This last part, of the three part housing series, wraps up the student housing privacy vs. cost tradeoff. So you can decide which one is best for you – and your wallet.
“Privacy” here stands for more than just “the state of being free from public attention” (Oxford Languages). It also involves some sense of autonomy in daily life, independence in decision making at home, and the degree of being on your own in general. This includes dealing with all everyday issues and problems by yourself.
All single apartments offer a high degree of privacy. Yet, some more than others in the sense of living in private. On the one hand, single apartments provided by private landlords usually offer the highest degree of “isolation”: They are located off-campus and normally placed in smaller buildings with fewer units. On the other hand, single apartments offered by housing companies are usually part of larger buildings with more single units and more people around. Finally, single apartments on campus are surrounded by young people who like loud music, endless parties, and enjoying themselves. In addition to that, everybody knows where you live.
Pricewise, it is the opposite: on-campus housing is the most expensive option and relatively easy to get. Housing companies offer smaller prices to be competitive on the market. Private options are usually the cheapest, but harder to find and get. Single rooms (own room, shared kitchen, shared bathroom) on campus are the most affordable “single” option. Still, they offer slightly less privacy than fully equipped single apartments with ensuite kitchens and bathrooms.
The most significant difference in flatshares is the price. On-campus flatshares or so-called student apartments can end up being super expensive (having many advantages) yet easy to get. On the other side, private flatshares can be by far(!) the cheapest housing option but extremely hard to get. Flatshares offered by housing companies are somewhere in between.
When it comes to privacy, the somewhat randomly “thrown together” flatshares offered by housing companies take the lead: You get your room but can’t choose who you live with. This might end up in everybody living their own life under the same roof. Private flatshares offer less privacy since it is somewhat expected to spend time together, share household chores, and make decisions in a group. However, to a degree, you can choose who you live with. By comparison, flatshares/student apartments on campus offer the smallest degree of privacy: You don’t get to choose who you live with, and there is always something going on.
Shared rooms offer more privacy than you think. If you break it down, it is just like a single room on campus (with all the benefits), only with another person who ideally becomes your friend. However, you are basically independent. You don’t live with your parents anymore, you can do whatever you want, and you only have to make terms with one person. It’s pretty cool, actually, yet still not the cheapest housing option. In contrast, homestays and living with your parents are the cheapest (sometimes free) options. However, typically, you are well integrated into family life and daily routines. The decision-making is up to others, and you still might be treated like a child.