Su Casa Es Mi Casa: Finding a Place to Live

Finding a place to live in another country can be a bit daunting.  When I taught in Barcelona, I used a program that set me up with a host family and I didn’t really have to think about anything except getting myself there.  This time around, I was completely on my own.  It was a learning experience, but ultimately I ended up in a place that I love!

Resources for finding an apartment:
http://www.portalinmobiliario.com/ (vacant apartments)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/roommateandflatfinderchile/ (typically people who are looking for a roommate)
http://www.compartomidepto.cl/ (also people who are looking for a roomie, apartments are usually furnished)
http://santiago.en.craigslist.org/ (all over the map but it’s possible to find a hidden gem here)
I only used the above sites, but a woman at my school also suggested the following websites:

http://www.homeurbano.com/en/tourist-guide/accommodations-in-providencia-prices-and-map.aspx
http://www.elrastro.cl
http://www.yapo.cl
http://www.goplaceit.com/cl

I ended up getting really lucky and landing an apartment in Providencia, a vibrant neighborhood wedged between the business district and downtown. I’m a three minute walk from Tobalaba Metro and the bus stop, plus there are a ton of bars/restaurants/stores/supermarkets just a few steps away from my place.  My roommate is Chilean, and we’ve already had some great conversations and lovely dinners together.  I have really enjoyed living with her so far, and I am so incredibly grateful that my living situation is as it is!
 
Temporary lodging:
Before I found my apartment, I considered staying in a hostel to save money.  At the last minute, I suddenly thought about using AirBnB. I am really glad I did.  I found a room in a wonderful, cozy apartment with another equally kind and welcoming roommate.  She and I cooked together, did pilates, went out for drinks…. the apartment itself felt like home. And the price was almost the same as it would have been if I had stayed in a hostel.
 

Apartment Living in Chile:
*Buildings are quite secure.  Apartment buildings have a guard or concierge, and the door remains locked until they push a button to let you in.  The door is locked from the inside, too.  You can’t get in or out unless that button has been pushed.  The alternative is a tall fence/wall, which is common around houses.  In that case you just need a key.  Theft is an issue here, so having extra security is pretty serious.
*Everything runs on gas.  Every house needs to have plenty of fósforos (matches) lying around in order to light the burner on the stove.
*A/Cs are sparse.  Most people cool their home down by opening windows, and apparently in the winter you need a lot of blankets.
*So far it seems like recycling is important to a lot of people. Recycling bins and composting sites are abundant in apartment buildings.
*Most people have a housekeeper.  It’s just a part of life here.
*You CAN drink the tap water.  It doesn’t taste good (I guess it’s got a lot of extra stuff in it), but it is drinkable.

room
Here is the view from my room. 🙂
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