College Roommate Tips

Summer Socializing Ideas for New Roommates

By Kaitlin Hurtado

When it comes to your college experience, you are more than likely going to be experiencing living with a roommate at some point. While some may be lucky enough to room with someone they know for the entirety of their college years, others experience living with several roommates that are pretty much strangers to them when they first move in together.

Many college students experience changes in their living arrangements during the summer months, whether they are moving to a new city for a summer internship or if they get new roommates as their old roommates move back home for the summer. Whatever the case may be, you can use the summer as the perfect time to socialize with your new roommates and get the most out of your time together.

Roommate Finder: Summer Socializing Ideas for New Roommates

Throw a housewarming get together
Depending on your situation, you may not know anything about your roommates or may have never interacted with each other before. Spending one-on-one time may not be your priority at first, but you can definitely join forces to plan a smaller housewarming get-together to connect your respective friend groups for a day or night.

Hosting a small get-together at your apartment could be a great way to get to know your new roommates and their friends. You are more than likely going to be seeing their friends throughout your time living together and getting acquainted with them from the beginning can help make everyone feel more comfortable with each other.

If you have just moved into the apartment, hosting a small gathering is also the perfect reason to get completely unpacked and start making the apartment your own when you are expecting company. You will not want unpacked boxes and unorganized chaos greeting your guests – it will also get you and your roommates on the same page about setting up common spaces early on in your time together.

Have a movie night/day in
While many want to spend their summer venturing out and about, it’s nice to unwind in the comfort of your own home. Spending some time at home can give you some much-needed rest from all your summer adventures and your budget a much-needed break as a movie night in can be as inexpensive as you want it to be. Not sure where to start?

Depending on how much time you are working with, you can choose a single TV series to start binge-watching. This can even kick start what can be a weekly or biweekly roommate binge-watching session when you all find yourselves home for a couple of hours at the same time. If you and your roommate can’t land on just one TV series to watch together, you can each pick a movie to watch. You can go about your selection randomly or you can go with a theme, such as your favorite Disney movie, favorite rom-com, or favorite scary movie.

Pair your movie night in with your favorite foods. You can either opt to cook a meal together as roommates or band together and choose your favorite take-out spots as your fuel for the night.

Explore your favorite local spots
If you or your roommate are new to the area as first years or moving for a summer internship, summer is a great time to explore the area. If your roommate is temporarily living in the area for the summer, take them around and show them all your favorite places. Your favorite cafe for studying, your favorite restaurant for some cheap, but delicious food, and your favorite things to do as a college student in the area.

Even if you and your roommates are not new to the area, you are new to their interests and preferences as they are to yours. Take turns showing each other your favorite spots around the area, and you may just end up finding your own new favorite spots to visit even after your time living together ends.

Go on a mini road trip
If you and your roommates have access to a car, take a classic summer road trip together. We’re not talking a cross-country road trip that will take days to complete, but a small-scale road trip can be a great way to kickstart your time together. Going on a road trip together can encourage conversation between you and your roommates as you are stuck together in an enclosed space and can’t simply hide away in your own bedrooms to avoid that uncomfortable, getting to know each other small talk that is common for new roommates.

Take turns being the car DJ, share your favorite car snacks, and choose a destination you all can agree on (a tourist hotspot, beach, amusement park, and so on).

Living with new roommates for the summer doesn’t have to make the next few months a bore. With the right planning, it can be the perfect way to introduce new people and memories in your life – have fun starting with these summer socializing ideas.

What To Do When A Roommate Doesn't Pay Rent

By Ashley Paskill

One of the most common issues when living with a roommate is making sure both parties pay their share of the rent. It can be tough when you pay your share but your roommate does not, especially if that means your utilities and living space are in jeopardy of being taken away. Luckily, there are ways to approach your roommate calmly to help resolve the issue.

Student Roommates: What To Do When A Roommate Doesn't Pay Rent

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Talk it out

The first approach is to have an open conversation with your roommate. Be calm and non-accusatory but remind them of why it is crucial that they pay their share of the rent. Talking about paying bills can be a sensitive subject, especially if your roommate is struggling with finances currently, so being gentle and kind in how you speak is important. Show that you are willing to talk about it and compromise as needed. Avoid threatening them with moving out or taking legal action, especially during the first conversation. This may have to occur at a later point but avoid this at the beginning.

Refer to your roommate agreement

When you first moved in with your roommate, you likely made a roommate agreement that highlighted how much the rent costs and when it needs to be paid. You may have also included what to do if someone is unable to pay their share. Refer to the agreement to see how you should proceed and see if any action needs to be taken. Again, try to be calm and understanding when bringing up the roommate agreement, but be firm in the fact that they need to pay their share.

Inform your landlord

Talk to your landlord about the situation, even if you think it is a one-time thing that will get resolved. The landlord may be willing to give you some extra time to get rent in or may waive the late fees for the month. If things escalate and you end up leaving the lease or finding a new roommate, your landlord may be willing to give you a small break if they are aware of the situation surrounding these actions. They may have some tips for ways to handle the situation since they have likely seen others go through something similar.

Check your lease

When you and your roommate signed the lease, you agreed to be equally accountable for the rent. Many leases have terminology that has each tenant as “jointly and severally liable” for their portion of rent. Make sure your roommate is fully aware that they are legally responsible for their portion of rent since they signed the lease. Knowing this, they will be more willing to fix the situation in a timely manner and get the rent paid. Hopefully, knowing their legal obligation, they will be more willing to be careful moving forward so this situation does not arise again.

Cover the cost

While this is not ideal, you may have to cover the cost of the roommate’s portion of the rent, especially if you both signed the lease. Do this, even if you have a “split between roommates” as the option for paying rent. You can switch back to this option next month. The landlord can seek the payment from any cotenant on the lease, including yourself, so you may have to pay for your roommate’s share. However, make sure your roommate pays you back in a timely fashion. If they do not, you may be able to take further action down the line.

Paper trail

After speaking with your roommate, consider writing a letter to them to express your concerns in writing. This starts a paper trail. Be sure to date the letter and make a copy for yourself for your own records. This way, if you need to take action down the road, you have evidence that you were in communication about the rent not being paid. You may also want to include a copy of the roommate agreement to show that there is a clause about rent that the roommate signed off on. Also, be sure to document your roommate’s behavior and anything that they say out loud.

Sue your roommate

If things do not get resolved and your roommate does not pay their fair share of the rent, you can sue them in a small claims court. Doing so is inexpensive as you do not need a lawyer (most small claims courts do not allow for lawyers). Just be sure you know the maximum of how much you can sue for when it comes to what you are owed. If your roommate owes more than what you are allowed to sue for in a small claims court, consider speaking with a landlord-tenant lawyer about what options are available to you.

Having a roommate on your lease that does not pay rent can be stressful. Knowing that there are people and resources available to help you and things you can do to rectify the situation quickly will put you at ease and make things better in a timely manner.

Working From Home With Roommates

By Ashley Paskill

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home. This is remaining true, even as more companies are returning to in-person work. With this rise, you and your roommate may both be working from home, which can present challenges. Knowing how to make things work so you can be productive during your workday is crucial.

Roommate Tips: Working From Home With Roommates

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Create a schedule

One of the most important things you and your roommate can do is create a schedule for your shifts. Know what times you each have meetings and calls so you can avoid interrupting. Try to plan lunchtime for the same time as your roommate so you can eat together. Having a schedule with set times for working helps you minimize distracting each other and can help you both keep a work-life balance. You may not always stick to the schedule perfectly, but having one in place can help you and your roommate stay focused and motivated.

Set up an office

You and your roommate having your own separate workspaces can help eliminate distractions. Have things on hand such as chargers, office supplies, and desk accessories to help maximize productivity. Make sure you have everything set up before your day starts so you do not have to ask your roommate where something could be and have your roommate do the same to avoid distracting you. If having two separate spaces for your desks is not feasible for your living arrangement, consider using noise-canceling headphones so you do not get distracted by each other’s phone calls and meetings. With this, also ensure that you have a place to work and a place for life. Eat meals away from your desk.

Dress for work

It may be tempting to roll out of bed and just work in your pajamas. However, changing into work attire, even if it is not the fanciest outfit, can signal to coworkers that you are in work mode. At the end of the workday, change into more comfortable clothes to tell your roommate that you are available to talk and do whatever you want to do outside of work. This helps to create a boundary with your roommate so they do not distract you. You will also feel more motivated to work since you are dressed for the occasion and will feel the part.

Treat roommates like coworkers

Ultimately, you and your roommate are both trying to get work done. Reframe your thoughts to think of them as a coworker during business hours so that you can both focus on getting work done. Use headphones to play music, be as quiet as possible when moving around, and avoid distracting them unless it is absolutely necessary. On the flip side, do not take it personally if they are unable to talk at a moment when they are trying to get a work task done. Respect requests to talk about things later, just like you would expect them to respect this wish if you made it.

Make morning coffee

In the morning, make it a point to make coffee for yourself and your coworker so you can be energized for your workday. If you find this to be overwhelming, you may even decide to take turns making coffee each day with your roommate. Have any fixings your roommate likes on hand so that you can both have what you like. Not only will your roommate appreciate your thoughtfulness, but you can also have some coffee. It is a win-win situation all around!

Communication is key

Living with a roommate requires communication, and having them working in the space with you requires a little extra communication. Share your schedules and avoid having others come over to work without letting each other know. Make use of chat apps and websites to stay informed throughout the day. Set aside moments where you can talk face-to-face and check in with each other to help alleviate the lack of other coworkers in your space. Just know the signals and schedule so you know when to not disturb your roommate.

Share communal spaces

Unless you have a meeting that needs to remain confidential, make use of communal spaces when working with your roommate. This will help you feel like you are actually in the office. Staying in your bedroom can wreak havoc on your mental health. Set up desks in a living room so you and your roommate can keep each other company throughout the day. If you want to go to a private place to take a meeting or a phone call, let your roommate know so they know not to disturb you. You may even want to take turns or create a schedule for using certain rooms so you can change scenery throughout the day.

Working from home with a roommate who is doing the same thing can be difficult, but keeping communication open and working together will help you be successful with getting work tasks completed.

How to Make the Most of a Short-Term Summer Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Many college students experience a variety of roommate situations during their college years, from random roommates in their freshman year dorms to living with close friends in their later college years. Another common type of roommate situation for college students are short-term summer roommates. You may opt to sublease another apartment in between leases or your roommate may have sublet their share of the apartment to another while they traveled elsewhere for the summer months.

If you are lucky, these short-term summer roommates may be someone you are already familiar with, such as a classmate that mentioned needing summer housing or a friend of a friend. However, your short-term summer roommate may be a complete stranger to you prior to move-in.

Like with any roommate situation, there are things you can do to make the experience easier for everyone involved and keep any issues to a minimum. Keep reading for tips on how to make the most of a short-term summer roommate.

College Roommates: How to Make the Most of a Short-Term Summer Roommate

Create a set of roommate guidelines
Regardless of how long you and your short-term summer roommate will be living together, you will want to create some roommate guidelines for the both of you to live by during your time together. It may seem like extra work if you are not going to be sharing a space for more than a few weeks, but establishing some guidelines can get you and your short-term summer roommate on the same page and minimize the amount of clashing you can experience while living together.

The sooner you can create guidelines, the better. This doesn’t mean you have to create an in-depth handbook that covers any possible issue, but you should definitely discuss different talking points that can make your time together headache-free. Some things you will want to consider may include:
– Guest policy. Discuss how often can people come over, how many people are allowed over, and if guests are able to spend the night.
– Cleaning duties. Discuss how each roommate is responsible for the cleanliness of the apartment, from taking out the trash to cleaning common areas like the kitchen and living room.
– Parking. Depending on where you are living, you may want to discuss your parking situation, especially if you are splitting a designated parking space among several roommates.

Getting some guidelines established prior to moving in, or in your first couple of days together, can get the tough discussions out of the way and make way for a carefree summer together.

Start a crash course on getting to know each other
You may already be familiar with your short-term summer roommate depending on the situation, but you may also have no clue who you are going to be living with for the next couple of months. The downside of a short-term roommate is that you will not get all the time to get to know each other as you live together for a longer period of time – the busy months of summer will fly by before you know it. Rather than accepting you are going to be living with a near-stranger in close quarters for a couple of months, get to know each other.

If you know who you are going to live with a few weeks in advance, use the time to reach out to your soon-to-be summer roommate to get to know them a little better prior to move-in. Just having a few conversations to become more comfortable can help put your mind at ease. If you happen to live in the same area already, you can also plan to meet up once or twice in person before you move in to get acquainted.
Living with a complete stranger can be daunting for anyone – getting the opportunity to become acquainted with your roommate before you actually have to share a living space can help eliminate some of that anxiety for both you and your roommate.

Don’t force a friendship
As much fun as it is to live with a close friend, it’s not for everyone. While you do not want to live with a complete stranger for your summer living situation, you shouldn’t force a friendship between you and your summer roommate. You or your roommate may be super busy between school, work, and their personal lives, leaving little time to foster a close relationship during the limited time you two have together.

With that being said, you should not expect your roommate to spend all their time with you, and they shouldn’t expect the same of you. Yes, you may instantly click and become friends, but it is completely normal to not be more than acquaintances as you spend a very short amount of time living together.
Short-term summer roommates are just one of many types of roommate situations you may experience during your college years. With these tips in mind, you can make the situation stress-free for you and your short-term roommate.

Five Tips to Help You Conquer Spring Cleaning With Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Let’s face it – unless you were born a certified clean freak, no one truly enjoys spring cleaning. While the onset of warmer weather, longer days, and more sunshine can definitely be motivating in a lot of ways, it does not always conjure up inspiration among people (especially young ones) to get their hands dirty and do some much needed spring cleaning. Though cleaning can be a bore and most definitely a chore on an individual level, doing it with roommates can help the process go a lot smoother and faster with the right amount of teamwork and a great Spotify playlist.

As spring is in full force, its time to get to giving your shared living space a refreshing, revitalized cleaning. If you’re looking for starters on how to get your group of roomies motivated, here are five simple, stress-free ways to accomplish your spring cleaning goals together.

Student Roommates: Five Tips to Help You Conquer Spring Cleaning With Roommates

1. Evaluate the Mess: Every large cleaning project starts with a moment of realization that cleaning has to be done. Before you and your roommates jump into scrubbing the floors, vacuuming carpets, and cleaning out the fridge, evaluate exactly what you need to clean beforehand. Start with the common, shared spaces before going back and forth between private bedrooms. Once everyone has an idea of which rooms need some TLC, determine how much cleaning each space needs to plan out the kind of job it is going to be, as well as how many people will be needed to do it. From there, you can get your supplies together and get started.
2. Divide and Conquer: When tackling a cleaning project in a shared apartment or home, it makes the most sense to assign each roommate with a different task to effectively break up the work and get it done in a timely fashion. While one person focuses on the bathroom, another can get started on the kitchen. Breaking up your group of roomies and assigning each person to a specific duty also makes each person take responsibility for their role in the messiness (and cleanliness) of the space, which is great especially if the workload tips more in one direction over another.
3. Have a Goal in Mind: Once you get started on spring cleaning, it can be difficult to know when to stop and quit for good. While it is not bad to have a pristine, clean home space, you don’t want to burn anyone, including yourself, into the ground by going overboard on what you’re doing. To avoid this, establish a goal with your roomies on a standard of cleanliness that is comfortable and suitable for everyone, as well as the timeliness of when each person wants to finish the cleaning. Establishing these needs and goals with one another will make the process easier and also help everyone practice open communication, which will pay off in the future when a potential conflict arises.
4. Keep It Fun: Cleaning is a chore already, and it can be even more boring and exhausting when it is taken too seriously. While spring cleaning is important for everyone, it does not need to be a daunting task that makes everyone miserable by the end of the day. Turn the cleaning spree into a bonding experience with your roomies by blasting a fun playlist, taking breaks to laugh and talk in between tasks, take funny pictures, rearranging the furniture, hanging up artwork, etc. Cleaning does not need to be reduced to the physical act of getting dirt and grime out of your home, it can also be a cleaning of bad vibes and negativity- so use the opportunity to do both!
5. Reward Yourselves Afterwards: After a day of hard work and cleaning, end the day on a solid, positive note by rewarding you and your roomies. This can come in many different forms, but just do something that will make everyone feel good, accomplished, and happy after taking the time to curate a healthy, shared space together. Agree on starting a new Netflix series accompanied with popcorn and sweet treats, decide on a fun place to get take out from, go on an evening walk to get some fresh spring air. Rewarding yourself with your roommates will not only maintain the good energy everyone established during the day, but it will also inspire you to want to clean more routinely.

While the time of spring cleaning can be especially overwhelming, it can be a carefree, relaxed project to do with your roommates. Establishing a plan is the best way to start things off, but there is always room for improvisation along the way, so go with the flow of your roommates to decide what the best approach is for everyone. Once you’re finished cleaning, don’t forget to reconnect with your roomies and reward everyone for their great teamwork!

What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

By Kaitlin Hurtadol

The biggest benefit to having a roommate is making rent more affordable when you can split the cost. In an ideal world, all roommates will pay their share of their rent in a timely manner as agreed upon, with no issues for the entire time you live together, however, this isn’t always the case. Life happens and for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where your roommate is unable to pay their share of the rent as promised. It’s a stressful situation for everyone involved, but you can’t just let the situation go by unsolved as it’s going to affect you as your name is on the lease as well. Keep reading on what to do when your roommate can’t pay rent.

Roommate Tips: What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

Stay calm and assess the situation
In the best case scenario, you have a good relationship with your roommate and they bring up their inability to pay their rent as soon as they are aware of the situation themselves. When you do become aware of the situation, it is important to stay calm as you figure out the best way to handle the situation.

If you are close with your roommate, such as being close friends outside of just a roommate relationship, you may be more comfortable coming to an agreement to temporarily cover their rent. If your roommate just got laid off, for example, you may opt to cover their rent as they find a new, steady job and get back on their feet on the condition that they can pay you back after a chosen time period.

However, if your roommate is a random match-up you found on a local ad calling for roommates or someone you don’t get along with, you may be more wary about their ability to pay you back should you offer to cover their share of the rent. If this is the case for you, you may opt to go straight to your landlord to figure out your options (and if you are truly responsible for their share of the rent).

Whatever approach you decide to take, make sure you make an effort to document everything along the way, from emails between your roommates and landlord, to bank statements showing any transactions regarding rent.

Check with your lease to verify if you’re liable to cover the rent
Once you have assessed the situation you are facing, refer back to your lease agreement to verify if you are responsible for making rent is paid in its entirety, not just your portion. In most roommate situations, you both will be listed on the lease agreement. Check the lease to see if the agreement has joint or several liability. If you and your roommate are jointly liable, you are both equally responsible for making sure the total rent is paid, regardless of whether or not you or your roommate are paying their individual portion. If you and your roommate are severally liable, you are only responsible for your portion of the rent, and it is your landlord’s responsibility to get the other portion of the rent from your roommate.

Speak with your landlord to discuss your options
You and your roommate aren’t the only renters that have found themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay rent, and your landlord has likely dealt with this situation before. Depending on the landlord, they may be able to offer options to help your situation.
Your landlord may agree to have your security deposit cover the portion of the rent that your roommate can’t pay.

Your landlord may also be more flexible when it comes to deferred rent or establishing a repayment plan. For example, your landlord may offer to let your roommate pay in installments over the course of a month rather than paying the rent in full at the beginning of the month. Or, they can allow your roommate to apply for rent relief if they find themselves facing financial hardship.

Evicting your roommate
If you happen to be the only person on lease and are not coming to an agreement with your roommate on them paying rent as promised, you may have to look into eviction to solve the issue at hand.

Tenant’s rights will vary depending on the state you are residing in, but doing a quick search on your state and “tenant handbook” or “tenant rights” can get you the information needed to navigate a possible eviction. Eviction can be a difficult process, so it may be something you consider as a last resort rather than the first solution you choose.

For example, if you and your roommate are both on the lease, you would not be able to evict them just because they aren’t paying rent. Your landlord will have to get involved to take action, and may have to evict you as well, which will affect your credit and your ability to rent in the future.

Finding out that your roommate can’t pay rent can be a stressful situation for anyone. With this information in mind, you can help yourself and your roommate find the best solution for your situation.

Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates

By Ashley Paskill

Having a roommate that you do not know can seem overwhelming and scary. If you and your best friend go to the same school or live in the same city, you may be tempted to be roommates. However, this may not be the best idea. Several issues may arise that may dampen your friendship, no matter how strong it is. Some friendships may survive, but there are reasons you should take at least some time to consider other roommate options.

Roommate Tips: Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates
Image: Karolina Grabowska via pexels.com/photo/person-giving-money-to-another-person-4968548/

Annoying habits

If you have never lived with your roommate or even had a sleepover with them, you may not know some of their habits that you do not see. Their room may be cluttered and they only clean when you come over. You may not know some of their habits, so at least having a conversation before moving in together can help you determine if it is worth the hassle of putting up with the habits. On the flip side, your own bad habits will be on display for your best friend to see. You were able to hide the habits before, but living together means that they will be exposed. If you are not ready for this, consider moving in with someone else.

Less space

While moving in together means you will see each other more frequently, this can lead to issues if you get into an argument with each other. When you got into arguments before, you could go your own separate ways to your own living space and cool off. If you live with each other, this becomes a lot more difficult since you are living in close quarters. Consider how many arguments you have had and how you have dealt with them before. You may also just need some alone time, even if you and your friend are not arguing. Think about yourself and your relationship with your friend. If you are someone who needs space, especially after a fight, consider a different living arrangement.

Money talks

When you live with a roommate, you have to talk about money. Rent and utility bills need to be paid, and grocery shopping needs to be done. It is likely that you and your best friend have never talked about financial topics before, but moving in together would require these conversations to take place. If bills are not paid or your friend owes you money, your relationship may be strained.

Distractions from tasks

Living with your best friend may seem like a dream come true because you will get to spend a lot of time together. This is true, but you will both have things like studying, chores, and other tasks that need to be done. If you and your friend can get these things done without distracting each other, great. If not, consider a different option. You need to be sure you are putting your schoolwork and other tasks first before having fun with your friend.

Boundaries and rules

Like with any roommate, you will need to set boundaries and rules with your best friend. Some people and friendships can handle setting these things in place, but for others, these things may seem like an attack on the friendship. Have a conversation with your roommate about rules and boundaries, including what things are shared and who does what chores. Know that you will both have to be firm with keeping these rules and boundaries. Setting boundaries and rules may seem like they would put a damper on your friendship, but not having these in place may do even more damage. If you are not comfortable having rules and boundaries in place, moving in with your best friend is not for you.

Missing out on opportunities

One of the best things about college is getting to meet new people and have new experiences. If you have your best friend as your roommate, you will miss out on meeting other people who may be your roommates otherwise. While you do know your best friend and know that you get along, part of growth comes from meeting new types of people and figuring out how to get along with different types of personalities. Just because you have other people as roommates does not mean that you cannot spend time with your best friend. Different people will allow you to experience new things and push you to grow in ways that spending time with the same people do not.

No one to vent to

Living with roommates has its struggles. If you live with your best friend, you will not be able to vent to your friend about your roommate issues as they are your roommate. This will leave you struggling to find someone to vent to. Even having other friends nearby is not the same as venting to your best friend. However, living with someone else allows your best friend to be someone you can vent to when things get tough.

Living with your best friend may seem great, but it likely will not be all that it cracks up to be. Struggles will occur that you have never faced, and this may strain your relationship.

Living with a Foreign Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

For college students, living with roommates is fairly common. Everyone has a different roommate experience, some opt to live with their closest friends while others try their luck with complete strangers. Another roommate situation you may experience during your college years is living with a foreign roommate. Just like any roommate situation, living with a foreign roommate can come with plenty of new experiences for you during your college years. Keep reading for insight on what you can expect when living with a foreign roommate.

Student Roommates: Living with a Foreign Roommate

A language barrier may be your first obstacle
If your foreign roommate’s first language isn’t English, you may experience a language barrier if you don’t speak their language as well. Luckily enough, there are plenty of ways you can navigate a language barrier with the help of technology, from learning simple phrases through learning apps to using apps to get real-time translations during conversations.

Don’t look at the language barrier as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to learn a new language by getting the chance to learn and use it on a regular basis. The same could be said for your foreign roommate — they could use daily conversations with you as the basis for learning more English.

Learn about their culture (and accept it’s bound to come with differences)
While you and your foreign roommate may both speak the same language, you likely are going to have cultural differences during your time living together. From customs to the food they eat, living with a foreign roommate will give you exposure to an entirely different culture. Rather than analyzing how different you and your foreign roommate are, embrace your differences by taking the opportunity to learn about their culture while living with them. At the same time, you can also take the opportunity to teach them more about your own culture.

Getting to know your roommate will take some time, especially if you are encountering a language barrier. With patience and a genuine desire to learn and communicate, you can end up having an amazing roommate and experience living together.

Just like with any roommates, keep things clear with communication
When you are living with a roommate, you can expect to clash over certain situations, regardless of where they are from. Everyone has their own ways of doing things and the smallest issue of how you like to clean a certain area can escalate into a bigger problem among roommates. Just like with any roommate situation, you want to make sure you establish and maintain clear communication and boundaries with a foreign roommate.

If you do not even speak the same language, you may think that you can carry separate lives in the same space with no issues, however, leaving things left unsaid and hoping for the best can lead to a disaster. Make an effort to host open conversations about expectations and boundaries you both would like to maintain in your shared living space, from cleanliness to having guests over. Coming from different cultures and backgrounds, you are bound to have some different expectations surrounding your living space, so it’s important to get these types of conversations done as soon as possible to make your time together easier and more enjoyable.

Expect some homesickness
Imagine living away from home for months on end. If you moved further away from your hometown from college, you can understand the idea of homesickness and how it could affect you emotionally and mentally, and in turn, affect how you may behave around others. For your foreign roommate, homesickness can come and go often as they are far away from home and likely without their support system as they live abroad.

This doesn’t mean you have to be your roommate’s best friend and their ultimate source of support as they experience homesickness while they live with you, but it does mean it’s something you should expect and be understanding of. For example, you may notice your roommate feeling down after they miss out on something back home, such as a close friend or family member’s birthday. Offer to spend some time with them over a meal or a movie, or let them know you are up to listen if they need someone to talk or vent to. It may not seem like a lot of effort on your part, but to your roommate who is living abroad, having just one person to lean on for a moment can mean the world to them. Living abroad can be a fun but lonely experience for many.

Living with a foreign roommate may leave you apprehensive at first, especially when you know there is going to be a language barrier. Don’t let what you don’t know, or haven’t experienced yet, hold you back from getting a roommate experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

When living with roommates one of the several things that occupy your mind on a regular basis is paying bills and rent. No one looks forward to the day of the month when rent is due. Hopefully by the time rent is due you and your roommates have established a fair and effective way to split the rent, because it can get messy if not.

Sometimes in a renting situation, prices go up. This can include cable, internet, water, heat/air conditioning, electric, or even rent. Price increases can be attributed to a number of reasons, which could spark a conversation between you and your roommates about how to renegotiate your rent breakdown to adjust for these price changes.

Are you living with roommates? Looking for an effective, new way to split up the rent among everyone? Here are a few simple ways you can renegotiate your rent breakdown with your roommates, with fairness and without conflict!

College Roommates: Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

1. Gather the Information You Need: Paying bills and rent relies on a knowledge of hard numbers, not guesses and estimations. Before you even start to try and split up payments, gather all the important information and documents you need in order to total the monthly living costs for everyone. This can include: rent, utilities like water and electric, internet and cable, subscription services, heating and air conditioning, food, etc. Get the numbers together for each category and make a spreadsheet that includes the category and the total monthly cost for each. Once you do this, everyone will have a clear idea of what the costs look like and will have a better place to start when splitting up the rent and renegotiating it.
2. Have an Open Conversation: Any discussion that involves money can get complicated and emotional at points. People want to make sure that what they are paying into something is fair and everyone is paying equally and accordingly. Once you have the numbers that total your monthly budget, sit down with your roommates and suggest different ways to split the costs of living. This can be done in a number of ways, such as splitting the cost by the number of people, splitting the cost by square footage per person, or splitting the cost by room. However you and your roommates decide to do this is up to your discretion, but be sure to hear everyone’s opinion and feedback on suggestions before leaping into any one decision. Each person has an equal say and share in what they think is fair and they should be treated as so!
3. Establish When Everyone Should Pay: Another element to factor in when splitting and renegotiating rent are pay dates. It is important for everyone to give their share of the rent payments in a timely manner, before the due date for each payment. It is always better to be a little early than run into a problem and be late on payments. Establish a payment schedule with your roommates to ensure each bill gets paid on time. A dry-erase board or a calendar could be helpful to remind everyone of important dates. Place the calendar or board on a wall in a space that is constantly occupied, such as a kitchen or living room, so you and your roommates can see it and be reminded of payments consistently throughout the month. If you trust your roommates enough, you can also give someone the responsibility of handling the money and making payments for things like subscription services or food, as the rent payments are typically issued per person if you’re living in a complex. If not in a complex, someone could be responsible for handling rent payments as well, but that is up to you and your roommates to decide!
4. Keep an Eye Out for Price Changes: As stated earlier, prices are always open to change. You typically will get a formal notice about a price change, whether it be for rent or something else connected to your living costs. Be sure to always look out in your email or physical mail for any information regarding a price change so you can discuss how to renegotiate your living costs accordingly.
5. Communicate Openly: A key to a healthy and stress free living situation with roommates relies on open communication. Always have an ear to listen to your roommates but also speak up if there is anything you disagree with or have a problem with. This could include having issues making monthly payments, splitting the rent, utilities usage, etc. If you don’t speak up, others don’t know how you feel and will live normally because they can’t read your mind. Encourage no-judgment, open communication with your roommates to maintain a peaceful living situation and ensure that payments can be made in a stress-free manner.

Splitting rent and renegotiating payments between roommates is typically one of the more difficult things to do. Adding and dividing up the costs in a fair way can be difficult, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you and your roommates will be able to do so calmly and effectively!

How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

By Alicia Geigel

Living with a roommate has its pros and cons, with the biggest nuisance being the lack of privacy that often comes with sharing a space. Privacy can become even more scarce when sharing a room with another person. Jointly living in a home or apartment is one thing, but sharing a room is a whole other level of closeness. Along with sharing common areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and living room, your most private space, aka your bedroom, is also jointly
lived in.

There could be several reasons why you are sharing a room with your roommate, whether it be a space issue or a financial one. While it may seem like there is no means to having privacy in this situation, there are a few simple ways to both share a room and still have a small sliver to call your own.

Are you sharing a room with your roommate? Is the lack of privacy driving you mad? Here are five simple ways you can make your space more private.

Student Roommates: How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

1. Try to keep your Possessions to a Minimum: One common issue when living with a roommate is the blurred lines between your items and the items of your roommate(s). Often, things like food, toiletries, or household appliances get used and mixed up, which can lead to frustration and conflict. Living in the same room can further complicate things. To avoid this, try to keep your possessions to a minimum-at least the possessions that are visible and in the way. Storage containers and storage furniture can help to organize your items and keep them out of the way of your roommate.

2. Invest in a Screen Room Divider: Depending on the size of your room, your space can feel very cramped and crowded. Simultaneously, your room can also feel less comfortable and, simply put, yours. To give your room a degree of separation, think about investing in a screen room divider. A screen divider adds a makeshift wall to your room, giving both you and your roommate some much-needed privacy, whether it be when you are changing clothes, hanging out with a friend, or unwinding after a long day.

3. Consider a Loft Bed: Remember earlier when I briefly mentioned the perks of storage furniture? While a loft bed does not offer optimal storage, it does give you a unique way to design the layout of your room and help you utilize your space better. A loft bed is like a bunk bed, but rather than having a bed on both the bottom and top, it has open space on the bottom for things like a desk or couch, with a bed on top. If your room allows for the space, a loft bed is a great option. You can have the privacy of being on another height in the room while relaxing or sleeping.

4. Make your Bed Private: In the case that you cannot get a loft bed or a screen divider for your room, another way to make your bed and living space more private is by purchasing something to cover up your bed, such as a canopy or a bed tent. Items like these are typically inexpensive and can help to give you a greater sense of privacy, whether you’re wanting a bit of alone time for studying or sleeping.

5. Establish Specific Hours to Have the Room to Yourself: If you and your roommate have exhausted all possible options, one easy last resort to consider is to establish specific hours for each person to have the room to themselves. It sounds controlling and dictator-like, but it could be a game-changer for the both of you. And since many public spaces on and around campus have WiFi, your “banishment” won’t be the end of the world for either of you – in fact, it may be a great opportunity to explore a park or go for walk.

Living with a roommate can be difficult enough, but sharing a room with them is a different level of closeness that can drive even the most level-headed to the brink of a breakdown. Though it can be difficult to compromise and live with your roommate in a room, there still are means to maintain privacy and have a space of your own. Whether it is by using a space divider or taking a step outside, you and your roommate can come to an agreement that works for the both of you.