Thursday, April 28, 2011

A roof over your head

Today we'll take up another burning issue: housing.

Where do students live? Does SAIS Bologna have dormitory rooms?

Bologna Center students live in apartments. There are no dormitories at the Center. We've got a great building that was renovated only a few years ago. But we don't ask that you live in the library stacks or on a classroom table.

How do students find apartments?

We have a consultant who has many years of experience helping students find apartments. (Quiz players: maybe a hint for the future.) Starting in mid-August, he will have several dozen apartments to show students. He handles matters with landlords and generally collects the monthly rent for the landlord. That alone is a huge service.

This year the consultant will be available starting on August 18. If you want to find an apartment before that date, you can find some contacts on page 37 of the Guidebook for Incoming Students.

Students who want to take advantage of the housing service should sign up for an appointment immediately upon arriving in Bologna. He will take groups of students on apartment tours twice a day -- once in the morning, a second time in the afternoon -- visiting as many as 80 apartments a day. Try that on your own, without a consultant.

Most students find something in a day or two. As the apartments are fully furnished -- many have sheets and towels, too -- one can often move in right away.

How does one find roommates?

Many students find their roommates when they go on the apartment visits. I did when I found my apartment -- through the same consultant -- in the autumn of 1981. And I've never regretted it. Indeed, most SAIS students live with other SAIS students.

Where are the apartments?

Most are located within a 10-30 minute walk under the Bologna porticos -- and less on a bike, a common form of transport in the city. (My wife and I have shrunken our carbon footprint by getting rid of our car and doing everything on bike, foot, bus or train. Not a problem.) Some apartments are outside the city walls and might require a 5-15 minute bus trip.

How many people generally live together?

Most apartments have two to six single bedrooms with a common kitchen and bathroom(s). All students can have their own bedroom. The average apartment accommodates three students. Some prefer single apartments; they are available, but -- surprise! -- they cost more.

How much do the apartments cost?

Prices will vary according to size, location, quality of furniture and whether the apartment has been recently renovated. If you choose to share an apartment with one to five roommates, your monthly rent will probably be between 450 and 600 euros, including utilities. If you want to live in a single apartment, count on 600-1,000 per month, excluding utilities.

The average student pays about 450 euros in rent. Some less, some more.

What about utilities?

Sometimes they are included in the rent. If not, then you will be asked to pay a monthly deposit of 100 euros toward utility costs, based on projected costs. At the end of the academic year, when the lease expires, exact utility costs will be calculated. If you have paid too much during the year, you will be reimbursed. And you'll owe more if you kept the iron on too long or ran the washing machine too much.

What is in the apartments?

They come furnished. That means they have living room furniture and beds, usually single but sometimes 1-1/2-sized beds. They will also have washing machines, dishes, pots, pans, an iron and blankets. Some apartments may have sheets, towels and/or other linens.

How long do the leases last?

For the academic year. You start paying when you move in and stop when the school year ends. Try getting that kind of deal from a big city landlord.

If I don't come to pre-term, will any apartments be left for me?

If you are not taking a pre-term course and arrive in September, try to arrive one week before orientation to get settled and organized. We will try to have an adequate number of apartments available for all incoming students. But as we say where I come from in Buffalo, New York: First come, first served.

I'm sure I have not answered anywhere near all of the questions on housing. For more information, consult the Guidebook for Incoming Students, pages 36-40.

Nelson Graves

1 comment:

Kanika said...

Thanks for such an informative piece - getting the right accommodation is quite necessary in college!