Each student coming to Slovenia has to face the challenge of searching for student accommodation. We have to be guided by several parameters: cost, distance from the faculty and/or the city centre, and personal preferences. There are several student home options — a room at student campus, a room in apartment or a private apartment. The price usually depends on 1) number of people in 1 room; 2) facilities (Internet — wired or wireless, bathroom — personal or shared, age of the building); 3) location (city, district, infrastructure).
The first option is a dormitory room
There is no free student accommodation for foreigners in Slovenia, unless a student arrives here by one of the student exchange programs. However, it is quite possible to find a room at a student dormitory in Slovenia. Most common type of placement is 1 or 2 people per room. If student chooses to live without neighbors, the rent would be significantly higher. Student dormitories that provide one room for 3–4 people are less common. Of course, this option is much cheaper than a separate residence. Most of the time, the toilet and bathroom are shared by all residents on the floor or by residents of a block of rooms (on average 1 block includes 2 rooms). It is possible to have your own toilet and bathroom if living in a private room. Each room has a mini-kitchen. The main kitchen is shared by everyone, making it the place where students socialize the most. In any case, all kitchens and bathrooms are in perfect condition in terms of hygiene and equipment.
On average, a room in Slovenian student campus will cost from €100 to €250 per month, including utility fees. Each dormitory is bound to have a reception manager that implements a certain set of rules in action. For example, students must keep the student house clean and tidy, it is strictly forbidden to smoke inside the dormitory, and bringing visitors after 10–11 PM is prohibited as well. These restrictions have been provided not to somehow infringe upon students, but to ensure their security. Students receive warning, reprimand, and then a fine, in case of not following the rules. If such situation repeats many times, the student may be expelled from the dormitory.
The second option is an apartment room
Many Slovenes lease their apartments to students. Sometimes they lease the full apartment, and sometimes they offer a room for rent. In the second case, you will have to share the living space not only with your neighbours, but also with owners. This option is especially common when the room is rented out not in apartment, but in a private house. However, the housing area is usually larger, and the rent is lower.
If you need help in searching for places at student dormitory, you can seek for assistance at the Student Service. Searching for a private student room is your own responsibility, but there is no need to worry about the language barrier, as the majority of owners speak English well. To find student rooms and apartments, you can visit websites like:
- studenthousing.si – English interface;
- nepremicnine.net – Slovenian interface.
Of course there are much more websites. It is also worth visiting Facebook: facebook.com. Here, the students, who already live in apartments/rooms, are looking for roommates. This is a fairly common type of student accommodation in Slovenia because it is much more affordable to share a room in an apartment that in campus. You can find a suitable option remotely by writing to owners via e-mail, but meeting in person is obviously a much better way. Firstly, good property owners are very important. Secondly, the room for rent on the internet might look a little different than in real life. Thirdly, it is important to understand that the owner and student fully understand each other in order to avoid future disputes.
Many students find a temporary stay option for two or three months, and then, having got used a bit to the environment, they move into a better apartment. The main thing is not to delay your search, as the good apartments for rent are in high demand amongst all students.
The apartment rent value depends on the same criteria as in the case with student dormitories. The only difference is that utility fees (stroški) are not usually included into the final amount, to which you should pay special attention while viewing ads. The price varies from €150 to €300. The average single room price in Ljubljana is €200 with utility bills included (enaposteljna soba) with an area up to 12 m2 located within a 20 minutes’ walk to a bus stop/city centre/faculty.
It should also be noted, that when signing the room or apartment lease contract in a dormitory, you can be asked to pay the bond before moving in. This is called “varščina” — a kind of “insurance” for an owner. The overpayment usually covers the cost of the last month’s rent or is returned to students when they leave the dormitory or apartment room.
Important: after signing the rental contract, students must ask the owner to sign a document on their temporary registration at the place of residence. Later you will need to bring this paper to the local authority (Upravna Enota) in order to obtain a registration document at the place of residence. You should always take this document with you as well as your passport or other ID. If you change the place of residence, you will need to repeat the procedure. Besides, it is required to provide the UE in advance with a document certifying termination of the previous rental contract.
The third option is to rent the whole apartment
This option is usually too expensive for students because a leased apartment or a studio will cost from €300 to €600 per month, including utilities, depending on location and conditions of the apartment. However, the advantage of this option is that you can find roommates yourself. After the 1st semester, many students form groups and collectively find a place to live in. It turns out to be quite cheap, and most importantly — pretty fun! In addition, it provides for significant savings on food, and often students partially replace “bons” with the meals cooked at home. Those with a strong sense of responsibility organize schedules for cleaning, cooking, washing, etc. Accommodation for renting with others can be selected according to various criteria, such as cheap utilities, distance from the city centre or faculty, and its general condition. The websites listed above will help in searching for a perfect student home.
When is it time to search for student accommodation?
The sooner you start searching for an apartment for lease, the more chances you will have in finding suitable student accommodation. If students arrive on exchange program, they can ask their mentor (organizer, tutor) help them with finding a room in campus. If a student is going to stay in Slovenia for a long period of time, it is best to start searching around June when a lot of students from Erasmus and other exchange programs leave Slovenia. The period from December to January is the right time to search for an apartment for the second semester, and March – April — for the summer season. There is nothing to worry about if you exceed these time periods. You can always find cheap enough hostels or hotels, accommodation with daily rental fees, and services like Airbnb. With their help, finding accommodation for the next 2–3 months is quite easy, giving you enough time to arrange something more suitable at a student campus or a room for rent.