We Compared Pros and Cons of Dorms, Private Apartments and Coliving Spaces
There are many universities in the Czech Republic. Most of them, for example, Charles University, are located in Prague, some are situated in Brno and the rest of them are scattered all across the country. Some of those students who do not study in the city where they live, choose to travel to classes as often as it is needed. But what about those students who cannot travel great distances every day and have to find accommodation closer to the university they chose to study at?
Dormitories: Cheapest Choice with Minimum Privacy
Students who cannot or do not want to travel from one city to another (almost) daily, have a few options to choose from. The traditional option is living in a dormitory with other students. Dormitories, just like any other thing, have their pros and cons. Among the pros are, for example, lower prices. The prices differ depending on each university, but in general, it is about 3.000 CZK a month per bed. Besides the price, living in a dormitory can have another benefit compared to private accommodation: sharing space with another – possibly more experienced – student that can help their roommate with studying.
However, this also goes hand in hand with the fact that dormitories don’t offer much privacy – having a roommate is something that cannot be avoided in this case. Sometimes, it is, of course, no problem as the roommate can be well-behaved or even helpful, but more often than not people have to accept sharing their dorm with someone who has completely different needs. Either way, privacy cannot be achieved here which is certainly an unpleasant factor since everybody needs privacy sometimes. On top of that, most dormitories don’t have private kitchens, while some don’t even offer private bathrooms or restrooms. So not only the students cannot prepare their own food, but they also have to share bathrooms and restrooms which are almost always occupied by someone. Even worse yet – they tend to be busiest when one really needs to use them.
Another unpleasant aspect of living in dormitories is their strict rules such as being able to leave or come back only during a specific timespan, which many students describe as particularly annoying. Not all dormitories have this rule, but it is still quite common. Following this rule is usually being secured by (often unfriendly) gatekeepers. God forbid one fails to return from a concert later than they should – whether they get to return to the dorms is entirely up to the gatekeepers, who also make sure nobody will bring a friend with them after a certain hour.
Private Apartments: More Comfort and Freedom
The other option is renting an apartment. Students can either rent a small apartment for a lower price or share a bigger apartment with a couple of other students who would split the fees – each one of them would pay their share. Either way, it should come as no surprise that renting a private apartment is noticeably more expensive than living in a dormitory – usually from 4 300 to 8 500 CZK a month per bed. It may not seem as too much but any student would surely be able to come up with dozens of ideas about how to make better use of the extra money they’d have to pay. The price can also be even higher depending on other factors such as size of the apartment, its condition, equipment, and so on.
On the other hand, living in a private apartment comes with many advantages. Easily the biggest advantage is, of course, the level of privacy that cannot be achieved in dormitories. Even compared to shared apartments. Despite this, there is no 100 percent guarantee of peace – just like having noisy neighbours, one can share their apartment with noisy roommates. Still, the possibility of being able to escape the surrounding world by simply locking the door cannot be overlooked. Noise can be eliminated by earplugs. The rest of the problems related to living in a dorm such as the shared kitchens and bathrooms? Not so much.
Another big advantage of private apartments is their size, which is one of the aspects that make privacy possible in the first place. As you may know, dorms are usually not particularly big and on top of that, the individual rooms usually need to accommodate several beds.
Hand in hand with this comes also more freedom mostly because of the lack of strict rules and unfriendly gatekeepers. Students can leave and come back as they please, bring anything (or anyone) they want with them and landlords usually let their tenants know about their visits in advance. But of course, it is better to be considerate and discuss some of these things with other roommates or flatmates (unless the person lives in their very own apartment).
When it comes to apartments, students also have more options to choose from. This may seem like a trifle, but when you consider that many dormitories are often situated far from the individual faculties it suddenly makes more sense to start thinking about living in a private apartment. Better localities in general can change one’s mind too.
Coliving: Serviced Units with a Common Area
Somewhere in between, there is also the third option that is still quite new in the Czech Republic. This third thing is coliving which combines both dormitories and private apartments. Imagine an apartment building that has common spaces where students can meet each other like in dormitories, but they live in modern, usually fully-furnished units. These units are usually smaller than regular apartments, but they have their own bathroom and in the majority of cases also kitchen or kitchenette. On top of that, coliving often offers many options for leisure activities as well, such as gyms or study rooms, and so on. Similarly to dormitories, they also have reception, but that doesn’t mean students have to deal with unpleasant gatekeepers whose knowledge of foreign languages is mostly limited. On the other hand, this comfort also comes for a price, which is a higher rent.
All of these options have some pros and cons but in the end, the decision is up to each student and their preferences and situation. Either way, all of these options guarantee many new exciting experiences – especially for those who are going to live on their own for the very first time.
This article was written in collaboration with Foreigners.cz a relocation agency based in Prague, Brno and other Czech cities.