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Five advantages of sharing an apartment

After secondary school, it’s time to embark on a new chapter in life. This often means leaving the nest and setting out for a new city to attend a university. But what sort of living arrangement do you choose? Should you rent your first apartment, live in a student dorm or instead share a house or apartment with others? When looking for a place to stay, the important thing is to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

Among students in Germany, apartment sharing is the favorite and most common housing model. As a student, I too was involved in various communal living arrangements. I once shared an apartment with five others and a Chihuahua named “Sky.” And once, another person and I shared an apartment with a rabbit named “Sushi.” And another time, it was just me and another tenant without the pets. In the five points below, I’ll list some of the main benefits of apartment sharing and give some tips on etiquette in these situations.

1. You’re less alone when living with others

A new city, new people, new studies, or a new internship: I know myself how nice it is to get home and see a familiar face in the kitchen after a long day. One of the biggest advantages of sharing an apartment is being able to chat about all kinds of things over a glass of wine, cook together, or just have someone making some background noise in the apartment. You’ll definitely be happy that you’re sharing when it’s once again time to get something in the apartment fixed and you don’t have to manage the problem and expense all by yourself.

2. Soft skills for life

When you share an apartment, you can not only enjoy the company of others but also improve your social skills and get to know yourself better. Living with other people means sharing parts of your private life but also showing consideration for your fellow tenants. That applies equally to the fight for the bathroom every morning, the loathsome subject of cleaning up in the kitchen or the way visitors are dealt with — issues that some may consider to be disadvantages of communal living. But you should view these things in a positive light: sharing an apartment with other people will definitely teach you how to be able to compromise. Equanimity and openness are two more attributes that I acquired while sharing apartments, especially when living with five other people.

3. That’s something I’ll still be telling my grandchildren about. Or then again maybe not ...

The best stories definitely come from living with other people, that’s for sure. The obligatory house or apartment parties are absolutely ideal for creating these stories, and it’s certainly always easy to find an occasion to celebrate. The best time for these parties is the weekend (obviously) or the beginning of the semester, because then no one is on vacation or stressed out by exams — timing is everything, after all. In addition to the organizational duties like buying enough food and drink and getting the apartment into shape for merrymaking, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people, party together in a relaxed atmosphere and just turn up the music really loud for a change. But do be sure to get the blessing of your neighbors first, so that the party isn’t shut down at 11:00 PM by enraged fellow tenants in pajamas.

4. Flexibility

Whether it be a semester in a foreign country, an internship abroad, or sitting in on lectures in a different city — it’s almost considered good form among many students to change their place of residence at some point. As someone sharing an apartment, you’re fortunately very flexible. You can rent a room in a shared apartment for whatever limited period of time needed and sublet your old room during your absence.

5. Low costs

The rents are rising; the housing market is tight. In popular university cities especially, housing is often expensive, and finding a place to live is difficult. This is precisely why the apartment-sharing model is the right alternative. By living with others, you share not just the housework but the rent too.

When I was a teenager, my idea of what it’s like to share an apartment was shaped by a variety of daily soaps. And I can tell you, even though our dream scenarios don’t always agree with reality and there are drawbacks too, the positive aspects outweigh the bad. The people I shared apartments with have become my friends, and I learned a lot from the experience. Sharing an apartment is a gentle approach to independence, especially if you’re coming directly from “Hotel Mom.”

What are your tips? I’d enjoy hearing about your own experiences and the positive and negative aspects of different living arrangements!

See you soon,

Theresa

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