As a student, you need an affordable place that also accords you serenity to study and rest. As a student, you will also want to be close to school. One, to avoid spending unnecessarily on transport and two to be able to access the school resources as often and easily as possible. Most institutions provide hostels for their students. However, these hostels come with many conditions. While they are usually as close to the institution as physically possible, they do not always provide the right environment for a young academic mind to thrive. Some of them also come with logistical challenges during breaks. Qwetu Residences can only hold a finite number of students. The rest also need a place to lay their heads after days of academic toil.
Do not expect that you will find a place to rent right outside the school gate. Such would cost more than those that are a small distance away. For example, Strathmore students will usually pay about 11,000 shillings for a bedsitter in Madaraka while if they move a little further to Nairobi West or Highrise it could go for 2,000 shillings less. As a student before going off to find a place to rent in Nairobi, consider a few things.
- The first is the possibility of roommates. It is not wrong to abhor other people in your space. So it is okay if you would like to opt out of the roommate option. There are definite benefits and downsides to this. Just make sure the roommates are the right fit fro you to avoid inconveniences down the line.
- The second thing is your budget for the month. You should discern how much you are meant to spend every month on everything from rent to food to assignment delivery and even transport. Get as close to the school as possible without suffering the greed of landlords in the environs.
- The third thing is to weigh benefits of renting a house in Nairobi against finding a good hostel. A hostel comes with food and other amenities that you would have to find on your own. This could be problematic especially if you get a monthly allowance and the month outruns said allowance. This is not a decision to take lightly or for vane reasons.
- The fourth is you. Are you capable of fending for yourself? Can you cook and remember to lock the door behind you after you leave? This is Nairobi, if you are too naïve and careless you will be targeted and terrible things will follow.
- The fifth is security and your class schedule. Some may have classes until half past eight in the evening. Will it be safe to get from the school to the house at that time? Consider Utalii College for a person who lives in Roysambu for example. If you leave class at eight in the evening, the matatus do not usually use the service lane. You might be forced to walk up to Alsops in the illuminated darkness of the Thika Superhighway. This poses a myriad of risks.
Some institutions are so well placed in terms of residence options for the students. Like JKUAT for example, students can live in Juja and the houses there are quite affordable. This is unlike the situation at Kenya School of Law whose affordable student living choices are all the way in Ongata Rongai. As if to appease for this though, most matatus plying these routes do not charge hefty fares. For example, from the Madaraka stage to Strathmore University, students pay 10 shillings.
JKUAT and KU
These two institutions are very well located. The students get many choices for living quarters at affordable rates and other livings costs remain fairly low. A student in one of these institutions could live anywhere from Roysambu to Juja. These are very well developed places whose landlords are mindful of students and their needs. He fare from Roysambu to KU is 20 shillings. A bedsitter may go for as low as 5,000 shillings.
UON and KEMU
These two institutions have campuses in town. This broadens the choice pool a little bit and only poses a challenge in terms of peak time fares. A student in one of these institutions could live in South B which could be a one hour walk or 50 shillings fare and pay 8,000 shillings fro a bedsitter. They could also live in Ngara which is also a walking distance away and a rent of 7,000 shillings for a bedsitter.
Utalii College and KCA
For students pursuing the UON degree at Utalii, they do not get priority for the school hostels and the Qwetu Residence may be too far from these schools. Therefore, the first option is a bedsitter along Outering road for as low as 6,000 shillings. You could get one that would be within walking distance. Another option would be Roasters where bedsitters range about the same. The distance is still manageable on foot to Utalii and would be a mere crossing of the road for KCA. You can also live as far as Roysambu and still manage to walk to either of these institutions. Rent for a bedsitter in Roysambu can be as low as 5,000 shillings and with more space than the alternative. Fare is 30 shillings.
Here is a tip: do not stress too much about where you rent in Nairobi as a student. Truth is that your time in school is limited. You might not be comfortable and might have to walk a lot but that situation certainly will not last. Besides, walking will help boost your thinking capacity and sharpen your academic claws. As long as you are spending within the budget and getting a good environment for study, everything else should be moot. All the best.