TIPS ON HOW TO FIND ACCOMMODATION IN TARTU – Arda (Turkey)
Congratulations, you are about to make a big step in your life and move to a new county for studying. After deciding to move to Tartu you are probably thinking: “Where am I going to live? How can I even make the right choice in a city/country that I have no idea about?” I hope this article will help you to clarify how to find accommodation in Tartu. Let’s start with discussing your two obvious options.
Living in a dorm
That’s actually a really good idea for most newcomers. Finding housing in a new country that you don’t know much about can be challenging. Thus, starting from the dorm is a convenient choice. Most international students are admitted to three dorms – Narva 25, Narva 27 and Raatuse 22. Good news is all dorms are centrally located, close to university buildings, and there are grocery stores around. You can find more information about the dorms from Tartu Student Village. In this blog, I will give you some practical and experiential information.
Narva 25 and 27
Most apartment style rooms here fit 4 people with 2 rooms sharing a kitchen and bathroom. The reason people choose it because it has fewer people per room and tends to be quieter. It provides printing service, table tennis, laundry facility on the ground floor, and every floor has a smoking spot.
Most apartment style rooms here fit 6 people with 3 rooms sharing a kitchen and a bathroom. It is the most social dorm. Many exchange students live here, so if you enjoy parties, social gatherings, and other activities, it is the right choice for you. Some students may complain about noises from time to time but overall it is as nice as Narva dorms. It also has a coffee machine, table tennis, laundry facilities available on the ground floor with no smoking spots inside the building.
For people who do not like to have a roommate, you have an option to rent a single room. Unfortunately, even though the single rooms are available, the waiting list can go up to 1,5-2 years, so don’t keep your hopes high. Chances to rent a single room, as some would say, it is a myth.
You can also rent a regular room for two people to yourself (taking two spots in one room) and pay double the price which costs around 180-200 (incl. utility) euros per month depending on the utility costs in summer and winter. You can find more information about the pricing and pictures of dorms here.
If you have a friend who is also applying, or already living in a dorm, you can apply to be in one room together! Just don’t forget to mention it in your application.
When applying for a dorm, you should strictly follow the application deadlines. For newcomers, due dates for the spring semester are January 1-10; for the autumn semester – June 1-10. Since students can move out of the dorms whenever they want, as long as they give one month notice in advance, it is my advice to start out in a dorm even if you want to live in a house. You will have a chance to sort out your residence permit and bank account and have time to look around to get to know the city better.
Renting an apartment
If you decide to rent an apartment, run away from roomies, or simply missed the application deadline for a dorm, I would say you chose the hard option, you badass. From my own and friends’ experience, finding housing from outside of Estonia could be very challenging. The biggest/most used real estate websites in Estonia are kv.ee and city24.ee where you can find many ads. But, real estate agents might not answer your e-mails, preferring talking over the phone or in person. Some homeowners don’t speak English. The rental price will include broker fee, deposit and one-month advance payments. Usually, a shared apartment in the city centre can range from 200€ to 400€ a month (including utilities) depending on condition, location, number of roommates, and other variables. While looking for the apartment be aware of the location, if it has central heating or wooden stove heating, a washing machine or if it is actually shared with other people (sometimes bathrooms or kitchens may be shared).
If you can’t find a place on websites, most people will recommend you to post it on multiple Facebook groups such as Foreigners in Tartu, Korterite üürimine Tartus (Otse Omanikult), Üürikorterid Tartus/Tartumaal, Rooms for rent in Tartu. When I talked to people who tried posting on Facebook in the past, some were lucky, and some were not, so it is mostly up to luck. The most effective way to find a room or an apartment in Tartu is via your network: someone you know or a friend of a friend. I know many people who found housing through personal contacts in Tartu, or when they reach to people here who might be able to direct them to someone who is looking for a housemate.
Whichever option you choose, start looking/applying as early as possible. If you leave it to August, chances are many apartments already found their roommates and prices will go up. Pay attention to the details of the house, stay aware of the location and how comfortable you are with walking/taking a bus, and never send money to people that you are not sure of or think they are not doing things legally. Feel free to consult ISA, International Admissions Office or someone you know in Tartu. My personal suggestion is to start out in a dorm and get a little experience of the city and the University of Tartu. Dorms are nicely conditioned, and living in a dorm can be much better than you imagine. Once you arrive in Tartu, you might realize how easy it is to find good housing options, or you can decide that having a roommate and low costs in the dorm is much better for you.