Hello lovely people,
- DISCLAIMER -
This entry is for the Universidad del País Vasco (UPV), Campus de Bicaya, Leioa. NOT for the branch of the UPV in Deusto.
I arrived 2 weeks before the start of the semester in Bilbao. I am glad, that I had time to adjust myself to the city and I am especially glad, because it put me in a special position compared to the other Erasmus students.
When I was looking for a place to stay, the first thing I did was go to the university campus and visit the Help Center. The women working there was very nice and because there was basically noone else who came that early, we had time for a lenghty talk and she could give me many tips and informations concerning flats in Bilbao, like websites (www.alkila.net or www.pisocompartido.com). Next to these kinds of information there are also a bunch of flats, reserved for internationals. I got 2 pages of flats and rooms available and in cooperation with the uni. She even made the call for me to fix a date for appointment to look at one of the places.
In the end I found my room in the internet, but after looking at 3 different rooms in several areas in Bilbao. I pay 270 without water and electricity for my furnished room in Deusto. That is already a good price (average is around 350-300) but I know of friends that pay less for a better quality.
Always look for flats with WiFi. Always check if there is a bus-stop that lets you get to your campus close to the place. Not all flats have central heating and in Bilbao it gets quite chilly so keep that in mind too. The rooms get cheaper (and the quality better) when you share your flat with more people.
When I went to the Help Center again, when the first week of uni had started, the nice lady was completely overwhelmed by the amount of internationals that needed help for all kinds of things. As she is not there all day long, people had to wait and sometimes just couldn't talk to her as they planned to because it was simply to many other students before.
I highly recommend to arrive about a week earlier so you won't get into stress with this.
Obviously I also could choose as I liked from the offers, because there were almost no other internationals looking for a room so that is another argument.