Let me tell you a thing or two about student accommodation in Malaysia, specifically in the Sunway area, where Monash University is situated.
Firstly, there are a lot of options for students—the area is buzzing with student-friendly condominiums and houses. However, if you are a new international student coming here, your options will probably be narrowed down by on-campus accommodation (which is obviously overpriced, unless you are willing to pay for the convenience of getting out of bed 5 minutes before class and still making it) and Sunway Group affiliated apartments. Of course, you can eventually move out to the better alternatives once you are settled.
Secondly, international students are unlikely to share rooms, at least from my experience, therefore opting for the single room option instead of getting a roommate. I have never shared a room with someone, although I do have a shared bathroom (split between 3 of us, girls). Many also go for the option of having an attached bathroom to spare them from sharing it.
I think that opting for a single room is common and preferable here because it is affordable. If you live in a house (e.g. in PJS 9) a small-sized room can cost you around RM600 every month, whereas a room of the same size will cost you around RM1150 on the campus accommodation! In a condo, it will cost around RM800.
Note: prices vary among property owners.
I live in a medium-sized room in Lagoon View, which is a condominium 10-minutes walking distance away from Monash. Monthly rent costs me RM900 including utilities.
And the number of housemates I have is around 6 (it varies seasonally because sometimes some of them move out or go on holidays—which is bliss!).
Here comes my third point: the housemates or roommates you live with are crucial to your homely well-being.
To be honest, I have been lucky to have a quiet and well-behaved housemate, whether I was living on campus or off-campus.
However, it is more complicated than that.
The Ideal Housemate:
- Has made an agreement with you on what you would like to share and not share, including the kitchen space. For example, allocating cupboards to each of you, and… are we sharing toilet paper?
- Does not make a mess or makes a mess and cleans everything afterward.
- Always puts things back where they belong.
- Is polite and says ‘hi’ or at least smiles when you see each other.
- Doesn’t have to be a close friend, but when things go wrong in the apartment, she/he is there to help.
- Once you arrive at your new place, you will most likely see NO ONE around. Everyone stays in their room and does their own thing in Malaysia, and agreements are made silently (through hints and the place in general) unless the allocation of the shared space, e.g. kitchen cupboards, is already made by the owner.
- Everyone has their own equipment and toilet paper, and you will have to. I’ve never really shared anything at all, unless if my housemates ask for it, and yes it doesn’t hurt to ask 🙂
- This does not apply to everyone but beware of those who don’t know how to clean up after they make a mess, especially in the kitchen. Hello, cockroaches and flies and foul odours.
- No, not everyone puts things back where they belong. Where is my peeler???
- Well, I’m glad that my housemates are nevertheless decent human beings that acknowledge my presence.
- Some will help, some won’t; but as long as you guys can fix it, it’s fine.
Note: I have never shared accommodation with my friends before, and frankly I don’t mind doing things on my own and living with strangers/acquaintances, as long as they are respectable people and easy to live with. Moreover, it is healthy to take a break from seeing your friends once in a while.
Finally, housemates or roommates are obviously not the only factors that affect your choice of student accommodation. I used to think that, as long as I had a bed, I would live anywhere. Well, that proved not to be true. We all have our little pet peeves and lifestyle. Therefore it is important (to me at least) to fit a place that fits me as a person.
So what are the things I would consider before choosing an accommodation? What are yours?
Well… BONUS! I have created a student accommodation checklist that you can use when scouting for a new place to stay, and the best part is you can download it for free!*
It is one among the many freebies I’m planning to give away to help you before and during the semester, and yes, it is part of the Survival Guide for University Students.
How do you access it? Well, it’s simple; all you have to do is to sign up for the Survival Guide’s newsletter here:
The checklist will be sent in the very first email of this Survival Guide newsletter, which is going to be sent out this Friday (23/06 – tomorrow!), along with your weekly updates and college/university advice.
I just wanted to make something special for my fellow subscribers to celebrate that first newsletter.
*Time’s up! Unfortunately, the date to receive the freebie has passed. Nevertheless, you can still download it for free HERE!
Here’s to surviving university together!
Your turn: What is your ideal type of accommodation or housemate situation? Let me know in the comments below!
D. K. Waye.