When students approach the end of their second year, they have the option to stay at the dorms or live outside of NYUSH-controlled premises. While the dorms offer the comfort of a bus service, quick on-call maintenance and repair service, and a sense of community through RA events, some students have different needs regarding housing, which leads them to consider living outside the dorms.

The Jingyao Residence Hall offers five room types: triple studio (16,957 RMB), double studio (22,865 RMB), double in suite (27,296 RMB), single in suite (31,727 RMB), and a premium single (42,375 RMB) that vary in room style and semester rate.

Students like João Vitor Lima Assumpção (Class of 2024), who live in a premium single suite, prefer to stay in the dorms because of their location near campus. They offer what he considers  “the most convenient way to live in China,” especially as he doesn’t speak a lot of Chinese, “which makes communication with a landlord more difficult.”

In João’s experience, “there are a lot of rules you need to follow, which is the annoying part of living in dorms, especially having to sign in guests you can only have between 7:00 am and 11:00 pm,” a complaint many students have that becomes a primary reason to move outside the dorms.

There is a shared opinion among students that life at the dorms can feel restricting, a motive that drives those students who seek more independence and freedom, like Christine Wijaya (Class of 2024), to find alternative housing options.

Since the start of the fall 2023 semester, Christine has lived alone in an apartment complex next to the C-store near the campus. She pays 12,000 RMB for rent and 375 RMB for monthly utilities. Her primary reason for moving was to accommodate her pet cat and be closer to the campus, as she has shortened her commute to a two-minute walk.

As for the challenges of renting an apartment, Christine said, “It can be a little complicated for people who don’t speak Chinese because, most of the time, realtors only speak Chinese, and finding a realtor who speaks English has an additional cost.”

Trisha Kuy Ng (Class of 2024) lives with one housemate in the Putuo district in Puxi, near Jing’an area, and they each pay 4500 RMB for rent and 150 RMB utilities per month. Their moving process was quite easy, thanks to  friends who lived off campus linking them to realtors who helped them find the place they liked the most.

When looking for places to rent, Trisha’s main consideration was finding “a bigger place that would also be cheaper than the dorms in an area [they] like and was convenient.”

With similar considerations, Damya Bhatia (Class of 2024) lives with two housemates in the Lingjia Sheng Qian complex, a seven-minute car ride, and pays 2400 RMB for rent and 150 RMB for utilities a month. She said that living in dorms “is quite expensive for what they’re offering in that, for the price you pay for a double in  NYU housing, you can get a single room off campus with a big apartment kitchen and living room.”

Korrina Poindexter-Benbow (Class of 2025) explored the idea of living alone because she wanted more space and felt she could get something offering better value for her money than the dorms, seeing as she pays 9,200 RMB for rent and 400 RMB for utilities per month.

Nevertheless, she has encountered some obstacles, the biggest being having to pay rent in segments, rather than monthly. Also, there have been complaints about neighbors who “blast music super loud at random times.” But she has learned “you can’t control the people around you.” Thus, living in an apartment may offer more freedom and a larger space, but at what cost?

As students contemplate the different housing options, it is important to consider the many factors that influence the decision, such as price, location, and housemates. Ultimately, it all boils down to personal preference and finding the right fit.