How to Find a Place to Live Abroad
The logistics of moving—and living—abroad are complex. Not only are you navigating a foreign place, but you're also faced with foreign sources of information. How do you know what's reliable, and what's a scam? When searching for an apartment, thorough, detailed research is going to be the key to success.
If you're a student, you should have tons of resources at your disposal to find housing, either online or through your university. But what if you're not a student? Then available information becomes scarce. You'll have a much harder time finding tips on somewhere to live if you're not a student, or you don't have connections through an employer or friend.
Fortunately, resources do exist… you just have to know where to look. And, more importantly, you have to be diligent about validating your research and checking back constantly. Apartment rentals are competitive, and listings can disappear if you're not quick.

Also, it's important to note that websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway offer great deals on short-term rentals. Sometimes, you can even work out longer terms with the apartment owners. (For example, month-long rentals on Airbnb usually offer some kind of discount.) But these options are only for shorter lengths in time, and can become costly when you have an extensive stay.

So for those of you looking for housing abroad for an extended amount of time, here are a few quick tips to get your research process started.
Search Online

The internet is your best friend during your housing search. At the very least, you should start with a simple Google search of "apartments available in + the city you're living in." Without a doubt, this will give you a ton of information to sift through.

For example, if I search "apartments in Paris," the results include several resources, such as Lodgis, where you can find furnished or unfurnished apartments for rent, sale, and more, both for vacation rentals or long-term stays. On this site alone, I have tons of options that I can sort and filter through depending on my budget and location.
Post on Craigslist
Believe it or not, Craigslist can be a great resource to use to find housing, among other things. You can search the posted ads, or post on yourself explaining your situation to see if anyone responds. Of course, any interaction you have on Craigslist will require A LOT of vetting. Be extra careful meeting anyone in person and absolutely do not send any personal information over until you're positive that the post is legitimate.

If you doubt the legitimacy of Craigslist for this, hear this personal story of mine: When I was living abroad in Paris, I posted an ad to Craigslist saying I was an English-speaker studying Paris and I needed a part-time job. I received a message from a woman who needed someone to babysit her 2-year-old son, and wanted me to speak English with him. I watched him every Thursday for a few hours after school for some extra cash. The family was wonderful. So, while it can be sketchy sometimes, Craigslist works!
Use a Rental Agency
Depending on your situation, the simplest way to find nice, reliable housing abroad might be to use an agency. While it may cost you quite a bit extra, it takes some of the stress out of searching on your own. You tell them exactly what you're looking for, and they provide options that have been inspected and evaluated, which is a huge advantage when attempting to operate in a foreign country.

Finding a rental agency should be as relatively easy —search for "apartment rental agency in + city." Beyond that, some sources suggest actually reaching out to the study abroad departments at your local university for tips. Even if you're not a student, advisors may be willing to share with you connections they have or agencies they work with. While it's an extra step to reach out to these people, it could help if you're having a particularly difficult time finding somewhere to live.

Check Social Media
Another great source for your housing search could be social media. Facebook, in particular, has a wonderful groups feature that might have something dedicated to housing in your destination city. This is especially useful if you're looking for shared accommodations (which is generally cheaper than living alone), as people will often post on social media when they're looking for someone to rent a second room or fill in a sublet. Consider posting in groups or forums, such as Reddit, to find options available. You might be surprised how helpful strangers online can be!

As usual, be extra careful when engaging people on social media for housing. Only meet someone in a public place at first, and check their online profiles thoroughly to make sure that they're real (and not a fake profile preying on innocent people online).
Conclusion
No matter the reason why you're moving abroad, you'll most likely need to find housing. And if resources aren't already being provided—or if you'd like to do some of your own research to get the best deal—you have options at your disposal. So give some of these options a try! And always remember to start looking as early as possible, as finding adequate, safe housing can be a long process. The sooner you get it figured out, the sooner you can focus on the rest of the logistics of moving abroad.

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