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Students walking a trail off campus

Getting Along With Your Roommate


Some of the problems that arise from renting or living off campus, particularly with regards to International Students, have to do with living with a roommate.


To get along with your new roommates, remember these three key phrases:

responsibility, communication and respect.


Be responsible.
Do your part. Pay your share of any shared bills and pay them on time. Do your share of the housework, but don't clean up everyone's mess. If you use dishes, wash them. Nobody likes to clean but it has to be done. To keep your apartment tidy, everyone needs to pitch in.


Settle disputes in an objective manner. If you and your roommates have a disagreement, remember that there is a solution to every problem. Communication is key to ensure a peaceful living arrangement. For example, decide up front if you will share and prepare food together or if you will purchase and prepare food separately. Yelling, crying or "giving the silent treatment" does not usually help to resolve whatever issues you may be having. If you are unhappy with a situation speak to your roommate(s) in a calm manner to agree on a compromise. The most important thing to remember is that communication is vital and helps to prevent problems in the future.


Show Respect.
This cover the religious, cultural and ideological aspects of a person. It is not always easy to live with other people so it is important to show patience and respect. Everyone has their own habits and expectations. Communicate your expectations about quiet times and other issues and ask your roommates about their expectations. By setting out to respect the other tenant you will be able to coexist well.


Set Boudaries.
It is important to remember that each person in the house is entiltled to his/her privacy. You should refrain from entering another tenant's room, opening mail, using another tenant's property without permission or invading the other's personal space. Tenants should be open enough to discuss problems as they arise.


Important issues that must be discussed as soon as possible include:

  • Whether utilities will be split and paid by everyone or designated
  • The right protocol for guests and inviting guests over to stay
  • Whether or not the roommates will have a choice in how the sublets are chosen
  • If pets will be allowed in the house
  • Who will do what duties and when (such as cleaning)
  • The designation of quiet hours and noise hours


It is often a good idea to make a cleaning schedule at the beginning of the year, to avoid conflicts later on and so that everyone knows exactly what their duties are and when to do them.


Still have questions? Email our housing coordinator:  

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