is 30m2 so it's so big and I can invite friends :) The monthly price is 370€. I started looking for rooms between 250-300 but most of them didn't seem comfortable.
I hope this information will be useful :)
Posted by Liss Roura at 14:20