So you’ve gotten an offer for a summer internship, and you’re excited to get through the last half of the term.
But before jetting off to your new city for the summer, you’ve got to find a place to live.
Finding safe summer housing without breaking the bank can be tricky, but here are three tips to make your search a little easier.
1. Check nearby colleges and see if they have summer housing open to outside students during your internship stay.
Although living on campus for the summer might not sound so appealing at first glance, it can save you a lot of headache in your housing search. Many colleges will open up several dorms for the summer, and fraternities and sororities frequently let members rent rooms in their houses.
Safety is usually more reliable on a college campus, and the housing office makes the process of acquiring housing easier than dealing with an independent renter.
Do remember to start early since rooms on campus are usually on a first-come, first-served basis and go fast.
2. Talk to friends and alumni from your school.
Connect with friends who have lived near your internship location or contact your school’s alumni association.
Alumni may be able to recommend good sections of town or get you connected with their friends in the area who are looking for a roommate or a sublet for the summer.
As a bonus, by connecting with alumni, you’ll get to expand your network — alumni are usually more than happy to introduce you to other alumni in the city and bring you to alumni events over the summer.
3. Search on housing websites like Craigslist or PadMapper.
Users can also sign up for email alerts when a new post which matches their search result goes up.
While there is more flexibility and options on these online sites, you have to do more research since scams and misrepresentations are more likely.
Sheila Xu, a junior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, once found an apartment on Craigslist, but after doing some initial research on Google and looking at the area on Google Maps, she found that the apartment building didn’t exist.
To avoid being scammed or misled, contact the owner before visiting, visit when possible, Google search the address and beware of a deal that sounds too good or requires you to wire money beforehand, says Xu.
Xu also found that visiting the apartment before signing any contracts is important.
Xu once visited an apartment she found on Craigslist and found that the entire room had a strong chemical odor. “The room was new, but it was in the basement and had a nasty chemical smell. I was turned off,” Xu said.
If visiting the location is not possible because the internship location is far away from school, contact friends who live near the internship or consult alumni in the area.
“Just use your common sense and go with your gut feelings,” Xu said.
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