Alumnos Internacionales UM
Hello to everybody,
This is Arturo Fernández. I come from Spain, where I’m a Civil Engineering student. I am currently staying at UM in an interchange year.

I won’t tell you my own story about how I finally found a good place for living. What I will do, is telling you what I learned in the meanwhile. For those foreign students here in Montevideo, here you have a few tips.

In a simple way:

1. Don’t panic
-       There’s plenty of room for everyone.

-       Stay calmed if you find nothing when starting to search. That is what usually happens - it took me a month to find my place.

-       There are good hostels in the city where to put up just for the first days, weeks or even months. They’re cheap and you’ll get a discount if you plan to stay for longer.

Personally, I find that hostels are the best choice at the beginning. It is possible to pay day by day. You will be able to leave whenever you want. You’ll meet lots of people in your same situation, perhaps future apartment mates. In other words, it is a good way to integrate in the city. I leave you some links:

2. Do not make any quick decision
-       No matter how beautiful Internet pictures are, you need to visit the apartment before making up your mind. That means, once you have arrived in Montevideo.

-       Do not send a deposit before coming, unless you’re treating with a hotel or a hostel. Ask the University for Advice.

-       If you have decided to live in a family house, do not sign your contract or send money (again) before coming. Do not give a copy of your Visa. Ask the family for a trial before formalizing. Don’t forget that once you’ve signed a contract you must carry it out.

3. Ask
-       Other students: Where do they live? How much do they pay? Don’t be ashamed, they’ll understand. They’ve already gone through that. By doing so, you’ll get an idea of the situation before starting your search.

-       Owners: ask everything about price. Are community fees included? Is there a deposit? How much is it? Is the electricity cost included? How much will it be if you breach the contract?

-       Tell the owner if you find the agreement expensive, he will try to get as much as you give.
4. Stay informed

A. Real estate agencies

-       Advantages: They are reliable. It is easier negotiating though them than directly with owners. They will take charge in case of damage or breakdown.

-       Disadvantages: You will have to pay extra. Deposit will be higher.

-       Here is a tip: Visit more than one (you’re under no obligation to them, that’s why you will pay them a is their duty). Negotiate.

B. Do it yourself

-       Advantages: You can find cheaper prices.

-       Disadvantages: It is risky; you may have to struggle against people.

-       Some advice: Do not sign if you are not completely sure. If in the agreement you find something either difficult to understand, either ambiguous, demand it to be written again. Check if the house is damp, if the heating is correctly working, etc. Search for drawbacks, it helps dealing. Do always negotiate (as a foreigner you’ll probably be given a price higher than the real one), a good way to do it is by asking the owner to include community fees in the price.

-       Where to look: Sunday building supplement of “El País” paper. Web site:

5. Think about it carefully
-       Take the contract home and read it through carefully. If necessary, show it to the person in charge of exchange students at the university.

-       Do not answer immediately. Even if you love the flat. Tell them you need to meditate and that you will give them your decision within a week. They will claim that it is very cheap and that people are interested. They will also say that apartments are scarce. There is only one true thing in what they say. There are plenty of people willing to rent a flat. So, take at least four days to answer. If they call you before, that means they are craving for should ask them to lower the price.

6. Say it clear
No matter how good friends you are, when sharing accommodation you need to make everything clear from the beginning. Divide the deposit so that every resident pays the same amount of money. You will all feel responsible for the flat and nobody will lose money. Make the contract be read by all the people involved, you will avoid further misinterpretation.

I hope this is useful to you. Finally,  I’d like to insist that it is not difficult to make mistakes when just arrived in a city.
Good luck and best regards.


4/12/2012 08:46:23 pm

I am the first time on this site and am really enthusiastic about and so many good articles .


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