For TALK international students studying abroad, this is an exciting time. You meet new people, and maybe even share your living space with a room-mate who comes from another country. While you are in this very new and unfamiliar living arrangement, the most important thing to remember is that you must to be yourself, but you must also learn to respect those around you. With this approach, you will go a long way towards ensuring that your living arrangements are both comfortable and enjoyable. Here are some tips on how to be a good roommate when you are living in a shared apartment or college dorm.
- Don’t Steal: Although this may seem like common sense, there are many instances reported where college students report their valuable items have been stolen, or that they feel violated because students/room-mates have tampered with their personal belongings. While you are sharing a space with someone, it is very important that you do not touch or ‘borrow’ their personal belongings. If you want to use or borrow something that is not your own, you must ask permission of the owner. Remember that if they did it to you, you wouldn’t like it.
- Don’t Interrupt Daily Routines: When living with someone else you may see that they have a daily routine of some sort. Your roommate’s routines are designed to help them develop a structure for their lives and to be prepared for the demands of learning and studying. Observe or ask about their routine and tell them about yours so you both can come to an understanding.
- Don’t Live in Filth: When living with others, it is expected of both you and your room-mates that you clean up your own mess. Never leave a common room such as a kitchen, bathroom or living room messy, and don’t leave your personal items all over shared living spaces. This will lead to tension and bad feelings. Always, always – clean up after yourself.
- If you Break it, you Replace it: Nothing is worse than someone breaking something of yours, and then denying that they broke it and not volunteering to replace it. Accidents do happen, and it is always best to be honest about what you have done, to demonstrate to your roommate and temporary living companion not only that you respect them and their items but you also have a conscience. If an item is replaceable, it is always a good idea to replace it or to compensate the owner with the monetary equivalent of the item’s value.
- Be Independent: When studying abroad, you can really see what it’s like to be fully independent. During this time, make sure you have everything you need, so that you don’t have to constantly ask your roommate for things. Constant borrowing and dependency on your room-mate will lead to tension in your living situation. Asking to use something every once and a while is OK, but try to be as independent as you can.
- Share Appliances: To get along really well with your college roommate it is a good idea to share your appliances. For example if they share their TV, you share your microwave. This can really foster a great roommate relationship.!
- Stay Positive: Although not every roommate will get along with each other, try to not let it get to you. Work out each other’s boundaries, and respect them. The more you respect each other, the better your living experience will be.