After getting accepted to study abroad by both my home and host university, it was time to begin thinking about my living situation. At Cardiff University, students travelling for a semester can either sublet their room through Erasmus+ or acquire a room when they return.
I was torn on the prospect. There was a degree of stability with having a home to return to after the placement but ultimately, I knew I couldn’t afford to pay for two rooms if nobody could be found to sublet my room to. So I decided to wait until I return next January to find accommodation for the last semester of my degree. This is, of course, risky. However, there will always be places available since students will be travelling for the spring semester.
SiO: Studentsamskipnaden i Oslo
Finding somewhere to live in Norway for the semester was fortunately an easy and accessible platform. The University of Oslo (UiO) is one of twenty-five Norwegian universities who have a relationship with SiO living; a welfare organisation which provides an array of student villages much like Cardiff University.
I was recommended to apply as early as sending off my initial Erasmus+ application to my university as it takes a few months for SiO to consider housing applications. However, I decided to wait until I received my admission acceptance from UiO to be sensible.
The application process is similar to the UK, wherein I choose my tenancy period and could select up to six housing units in a ranking order of most desired to least desired. I spoke to a the Philosophy graduate who went to UiO the previous year for advice on which accommodations were the best. She suggested Kringsjå and Sogn, naming them the Talybonts of Norway in that they were the largest and most sociable student villages.
The Process of Applying
• Pick the type of housing (Single, Couple, Family)
• Select up to six housing units/types of room
• Apply and fill in personal data (including tenancy period as an exchange student)
Money was a crucial factor in my decision process with which accommodation I applied for. The deposit for any SiO housing for a semester is 800NOK (approx. £723.22) so I needed to make sure I had that saved alongside the rent for my house for second year.
I was granted a the full student loan for my final year which would be my support while I am abroad but I was conscious that this loan would need to cover accommodation, food, travel and bills so I narrowed my choices down to Kringsjå and a smaller student block, Bjølsen before taking the risk of only applying for Kringsjå.
What was appealing about Kringsjå is its large student population, its location, and that a direct ten-minute train is next to the village. It is also home to not only students but families and a kindergarten playground as well as cinema nights. The deal-maker was that it was extremely affordable and would leave me a good quantity of money for all my other needs. As an exchange student, I am guaranteed housing with SiO so I wanted to take the chance since I had heard so many good reviews about the village.
After two months of waiting, I found out this week that I got my first choice of accommodation and room at Kringsjå; an en-suite single room.