Making the transition into your tertiary studies is undoubtedly exciting. New people, a new scene, a ton of new opportunities and, often, a new city all contribute to this being the most inspiring and thrilling time of your life. Make sure Student Accommodation is part of your checklist.
Okay, so right about now you’re probably thinking “That sounds amazing- sign me up!”. This is the moment where we bring reality into the picture because, let’s be honest, life is not all rainbows and sunshine.
While you may experience some of the best times of your life during your tertiary studies, it is equally likely that you will encounter some of your toughest times. With all of this unchartered territory you have to navigate come new challenges and unexpected curveballs. So, maybe now you’re rethinking the whole “sign me up!” thing. Fair enough, but keep reading.
Perhaps one of the most daunting aspects of this stage of life is moving to a new city or moving out of home – or both. Your living situation can often make or break your experience at a university or college. In South Africa, we face a massive problem with regards to affordable accommodation for students. Many institutions that offer student residences (usually referred to as ‘res’) do not have nearly enough room for all of the students. As a result, getting into a residence can be competitive. There are also many institutions that don’t offer student residences.
Moving away from home to study is a big step. Besides not knowing what to expect from the studying experience, finding a comfortable living space without your parents is a major concern. Actually, finding any living space is a major concern. Let’s be real.
Trying to organise off-campus accommodation or liaise with landlords in a new city is tricky (adulting is hard, people!). There are many dodgy individuals out there who are looking to make a quick buck off naïve students in desperate need of accommodation. Okay, now you’re DEFINITELY rethinking the whole “sign me up!” thing. Don’t despair. We have solutions!
Living it up
A while ago, a group of UCT students recognised these problems, after struggling with accommodation for the duration of their university careers. They decided to do something about it. And so, DigsConnect was created.
The platform helps students find roommates and accommodation, predominantly in the areas around universities and colleges. Students and landlords are able to list houses and rooms on the site. They are also able to communicate directly through the platform. Best of all, it’s completely free.
Let’s set the scene. You didn’t get into a student residence, or have decided that it’s not for you and would rather live in a house or flat off campus. Maybe your institution doesn’t offer student residences. Either way, you now want to find a living situation with some like-minded students. However, you’re new to the city. You don’t know any people! Who will you live with!?
Option 1: you approach random people on the street.
This doesn’t work so you end up crashing on the couch of your aunt’s friend from the bingo club. Great start to university.
Option 2: you go onto DigsConnect and peruse a bunch of digs’ looking for people to fill rooms. Now, not only do you have a place to call home for the next few months, but you also some awesome new friends to start the year off with. Winning.
Application deadlines for institutions across South Africa are coming to an end. It’s an exciting time for most: out of reach of over-protective parents and the disciplines of high school, the lure of freedom can be an academic and social nirvana. Bring on the first year at university!
Let’s picture another scene. You’ve found a house, and a lovely group of people to live with- things are good. Alas, halfway through the year, one of your digsmates decides that, rather than continue with university next semester, they intend to spend the next 6 months of their life as a goat farmer in Outer-Mongolia. That’s great for them. However, now you have a room in your digs that needs to be filled ASAP.
Option 1: you could make a Facebook post and hope that your weird cousin isn’t the only one who responds. Awkward.
Option 2: you list the room on DigsConnect (for free!) and are instantly connected with many awesome students looking for a room. Amazing.
DigsConnect is a no-brainer. Having just hit their 2000th room listing, DigsConnect is currently taking over the student housing market in Cape Town, and soon hope to expand to Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. So, make sure to check them out for all your student housing needs!