The very moment I received my acceptance email to the Scottish Parliament Internship program, I started looking for accommodation. It was the one thing I was most excited, and most fearful about.
How could I possibly commit to a place when I could not see it in person? Would I be able to go on House Hunters International? How much was this all going to cost?
A thousand questions plagued my mind every second. My thoughts constantly raced, dreaming of idyllic european town houses with beautiful city street views. I fantasized about being walking distance from the centre of town, and sitting in trendy coffee shops to pass time on a lazy afternoon.
However as the time drew on, I came to realize my procrastination on the issue of finding housing needed to end. I decided to start actively searching. I established my list of must haves in a place: wifi included, no more than two miles from the Parliament Building, and within my max budget of $700 per month. Websites such as gumtree and airbnb became my new best friends. I stalked their material and advertisements hourly, abusing them as much as Netflix during finals week.
After a week or two of searching aimlessly, I decided living alone was something I did not want to do. Going abroad proved its own beast, the last thing I wanted to do was navigate everything solo.
I got in touch with another girl from my university going on the program and we decided to search for a place together. We agreed on location and wifi, and set a new budget of $500 monthly or less, agreeing that we were open to sharing a room if necessary to make that budget.
With a partner in tow, the housing search grew more aggressive and hands on. The month of June approached, and my heart beat faster at the fact my housing remained uncertain. I feared homelessness in a foreign country could be my future. A few potential options for accommodation presented themselves, but nothing myself or my fellow future intern were ready to commit to.
Finally, we decided the time came to expand our two person party. Three other girls, from different universities, also on the program joined our forces. Budgets and priorities matched, and thus the housing search truly took off. While the first week or so experienced a lack of action, soon we all received floods of Facebook messages from each other, sharing potential properties we had surfaced. Edlets had become our new best friend, and the dates September 1st to December 20th ingrained into our memories.
Despite a vast variety of options, the five of us managed to narrow our options down to our three best choices. After everyone voicing her concerns, we finally chose a place to call home during our four month adventure.
A two story, four bedroom, two bathroom flat in New Town served as our future home. I elected to share a room with a fellow intern, while the remaining girls chose to reside in rooms of their own.
The little flat rests barely half a mile from the Parliament Building, and will take a mere $250 from my bank account each month, if all goes accordingly.
Finding housing abroad, while initially tiresome and intimidating, proved to be quick and painless once I truly committed to finding it. More than that, my pocket book remains happy and of a healthy size. Whoever said that living in the UK would be inevitably more expensive, underestimated my ability to be frugal.