I’m moving!

All the details have been finalized a week ago, but I can finally announce it now that it’s official…

I’m moving to an off-campus apartment!

Now that I think of it, moving to an off-campus apartment is exactly what I need now that I have adjusted to life in Taipei. But finding an apartment as a foreigner wasn’t easy. Sure, I knew how to read “for rent” signs in Chinese and knew how to navigate their online rental listings, but communicating with the landlords was another thing because some local landlords don’t really like renting out their property to foreigners. What’s more, apartments and suites marketed to foreigners are just crazy expensive.

I did try looking at several rooms last semester, but many of them were too expensive or not in good condition. I finished the semester without finding a good place and at that time I had already booked a flight to the Philippines for the summer. After a week of dorm lottery applications, I didn’t get lucky so I really had to look elsewhere for next school year’s accommodations. Finding a place while in Taiwan was hard enough, so it’s close to impossible when I’m another country. Since I was running out of options, I did what a desperate foreigner would do: hire an agent ask a Taiwanese friend for help.

(But you know what, I was actually SO CLOSE to hiring an agent!)

My friend took care of so many things for me and I really don’t know what I would do without her. She gave me suggestions on the best areas to consider and the expected prices for each area, things that only locals or long-term residents would know. When she found suitable places within my budget, she would inspect everything and negotiate with the landlords on my behalf, which was super helpful. I think her presence kind of assured the landlords that I’m trustworthy enough, so they were more willing to consider me as a potential tenant. Anyway, after a couple of weeks, she found me a spacious two-bedroom apartment in the suburbs near school, and I got it for the “local price”1. It looks a little bit bare right now but I think the place has potential, it just needs a little cleaning and decorating.

And here’s the cooler part: I found someone to split the rent with!

I know I said that I got the place at a good price, but it’s still a bit too expensive compared to what I’m used to in the Philippines so it’s great to have someone to help with the rent. Turns out I didn’t have to look very far, a friend of mine was also considering a new housing arrangement. I get along really well with her so I was happy to invite her in!

It’s going to be my first time managing a whole household; there won’t be resident assistants helping me with anything. I’m so excited to learn so many new things along the way! I’m flying back to Taiwan in two weeks so I’ll keep you guys posted as soon as I move in!

  1. To give you an idea of how good this deal is, the price of this apartment is the price of a suite bedroom (it’s really just a bedroom) or a small studio commonly marketed towards students, foreign students in particular.

29 Comments

  1. Congrats on your off-campus living! I guess when you’re currently living in an area that’s not as diverse as other countries like the US or UK, it’s a bit difficult to find a place that’s catered to foreigners, which is why friends, connections, and other hookups really help. During my university years, I lived in an off-campus dorm, though affiliated with my current university for about a year. Then, because of the rising costs, I ended up moving back home. (the university is pretty close to my house anyway, just that the commute was annoying)

    Taiwan is one of the places I’d like to visit in my traveling bucket list. My sister got engaged to her husband during their trip in Taiwan and the setting and everything looked so beautiful. 🙂

    To end this short note, I nominated you for a Liebster Award. ^_^ http://adriculous.life/liebster-award-2017/

  2. Yayyyy! That’s wonderful! Congrats on your first apartment!

    Finding good housing is such a pain even for someone local like myself when I moved across the country. It was super hard because I didn’t have any friends in San Francisco and I did video chat with some people who didn’t want to rent to me since I couldn’t come in and see it. I was lucky to have found my current landlords/roommates who were super chill and just looking for someone to rent out their extra space to! I’m so glad your friend was able to find you a nice place and a roomie!

    Expensive housing is yet another issue – I had 3 roommates back in New York to be able to afford the place and I might have to deal with that all over again if I decide to move out. Whyyy must it be so expensiveeee? 😛

    1. Thanks Liv! 🙂

      Wow, I didn’t think it would be so hard for a local to find a place too! But it’s good that you managed to find a great place, with awesome roommates too!

      I have the same question! Ugh I think this is the consequence when cities develop over time. In Taipei residential spaces are running out so I think that’s why people are building apartments and condominiums and renting them out for a premium. If you want to buy a house here it’s super expensive, like I would be able to build a palace in Manila for an average-sized home in Taipei lol!

  3. Wow congrats on renting an apartment outside of campus! Do you get a room to stay along with your friend or are you sharing the room with your friend?

  4. Thank you so much, I’m glad you like my design. 🙂 🙂

    Congratulations for getting your own off-campus place. 🙂
    I’ve never lived in a college campus, but I’ve always thought it must not be all that good – due the lack of privacy, the discomfort and hassle of having to divide a small room with someone else and (in the worst cases) and not having your own bathroom. :/

    1. Thanks Sasha! 🙂

      I think college dorms in the US are pretty good, and the dorm I lived in here was not bad either. But yeah, I agree about all the points you said! Privacy was a major issue for me too; I have my own bedroom back in the Philippines so I couldn’t imagine sharing a space with someone else haha!

  5. I am glad to hear that you’ve lucked out on a good apartment, and even better that you were able to split the rent with someone. It’s always good to have a friend of the foreign country help you find the place. Even in Korea, having a Korean person help can save you a lot of money because some people here like to rip foreigners off, which really angers me since it’s not right.

    Anyway, I wish you the best with the move and the new apartment 🙂

  6. Ahh, I’m so happy for you Claudine!

    I’m still living at home throughout my University – I’m going into my final year now!! Mainly because my hometown has one of the best Departments of Biomedical Sciences! So I can’t really relate to the finding apartment/place to stay thing BUT with that said, I have helped some of my friends with their search and picked some things up (useful for the future I guess!) It really is a long process, most of my friends are international too so it was a bit more difficult for them. Like your friend, I helped mine with finding the best areas!! I know my city well but not the student accommodation side, so I helped them with the location side of things 😉

    I’m glad that after all the hassle you managed to get an apartment and splitting the rent with a friend!! I’m excited to hear about your experience and what you learn 🙂

    Sending you lots of love!!

    1. Wow, you’re an awesome friend for helping them find the best locations for their housing needs 🙂 Good job! I’m sure your friends really appreciated your efforts; any amount of help in finding housing really lessens the hassle <3

  7. Congrats on finding the apartment! I didn’t realize that the landlords were so wary of renting to foreigners. That’s great that you had a friend who could help you. That was really nice of her to do so much for you! I’m glad you found someone to split the rent with too. Good luck with the move!

    1. Thanks Cat! 🙂

      I was surprised too when I found out that landlords weren’t very willing to rent to foreigners. I thought they were just worried about foreigners suddenly leaving the country and not honoring the lease, but during the course of my search I learned that many of them were more concerned about the language barrier. I don’t know if that’s what most Taiwanese landlords think, but that’s based on my experience 😐

  8. Congrats on getting your new apartment. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be sorting something like that out as a foreigner. It’s so difficult to sort out anyway, without all the extra hassle! It’s great that your friend helped you out with it! What an amazing friend!

    Hope you enjoy living there!

    1. Oh gosh, the hassle was super frustrating! Many landlords didn’t want to rent out their place to me because I was a foreigner, and those who did want me as a tenant just charged really high for places that were super run-down. T_T This is why I think my friend is a lifesaver haha!

  9. So exciting! So it’s going to be your first time on your own? That’s awesome that you managed to find an apartment and that you had a local friend to rely on to help with finding an apartment. I knew a lot of people in college and out of college who would split the rent with a roommate to make costs more cheaper. And it’s someone you know – which is even greater!

    Good luck on your move!

    1. Well, it’s going to be my first time living in an apartment! 🙂 In the dorms there were so many people we could call on for services and we had a lot of assistants to consult whenever there were problems. But off-campus, we have to do everything by ourselves so I think that’s a [bit] scary but welcome change! 🙂

  10. I haven’t read your blog for ages. But congratulations to the new apartment!! Finding one isn’t always easy especially if you have a limited budget (which most students have). there’s nothing like having your own place! I hope everything goes well.

  11. That is awesome news! 😀 I hope that you enjoy living there and it was so fabulous of your friend to help. It would have been so hard doing it yourself, and it saved the cost of an agent! It’s great that you have another friend that you can live with too. 😀

  12. Hey Thanks for visiting and im glad that you have this taste of more adult life since you’ll be leaving outside the campus and yesssss spltting the rent would be so much much much of help!

    Hope to read more about your works!

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