Sunday, March 16, 2008

Housing Questions

General Housing Questions....
1) Is it better to live in the University dorms or to find an apartment? What are the pros and cons of those two options (cost, location, convenience, safety, etc)?

2) What are the differences between French University dorms and American University dorms?

3) What facilities (bathrooms, kitchens, common areas) do the dorms have?

4) Where are the apartments located? Dorms?

5) What furnishings need to be brought for the dorms? And for the apartments?

6) If living in a dorm, is it more difficult to interact with native French speakers? Which option is better for becoming fluent in French?

*If possible, if anyone has pictures of the dorms and the aparments, could you post those either on the blog or on Facebook (or simply give us a link to the photos)? That would be a great help!


Nicole said...

1) I'm going to have to say, again, that it's a matter of personal preference and how much you can afford. I personally hate dorms in general, so I chose apartment. Dorms: you'll save a LOT of money (I think it's something like 150 euros/month to live there, as opposed to my apartment, which is 450/month/person), you'll make many more foreign friends because they're available, but it's crazy far away and they're certainly not as good as UM dorms. Apartment - more room, your own bathroom, more money, not much interaction with the French - you'll have to meet them some other way, close to everything, and if you're lucky, you'll get an oven or a washing machine.

2) No toilet seats in the bathrooms. I think there were 3 toilets/3 showers per floor, and you have to bring your own toilet paper. The rooms are smallish, but not totally uncomfortable for one person, and you get a sink and a bidet in your room. Bring your own pillow - I wasn't a fan of the ones in the dorms.

3) I'm probably not the best person to answer this one, so I'll leave it to someone who stayed the whole year...

4) Apartments are in downtown Aix. Dorms are near the university, so I suppose that's another convenience that you'd have - it takes me about 25 minutes to walk from my apartment to the university & something like 40 to walk from there to Cuques (the dorms).

5) Apartments are fully furnished - we lucked out with ours and have a huge tv, couch, beds, sheets, hangers, dishes, pans, silverware, washing machine, drying racks, spices, etc. She even left some of her food for us to eat. Dorms - I guess as much as you'd want - you get a bed, a desk, 2 chairs, a cupboard on the wall, and a closet...but the walls are bare, as per usual. Lighting was pretty good in the dorms, from what I remember. And you get sheets. And a horrible blanket thing.

6) I'd say that living in the dorms is better for becoming fluent in French - it's the next best thing to living in a homestay. Not that living in an apartment is horrible for it, but it's definitely more difficult to meet French people outside of the dorms.

Pictures: I don't think they're in order, and some of them haven't been rotated, but I think you'll get the idea. I put them into a subalbum, but if you want to look at all of the pictures, I don't mind.

Liz Dushaw said...

1. I think there are pros and cons to both the dorms and the apartments and I can say having lived in both that neither are better than the other. Overall I would have stayed in the dorm for the entire year because the cost is so worth it. You get a single room with a sink and bidet, showers and toilets down the hall with a communal kitchen and very small fridge if you chose to have one. (the fridge it really small, the size of a large shoe box).All of this for 140 euros a month. What a steal. The downside, you are decently far from the downtown that going alone at night is not a good idea if you want to check out the bars and stuff. There is a bus from cuques to town which makes taking groceries back so much easier and its only 1.10 euro i think. The school is equi-distance from both the dorm and the apparements. the dorms may be a little closer.
What I liked about appartments was that laundry was easy to do, I could go out whenever I wanted, I had a tub/shower instead of the push thingy that you have to hold down to keep the water running at the dorms and I could cook easier and had a larger fridge and freezer. I found that niether gave me more opportunity to speak with natives. I feel that if you truely make an effort and go to the places Mme Feral suggests then you will meet many people. It takes an outgoing person to breach the french. Tutoring english is also a great way of meeting natives.