Friday, March 6, 2015

5 Tips for Living Off-Campus

I have been living off-campus for the last 9 months since June. Since I lived on-campus for my first two years at PLU, this was a big change. Here are some tips I have regarding living off-campus!

1. Find a friend who has a car.
If you are an international student who doesn't have a car, it's a good idea to find someone you can carpool with. This way, you don't have to worry about setting aside a big chunk of time to walk to the grocery store to buy food, or having to carry heavy bags back to your house. It really saves time and energy, and if you pitch in on gas, your friend will probably be more than willing to help you out!

2. Communicate with your landlord before and after you move in.
I have heard some of my friends talk about their landlords agreeing to pitch in on maintenance and cleaning fees, but had never followed through even after they moved into the house. Make sure you have your landlord's contact information so that you can contact them about these things, and it would be a good idea to establish your expectations with them and clear things out even before you sign the contract!

3. Pick one day out of the week for a big meal.
Pasta carbonara and salad I made for dinner one night!
When you get busy with school, it's hard to be able to cook a healthy meal everyday. It's a good idea to set aside one day in a week to cook a big meal, so that even if you are too busy to cook dinner that night you still have leftovers easily available! Also, getting together some easy recipes for quick meals is a really good idea! Here are some possible websites for some healthy and easy recipes:

4. Utilize the space you have.
Depending on the size of the house you live in, there are a lot of things you can do to make you house more interesting and fun. You can decorate your house according to a theme to give it a fun atmosphere. You can maybe go thrift shopping to find interesting a quirky things to give your house some character. Since my house has a spacious back yard, my housemates and I are currently growing tomatoes, mint, and pesto. Once these grow, we can use these for food, which will be really great!

5. If you have housemates, do some fun things together!
Chances are, you were either really good friends with your housemates before you moved in, or you didn't know them at all. Regardless of which it is, do things occasionally with them to spend time and get to know them better! You can schedule an occasional movie night and dinner or maybe think up some projects for the house. Make things fun in the house so you'd enjoy living there with your housemates! If you're comfortable with your housemates, it makes communication easier and you'd hopefully be able to figure out how to bring up uncomfortable issues with them without causing any conflicts.

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