How to Find a Roommate Overseas

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How to Find a Roommate Abroad

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Moving overseas requires a lot of preparation. It also can be fairly expensive, so you may be interested in dividing costs of living between yourself and at least one roommate. That adds the task of finding a roommate abroad to your hefty list of things to do for your international move. Luckily, finding a roommate abroad isn't as difficult as it initially seems.

Start online

Moving overseas is difficult largely because you can't be around your destination on more than a handful of occasions during costly trips. It is unlikely that you'll ever be able to meet prospective roommates in person. Luckily, the internet makes meeting in person unnecessary and when you are dealing with strangers, the distance can keep you safe.

There are a few websites specifically designed to connect roommates in any destination across the world. Roomster and EasyRoomate seem to be the most popular international websites, so start there. You may be able to find more specific websites by searching for your target country or city in a general search, as well. You could also try Craigslist, but you need to be wary of any contacts or information you receive there. Since there are a lot of people on that site you may find possible roommates, but there are also a lot of scammers or worse that go on there.

The roommate screening process

Unless you find someone you know through school, work, or friend networks, you're going to need to live with a stranger. That means you need to contact prospective roommates and screen them extensively. Even if you do know your potential roommate, you still need to ask them several questions before you know that you are compatible. Just because someone isn't a criminal doesn't mean they will automatically be good fit for your shared living space.
Ask these questions to any prospective roommates:
  • Have you lived with someone else before?
  • Do you know the town/country well?
  • How long do you plan on staying with me in this home?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink?
  • What's your job/ what can you afford?
  • Do you have any allergies I need to be aware of?
  • How would you like to work out the specifics of the lease?
  • Do you have any pets or object to any pets?
  • How clean do you keep your home?
  • When do you typically want to wake up and go to bed?
  • What are your favourite hobbies?
The answers to these questions should determine if you want to room with a particular person. If you are unsure the truth is being told, use fact checking tools by searching for their information online. If you can't find find anything but still feel uneasy, trust your gut and try someone else.

Remember to choose your location wisely

Choosing a roommate overseas is often tied to choosing the actual location you are moving into since some roommates will have already procured a space and are looking to share with you. That means you need to research the neighbourhood and living arrangements as well as the roommate. Either ask the roommate directly or search online to find out the following about your possible overseas home:
  • Where is it relative to where you will/can work?
  • What is the typical cost of living?
  • What is the lease arrangement?
  • What is the crime rate in the area?
  • How is the specific culture of the area?
  • What is the weather like?
All these factors will help determine if you really want to move to that particular location and also inform you of what you should bring for your move abroad.

Why it's best to get a native roommate

Try to resist the urge to room with another expat when traveling abroad. If you can find a native to be your roommate, you have several advantages.
  • Your roommate will have an understanding of the local culture and language that an outsider won't have.
  • Your roommate can act as a translator.
  • Your roommate will ensure that you don't get unfair lease pricing for being a foreigner.
  • Your roommate can show you around the area with the knowledge of a local.
  • You can see first-hand what a local does on a daily basis. This will provide you with invaluable cultural information.
  • A native likely has other native friends, and you can network in your new country through a native roommate to become fully immersed in the culture.
Think you've found your roommate abroad? Then it's time to get moving to your overseas destination!

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on November 18, 2014 - Moving Expert
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