Isanya Köhne

As a student, many of you will move into a house that you will probably share with a bunch of others. Whether it’s a flat, a house, or even a dorm, sharing your space with another can be strange, especially if you’ve never done it before (other than your parents place of course). For those of you who’ve been living with roommates for a while now or who will start living with some soon, here’s a bunch of tips provided by students from many different nationalities who live in the Netherlands and share their space with one, three, sometimes even sixteen others. Check it out: 

1. Prep yourself for the room tour
In the Netherlands, a lot of houses are filled with students who pick their roommates themselves. The usual procedure is that after you’ve replied to a room via Facebook and the hosts of the house like your message, you’re invited to come to a so called ‘room tour’. During this evening you’ll have the chance to meet the students that live there and you get to show them who you are. In case you’re not yet in the Netherlands, you can ask for a Skype call and impress them that way! This is a moment where you’ll get to sell yourself, just like any other interview, prepare yourself for any relevant questions and make sure you show interest in the others as well. If you’ve organized a room throughout an agency, then it’s a matter of the landlord or organisation who picks you and you’ll have to wait till you arrive in the Netherlands to see who you’ll be sharing your space with. 

2. Get on track about the house rules 
We know how boring it sounds, but every shared house has its rules. You’ll be living together and that will guarantee that there’ll be an occasional mess, things missing, and so on. To avoid feeling like a cleaning lady, most houses have a cleaning schedule. This means that different tasks around the house are done by every single one of you who share the common areas. If you notice that you don’t have this, recommended by all of us, create one. There’s nothing worse than having to prepare your food in a dirty kitchen or showering with a clogged up drain. Together you can make sure that it’s nice to live and spend time together in shared areas. A couple other topics we recommend discussing with your roommates are; collecting mail, taking out the trash, and keeping study hours into account. ;)

3. Respect others but don’t be afraid to speak up
Is someone in your house lacking in doing their chores or is someone being loud too often? Don’t be afraid to speak up about things that bother you. One thing about living together is that you’ll have to keep in mind that you’re not alone, and it applies to everyone in your house. Now there’s a small chance that you’ll have to deal with an interrupting roommate, but if you do, talk to them about it. It’s better to address your concerns than developing grudges in your room while your roommate is blasting their music. Again, you live together and if anything your roommates will respect your wishes. Is someone not sticking to the rules of the house, tell that person with the rest of your roommates. There’s nothing wrong with forgetting to clean your dishes, but remind your roommate that it’s still there. And trust us, many of you’re roommates will become your friends so don’t feel afraid to talk to them and accept it when it’s vice versa. 

4. Become friends 
As international students living in the Netherlands, your roommates, together with your classmates, are the first people you’ll meet. We cannot encourage you enough to become friends with them. Not only will it be great to live together with friends, these are people that will be there for you, literally in just a few steps away. Coming home to a full house of friends is probably just as good as coming home to your family, if not better. Throwing a party? You can do it together in your house! Want to have dinner together with someone? Your roommates might be down! It’s truly something that makes living abroad one of the greatest things if you get along with your roommates. Hey, they did pick you for a reason! ;)

So for those of you who are currently living with roommates, and those of you who soon will be, take these few tips into account. Even though they might seem obvious, it’s hereby confirmed by all of us that it makes your study abroad extremely worthwhile when you keep these things in mind. Let us know what your experiences with your roommates are!