Looking back to all my preparation for coming to Gothenburg to do my Master, finding accommodation was definitely the most difficult one. It was like a horrible real estate nightmare that kept me awake at night and caused several nerve breakdown thinking ‘I’m going to do my Master homeless.’ However, thinking back about it now whilst being sat on my sea view balcony in Majorna and enjoying the evening sun, I know it was all worth it.
I think it is fair to say that finding accommodation is very time consuming and sometimes it will seem impossible and hopeless. However, there is always a light at the end of a tunnel. All you need to do is calm down and sit behind your computer:
1. Read all the important information about accommodation on the university website and make sure you know how does SGS work. I also recommend this article by my dear friend Mel with some very useful tips.
2. Create an account with SGS. The likelihood of getting a room the traditional queue way is pretty much impossible for a foreign free-mover as Swedish people have around 2 years of queue dates. You will have 2 months if lucky. Good try. However, the way majority of foreign free movers get student accommodation is through ‘last minute offers’ (sista minuten). This is the way me and a lot of my friends got our rooms in student housing. It is the only and the most common way how to get to student halls.
All you need to do is to check SGS website. Like everyday.I suggest to squeeze it to your morning internet check routine and make a habit out of it. Because the way it works is first comes, first served. The best time to find a room is around end may – july when majority of the people are moving out, thus there is a lot of last minute rooms available (however, I would still start looking as soon as possible). The moment you see a room that is available in last minute offer, you have to pick up the phone and call the SGS office. And mainly don’t give up. I think it took my approximately 15 minutes waiting on the phone just ringing and another 15 minutes being redirected from one person to another within SGS. But I did. I got a little room in a student residence Ostkupan.
It is important to know that with last minute offers, you will have to start paying rent from the day you get the room even though you don’t live there just yet. Well, on the more positive note, YOU HAVE A ROOM and you will get the next summer months for free.
3. Join the Facebook groups (Accommodation Goteborg, Erasmus Goteborg, GBG Student Housing etc). These groups are very very useful resource. This is where you can connect with other people in same situation as you as well as find rooms in student apartments (meaning normal apartments occupied by students, not SGS) for rent and sublet. Again, follow all of them and turn on all the notifications. It’s all about checking it regularly and grabbing the opportunity when you see it. I suggest you write a little post about yourself and what you are looking for as well and post it in the group. Someone having a spare room for a semester might like it and get back to you.
4. Don’t give up and don’t panic. Remember, that University is aware of your situation and it is here to help. After all they want you to come and study here! If the semester starts and you still don’t have a place to stay, do not panic: During the International welcome week, SGS has extra staff helping students to find a place to stay. Plus, it is easier to look for places once you are actually here (there is a difference between exchanging emails for a week and seeing an ad, visiting the apartment in next hour and then signing the lease). I have a bunch of classmates who arrived and stayed in a hostel the first two weeks. Now they live in the most amazing apartment in the very heart of the city.
I started my journey in Gothenburg in a student residence Ostkupan. However, after 3 months of living there, we got the opportunity and decided to move out with two of my friends (that I met there) to a private apartment in downtown Gothenburg. And that is exactly the place where I am happily sat at the moment.
All the best of luck!
Puss och kram,