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    I'm an international student and would-be 1st year student and don't know if I should consider private housing.

    What I don't like about college dorms is sharing toilets and more importantly the unavailability of rooms during holidays - I may not be able to fly back to my home country... so this makes everything very complicated - needing to find another place to live etc...

    Any tips??
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    It's really not advisable, and many colleges won't allow first years to live out, unless they live with their parents. I think you'll find making friends with people at your college who do other subjects much easier if you live in, as you'll see them every day for meals, hang around the JCR together, etc.
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    Haven't you got an offer from Catz?!? They usually allow internationals to stay in college during the vacations for the same rate you pay during term time. You just need one of your tutors to sign a vacation form.
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    As you're going to be at Catz (at least I think you are - you seem to have changed your name), you should note that people ARE able to stay in their room throughout the holidays. You obviously have to pay, but plenty of people do stay, especially students from eastern Asia because travelling there and back is expensive and tiring.
    Also if you get an en-suite room, you'll most likely have to move to one that isn't, as conference guests understandably get the fancier rooms (they pay a LOT more for the room than you will, too).

    I can definitely sympathise about having to share a bathroom, and I didn't like it at all in my first year. It's unpleasant for sure, but equally, it isn't as though you can't make do (after a while you learn exactly when to plan your showers etc so that there's minimal chance of running into anyone ... that's what I did at least!), and I would definitely recommend staying in college as opposed to finding private accommodation for your first year. It'd be really difficult to meet people from college otherwise.
    If all is well, you'll get nice neighbours and then it won't be all that scary any more.
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    On my staircase, there was one shower and one bath between six of us, and the only time I had to wait for a shower was on matriculation morning. I never found sharing to be an issue.
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    I used to be at a boarding school and I shared bathrooms with people on my floor. It is sometimes a bit annoying when you really want to take a shower and they're all occupied. But besides that I really don't see the problem.
    One minor problem might be that it can be quite cold in the morning, and thus the waiting gets a lot worse.
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    Ok thanks for your opinions - will see....
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    If you think you'll want to live out from the start in October you really need to start looking.
    The norm seems to be student housemate groups form Michaelmass/early Hilary and you have it found & signed for by late Hilary/early Trinity. Although sometimes people are lacking in 1/2 people but have a house so advertise on mailing lists throughout Trinity and the summer.

    I'm not sure what there is as an individual and outside of these timeframes. When my significant other was looking there did seem to be 'rooms' more lodger style with the owner, or small apartments which tended to be advertised as wanting postgrad/matures/professionals to occupy.

    You can do a lot online. That was how we narrowed down our places to visit.
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    There is rather a lot more ensuite college accommodation in Oxford than there is ensuite private accommodation. In fact, I would suggest that finding an ensuite room privately near-ish the centre which a landlord is willing to let to a student would be nigh-on impossible.

    You need to deal with sharing a bathroom. Over the past year, I have found sharing a bathroom at college a lot more convenient than sharing a bathroom at home, and it's generally cleaner than my home bathroom too (as it gets cleaned every day).
 
 
 
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