An incident happened at the campus of Shih Hsin University last year where international students complained that the rent of the on-campus dormitory is higher than those are off-campus. There are plenty of barriers to overcome when you’re on a hunt for the right place to live, such as contractual disputes or the residential safety issues. These problems do not only occur in Shih Hsin University, they are also issues waiting to be solved in Taiwan.
In terms of university students’ accommodation, there are great differences between Taiwan and Mainland China. Compared to the university students in Taiwan, those in mainland China spend much less money on their accommodation. One of the reasons lies in the fact that universities in Mainland China, which located in the relatively remote area, do not need to afford high land price as Taiwan. Because of which the university campus area is spacious enough to build dormitories for more students. As a result, most of the university students in Mainland China do not need to rent a house outside the campus. Moreover, the Chinese government raises funds to build dormitories, so that the students don’t have to suffer from the corresponding economic depression. Fang-fang（方芳）, the student of Hangzhou Normal University（杭州師範大學) said, “our school has 10 dormitory area, each one is a 10 to 11 -floor building. And there are 20 to 30 rooms on each floor, each is big enough for 4 students. When it comes to prices, Fang-fang pointed out that the accommodation cost in her school is 1200RMB (about 6000NT) each student. And Yi-fei Jiao （繳翼飛）, student of Liaoning University（遼寧大學) said his accommodation expense is also 1200RMB (about 6000NT). The cost of accommodation in Wenzhou University（溫州大學）is a bit higher, 1500RMB (about 7500 NT) per year, but we find it quite affordable for us.’ Said Zhuo-yu Ying（應卓玉）. Also, according to Fang-fang and Yi-fei Jiao, the prices above included utilities and housing maintenance management fees. In Mainland China, different schools have different accommodation conditions. “Most of our dorms are four-person room, with a hot water bath system and a balcony.” said Fang-fang. But Yi-fei Jiao mentioned that the dormitory in his school has no separate bathrooms, everyone has to go to public bathhouse. Furthermore, in Mainland China, students usually live in dormitories with administrators managing the students, and they also have strict access control. “Our bedroom door access control begins at 10:30 in the evening, and there is a weekly sanitary examination routine.” Being different from Taiwan universities rental culture, for students in Mainland China, dormitory experience is an indispensable part of their university life.
A considerable number of 90,000 international students from different nations such as China, Malaysia, Singapore… left their comfort zone, came all the way to study here in Taiwan. However, as a bird who just left the nest, finding their own habitat is definitely one of the most intractable problems for the international students. “My roommates and I found an apartment on a website, there was landlord’s contact information on page so we just called the landlord directly.” said Neng-chin Tsai（蔡能勤）, studying at Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology（南台科技大學）. Most college students in Taiwan usually rent their apartments through rental websites, while very few successfully find places on bulletin boards. Some senior students pass their apartments to junior students after they graduated, which is also a convenient and safe way in campus. Students choose where to live with their own considerations. “Transportation convenience, safety, and vital functions are quite important to me” said Ya-jun Li（李雅鈞）, studying at Chinese Culture University（中國文化大學）. Getting foods easily is one of the major considerations of those college students who live by themselves, so they have to consider the neighborhood around the apartments carefully. For those who do not have their own transportation need to know the public transportation nearby. It seems that, besides the rent, the surroundings are also important to students. It has to be the best place to live after carefully discussed with parents. When it comes to the shortcomings of living without parents is that students have to do everything by themselves. “You have to do the laundry yourself and clean the litters.” Li said.
There are also many overseas students come to Taiwan to study every year. Each undergraduate freshman will have the priority of dormitories in Shih Hsin University（世新大學）. For undergraduate students, 4-person rooms are available. If a senior student wants to live in the dormitory, they ballot. For those students who aren’t lucky at all, they have to find and rent a room by themselves. Yee-lee Soh（蘇依俐）is a junior in Shih Hsin University（世新大學）who lived in dormitory when she was a freshman. However, she moved out and rented a room with her classmate when became sophomore. She said, “There are many advantages living in a dormitory. Whenever they have problems, such as residential permission and school affairs, they can turn to their assistant for help immediately. Moreover, they can make friends with each other and hang out often. Living in a dormitory is memorable in her college life. The reason why she rented a room is because the list was announced too slowly. She considers the ballot system should be revised. Good news is that she met a great landlord, but the only shortcoming is the small room. With the same price, she can rent a more beautiful and bigger room in her hometown, Malaysia. In conclusion, overseas students may have faced many problems on finding a comfortable room to live. There are some tips for students who want to rent a room. First, you should make sure the neighborhood is safe. Second, It’s important for you to know your rights, such as if utilities are included in the rent or not, the duration of the lease. The most important thing is no matter what problem you face, remember there are many ways you can ask for help, including Military Instructors’ Office, police stations and teachers.