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!
- 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. ↩