Thursday, January 1, 2009

A place to call my own

In one of the previous posts we met Yang Tong Xiu, a Chinese student who has been living in Melbourne for several months now. In this installment Xiu offers her thoughts on finding accommodation in Melbourne.

I am living in Clayton right now, with two couples and another girl. We are all Chinese. Even though our house is a big, with six people living in it together it still feels crowded. I found this house by myself, and it was very hard process for me at the time. I had looked at five different places before I found this one. In the end, I decided on this house because I was just tired of looking for accommodation, there was no other thought behind the decision. It is so hard to find somewhere to live in Melbourne!

The people I have been living with are fine. Some of them are very nice and take care of me. Some of them are so different to me, because actually we were total strangers to each other at the very beginning. I guess we have been very careful to establish some boundaries; we keep a very quiet environment in order to live together and have been doing fine so far.

In talking with my friends and acquaintances in Melbourne, they all have different stories about housing. Most of them are like me, finding a satisfactory place to live is very hard. The main thing that everyone talks about is the importance of the living environment. Most of us come to Australia by ourselves. We arrive in a city with absolutely no friends and no idea about who we will be living with during our time here. As a result finding a good environment and good housemates is especially hard. Some of my friends have experienced a really horrible time here. They moved house quite a few times because of their housemates were so terrible. They experienced fights, arguments or just really awkward situations. So they were forced to move out and begin the exhausting search for accommodation all over again.

Like a lot of my friends, I want to settle down during my time here and try my best to live peacefully with other people. Really, there is no use in fighting and moving house is just such a waste. This wasn’t why we came here! So we are trying to knuckle down so we are able to focus on our studies.

My ideal house or housing environment would be a single apartment where I could live alone. I would like to live in an area which has lots of people and is clean. I guess when we grow up, we all want to live in our own apartment, where we don’t need to worry about how to get along with others and we can enjoy our privacy. As for the price, a high price usually means high quality. Some of my friends and I just hope some day we are able to afford that by ourselves. Overall though, the housing prices here are still bloody expensive… sorry about the word, but it is true!

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Xiu's article raises some interesting points about how the lack of rental properties affects students here. Students come to Melbourne in order to pursue their studies and immerse themselves in a new culture and the English language. However, with little help in finding accommodation upon their arrival, the search for a house and suitable housemates can quickly become their life's focus. Surely there are better ways to help students make a smoother transition to living in Melbourne. Hopefully the State Government international student strategy will address the issue of housing with some practical solutions. Personally, I support the taskforce recommendation that universities take more responsibility for securing accommodation for students during their first 6-12 months here.