[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If your child is leaving home, it’s time for them to set up base and fend for themselves. Depending on how long your child’s studies are they will need to find themselves a temporary place to call home. We help you distinguish the difference between residence living and private accommodation, discuss security options, cooking ideas as well as transport options depending on the institution your child has been accepted to.
Your child’s been accepted into residence!
All of the top 8 universities offer residential accommodation to students – we call it “res,” short for residence. A res is usually on or very close to the university campus. In the case that it is a little further away, the university’s transport services provide easy transfer between the res and campuses.
Within many (but not all) university reses you also have choices like:
- self-catering vs. included meal plan(s)
- female, male, or mixed res
- shared or private room
This is a fantastic way to meet and mix with other students and get the full university experience! It can also be an affordable option, and if you opt for the meal plans, you don’t need to worry about major grocery shopping and cooking. We definitely recommend this as an accommodation option for your child, especially if they are a social butterfly. This is a safe, stress-free option for first years, for both parent and student.
However, if they are a little wary of possible curfews and general rules that come with res, then maybe a private student diggs is more suitable for them.
Where can I find it?
Generally, your child needs to be a full-time student to qualify for a place in res, but some universities do have other options. Contact the respective representative below at one of the top 8 universities in SA.
University of Cape Town
The Student Housing Accommodation & Advocacy Services (SHAAS)
Phone: + 27 (0)21 650 2977
University of Stellenbosch
US Client Services Centre
Phone: +27 (0)21 808 9111
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Accommodation for Students
Phone and Email: see the website for campus-specific contact details
Phone: +27 (0)46 603 8276
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Cape Town Residence Central Office
Placement Officer, Mrs Pamela Brieley
Phone: +27 (0)21 460 4274
University of Witwatersrand
Central Accommodation Office
Phone: +27 (0)11 717 9172/ 9173/ 9174
University of Pretoria
Residence Mangement and Student Life
Ms Lanché van Tonder
Phone: +27 (0)12 420 2181
University of Western Cape
Phone: +27 (0)21 959 2569
A ‘diggs’ is essentially a living arrangement where you have flat mates or house mates (in South Africa, we generally call an apartment a ‘flat,’). In a diggs, you rent a room in a flat or a house, usually on a lease agreement.
Every diggs has its own way of going about things. Some diggs mates cook together and arrange fun activities like movie nights and outings. Others are calmer and people keep a bit more to themselves. But it’s a wonderful way to be independent, and not have to live alone. It also relieves expenses for electricity, water, Internet, etc., as these expenses are generally shared between all diggs mates.
Where can I find it?
Like with student accommodation, a great site to use for finding a digs is Gumtree. In the property section, you can select the type of accommodation you are looking for, like “Flat Share & House Share” – and use the filters to refine your search. Gumtree is a good option to consider, if you’re helping your child find a flat. Word of mouth is also a really effective source on finding good digs. However act quickly, since the best time to look is between October to November for the following year to get the most cost effective and best locale places. When the new year starts, there is a flurry of activity and you will literally only have hours to make decisions before they are snapped up.
What to consider?
Once your child leaves the nest you’ll need to prepare them to fend for themselves for a while.
1. Sort out Admin
Admin. Admin. Admin. We all have to go through it at some stage in our lives. By this I mean you need to prepare your child with the necessary knowledge to handle lease agreements, utility bills, rent payments and dealing with landlords.
What to tell your kids:
- Don’t sign the lease agreement just yet. Make sure they read their lease agreement several times before signing.
- Groceries don’t buy themselves and your child needs to eat. Write a up a general list of things they should buy just to get the hang of it at first.
- Pay the bills. Bills will pile up and your child needs to be aware about how much money they are spending. Sit down with them and come up with a budget plan to help them realize what they need to set aside for payments.
2. Budget for Necessities
Don’t forget to consider that your child may need to organise a whole bunch of things like a bed, kitchen equipment, laundry basket and who knows what else. Depending on the housing situation, it may come unfurnished, which means you need to make sure your child has everything they need BEFORE they move in. Check out some budgeting tips here.
3. Teach them Skills
When your child moves out, they might not know how to do several things without asking you for your help. Here are a few skills you can consider teaching them before they leave the nest.
- How to use a washing machine and do laundry
- Basics of banking and how to open a bank account (if they haven’t already)
- How to navigate public transport
- How to cook a few things
- How to do basic repairs in the house
- Finding a student job
What’s the Cooking Situation?
Let’s say your child can’t cook. Well, it might be a good idea to give them some guidance in this department then. A great idea is make a box, buy basic spices, ingredients and a cookbook and put them all in the box. All the essentials your child needs to start their cooking journey all together in one place. You could even go so far and write up a few recipes you think they might enjoy making. Try include some meals that remind them of home or even just a simple one like how to make pancakes.
FYI Looking for things to give your child for their new journey? Perhaps you want to look at buying the Yum-mo student cookbook as a Christmas gift for your child.
Rather be Safe than Sorry – Safety Tips
Of course, safety is a notion that gets thrown out the window the second students walk onto campus. Maybe it’s because students are excited to be free and do as they please, or maybe it’s the thrill of a new experience. Whatever the case, your children still need to be careful even if they are living on campus.
Here are a few safety tips your child can follow once living on and off campus.
Emergency Numbers to save in your Phone:
It is essential your child saves all these numbers in their cell phone just in case they ever need them (hopefully not!)
Nationwide Emergency Response: 10111
Cell Phone Emergencies: 112
Living on or close to your university campus means that your child either needs their own form of transport to get around or, alternatively, needs to use public transport. Have a look at these taxi listings to find out suitable transport options.
Most universities have a free student shuttle service that students can use to navigate their way around campus. You can have a look at the transport options for each province here.
If you’re looking for more information on tips for your child’s first rental, check this article out.
Advice 101 for Parents
- Stay calm. The universities, in general, are awesome when it comes to accommodating as many first year students as possible. If your child can get into res for the first year of university at least, it will give you peace of mind.
- In terms of costs, it’s certainly the most cost effective option to be in res. Nonetheless, do not panic if your child does not get accepted to res.
- Be aware, normally standards are set to ensure re-admittance for the following year, and the student may have to maintain certain grades in order to be eligible to stay on after 1st year. Ensure your child knows the criteria at the outset.
- Another point to be aware of is that when applying for res, there are many with traditions that may be difficult for the new student to enjoy. Nonetheless, it allows your child to work on their personal development.
- If you go to res administration at the beginning of the year during the few days that the students have to settle into res, you can get your name on a waiting list for any vacancies that may arise. You may need to be there 2/3 times a day to check.
- If the nerves get the best of you, there are many alternatives like diggs, hosted accommodation or unofficial university aligned residences. The noticeboards at all Student Centres have a host of notices about people looking for diggs mates or looking to share apartments with.
- Perhaps the most time-consuming personal thing for a student is doing laundry.
- Get your child to set aside specific times a week to do laundry, and not to forget bedding!
- There are many stories of laundry going missing when a student leaves it, so perhaps if you can afford a laundry service, its worth bringing it into the budget.
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