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Renting private accommodation after spending your first year in University Halls can be quite an experience. You will probably start by choosing your roommates, visiting letting agents and checking property websites to find the cheapest and best place to live. One of my priorities while searching for my accommodation was to find a letting agent that didn’t charge me absurd amounts of agent fees.

Being an international student, I found it difficult to find a guarantor, so I had to pay one and a half times my rent for a month as a deposit just so that I could secure the place. Look for agents that don’t charge a lot of money as deposits. Take your time finding the right house for you and your friends – houses are always available.

I started my search with BU’s own letting agency as it is specifically for BU students and then branched out into other sites. StudentWise is another good option as they have cheap and affordable homes. I also browsed through and Gumtree. I did a lot of research, comparisons and quite a few viewings to make sure I found a place that was perfect for everyone.

Once you have found the right place, ensure that you find out how your utilities are paid, as some houses come with everything taken care of and for others you have to pay your own bills. Decide how to split the bills equally with your friends so that at the end of the month you don’t have an argument about who pays and who doesn’t. In the house that I currently live in, we split the bill equally – I pay for gas and electricity, whereas my roommate pays for heating and water.

Although it sounds quite complicated compared to living in student accommodation, I’m enjoying the whole experience as I have learnt a lot about how to be independent and responsible. The most important thing is to find a place that you can call your home, because that’s where you will be creating memories during your wonderful time studying in Bournemouth.