After a month or two of searching for the right accommodation I've finally found a place to stay, ok it's not 100% certain yet but I suppose you could say it's 90% certain. This entire ordeal with finding a place to stay has definitely not been easy at all and I was almost at this point where I thought I wouldn't find anything.
My first step was to take advantage of the different college accommodations around in Sydney. I applied quite early, well before the deadline...yet I didn't receive a place anywhere, I was just put on the waiting list. I was pretty clueless what to do next. When I was going to study in England, I had no problem whatsoever finding a room on-campus.
So I began doing some research on different accommodation options and stumbled upon the Homestay option and agencies. What a big mistake! Well, not the homestay part, but the agency option. I assumed that taking use of the offers homestay agencies have will be much better than fixing everything on my own. I used a big international homestay agency, since I thought they would have a lot to offer and I ever compared other agencies that were provided on the university's webpage. But, boy was I wrong.
I was assigned a coordinator to help me find homestay hosts once I paid the fee. In less than one week, he found me a family...but they live an insane amount of distance away from the University of Sydney! So I kindly declined that option and said I would want a place that was a little bit closer or which had good transport connection. So I waited, waited, waited, and waited.....and WAITED! No response, so I emailed him and said that I could modify my demands and that it would perhaps be easier to find something that way. Still no response, think I wrote in 4-5 emails and wrote him messages in Skype as well when I saw him online...nothing! So 1 month passed, and I got so unbelievably mad that I wrote him this long email, saying exactly what I thought about this entire thing and that I didn't receive any help at all from. 1 option was unacceptable....and then he replied blaming on some servers that weren't working for 1 week. But what about the other friggin weeks???
He told me that he just received my mails and that he would search for a homestay. I gave him an ultimatum that the had 1-2 days to find something...that certainly had him going...or did it?
During that time I was feeling sick of it all and tired of waiting, so I took the action in my own hands and began search around to find websites that listed homestay hosts and where I could list myself as a student for free. I found 3 websites, were I made a profile with a few lines describing me as a person and sent messages to as many homestay hosts I could find that would fit me. Even though I doubted whether this would work or not, I thought to myself that it's wouldn't hurt to try...at least I would get a reply whether they already had a student or perhaps just 1 saying that they had a room for me. Within 3 days I had received more than 20!!!! emails...yes 20+, both from hosts I had contacted and from hosts that had seen my profile. And guess what... that darn homestay agency coordination had found NONE! I was pretty much fed up with him and his agency, I feel like I've been fooled and the communication with him was of the worst kind. During all the time I gave him to find him something he had only found 1 lousy homestay, where I found 20 amazing ones during 3 days!?? I wrote him another long email, explaning what a lousy work he had done and how I felt...especially since I had to spend my hard earned money on the fee and I would like to cancel my application since I couldn't see and end to this. He offered me a 50% refund, fair enough if I had received a good service and communication were he would give me feedback and apologize for just finding 1 option. But I've been subjected to the worst service ever possible...
So to all the lovely people and students who are thinking of turning to a homestay agency, since they feel safer. DON'T. What I've learnt is that don't let other people do your work, it can only end badly. Instead go to websites that are free of charge and contact the hosts on your own, ok it may take more work...but it's so worth it and I received some very kind messages from wonderful families. Putting aside the bad agency experience (still not solved yet) I've gave my entire focus to the messages I received during the last 4-5 days.
All of them were so incredibly kind and caring, however I had to begin putting aside some of them one by one . I had to decline those who had pets (mildly sensitive/allergic to dogs and cats...didn't want to risk it), those who were too far way/didn't have the best transportation connections etc.. and I ended up with 4 options. 2 of them were right in the city while the rest in the suburbs. Being in the city is of course great, since it's close to everything, but there's also the issue with fumes/gas. While if I live in the suburbs, I can always take the bus into the city whenever I want to and I will have it a lot closer to the nature and the beach....however, depending on where I would live, it could take a while for me to get to the university.
Tricky tricky...I'll probably decide within a day or two.
Yikes I feel like I've been talking for far too long, so I'll give it a rest for today. Once again never entrust anyone else to do your work and stand up for your rights if you feel that you've been treated unjustly.
Until next time take care and hopefully this blog will be filled with more cheerful posts in the nearest future! :)