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Monday, 2 July 2007

Guide for Roommates

Unfortunately or fortunately, being on a student’s budget sometimes mean that you might occupy the position of being a roommate. There are horror stories about roommates, but for most of us and the people that we’ve spoken with, the roommate situation is not as bad as it’s made out to be. Titchie lived with an aunt who was based in New York City, while Tricia stayed with family friend, Lia Uy-Tioco who was looking for a roommate when Tricia arrived. Lia became like an ate to Tricia by showing Tricia the ropes to independent living in New York.

We think that the key to all roommate situations is an interview. This way each one can size the other up and talk about rules before they finally decide to share living accommodations. Prospective roommates should talk about personal schedules, habits, preferences, quirks and even allergies to see if they’ll be able to withstand living in so closely with each other. Below are some questions and issues that prospective roommates should discuss beforehand:

Financial Cost

  1. What is the total cost of the apartment?
  2. How much is each person’s share?
  3. When is the payment expected?
  4. What is the payment set-up? Do you pay your roommate or the landlord? (Sometime, the lease is under the name of one renter. Sometimes it could be under the name of all renters.)
  5. How should the bills be split up? (Electricity, cable bill, groceries (toilet paper, toothpaste etc.) Students usually spend a lot of time on the internet, so we recommend that you each have your own phone line.


  1. Which areas of the apartment belong to which person?


  1. 1. How often do you want to clean the apartment?
  2. How do you want to split the responsibilities?

Habits/ Schedule

  1. What is your weekday schedule like?
  2. What time do you usually get up to go to school? (This is really helpful if you are to share a bathroom).
  3. How are each of you likely to spend your weekends? (If he or she rises early, plays music on Saturday mornings, situations might become testy and even intolerable).
  4. Do you eat out a lot?
  5. Do you like to cook?


  1. Is it OK if friends, boyfriends/ girlfriends sleep over? How many nights per week?
  2. If friends/family from the Philippines come over, how long can they stay? (Take note that many non-Filipinos will not welcome a visitor staying for more than three days. Tell guests who are visiting from out of town and those who plan to stay on for longer than three days that they might have to find a hotel or some other accommodations,)

Party Situations

  1. Do you mind hosting parties in the apartment?
  2. How should we divide the work when setting up for the party?
  3. Which areas are open to the guests? Which areas are off-limits?


  1. Which of the appliances, furniture, clothes, books, CDs can we share?

Wise Words: I had a German roommate for two semesters, a Chinese roommate for one semester, and an American roommate for another semester. My tip: Be open-minded and expect that foreigners have different living habits from you, especially when it comes to cleanliness in the bathroom and kitchen. You just have to live with it, or risk offending them. –Alpi Bacani, Sophia University, Tokyo

Wise Words: Keep your things on your side of the room, wash your own dishes, don't leave spoiled food in the fridge and make sure to pick off your hair clog after you take a shower. Oh, and let your Manila callers know NOT to call in the middle of the night! --Kitty Espiritu, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York

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