It was such a long(and somewhat painful) journey for me to find a place to stay and settle in DC. I currently live with my 4 american girls in a big row house near my office, and fully enjoy my life with them so far. Hope this help for fellows who are looking for a house outside of Atlas Corps housing.
Finding my place was not easy at all from the beginning. I actually applied for one of Atlas corps’ housings, and I got accepted. But soon, I realized that the house is not close to my office and my working hour is earlier and longer than other fellows. So I decided to get a room near my office so that I can commute by walk. Before I came to DC, I was in a third country so didn’t have much sources to search a room.
I stayed in an AirBnB for the first two weeks with another fellow, and started house hunting almost everyday after the orientation. I browsed Crag’s list and Zillow every hour and visited some houses and met roommates-to-be. None of them were satisfactory. It seemed not working well. I started get the jitters.
Meanwhile, I had dinner with my boss and supervisor one night. They asked me if I have any difficulties to settle in DC, and I told them I have hard time finding a place to stay. My boss told me she will let me know if she could find any in her network. I was grateful for her willing to help, and I hoped to hear positive new from her soon.
The first week orientation for new class ended, and GLL started. I met lots of old class fellows including Koreans, and one of them advised me several website that I can try out for house hunting. The websites belonged to several churches in DC/VA area, and there is a board for people who are looking for a roommate practicing same religion. So while keep searching a room from Craig’s list and several other websites, I asked some people near me to inform if they know any source.
Almost two weeks passed, and I got emails from my boss that some people are willing to help me by offering their places temporarily! I talked with them and visited their houses. I decided to stay in a lady’s house for two weeks, for free. She does not live the house since she got a new job in other city, so the house is waiting for a new tenant. Of course I couldn’t afford the house, but thankfully the lady allowed me to stay there while I’m searching my own. So I started to stay the lady’s house and kept searching a permanent place for me. It was early February.
I visited many houses and talked with lots of people. One day I went to a house as I usually did, to see the room and people living there. They were very nice and the room is affordable, so I hope they offer me the room if they also liked me. and I got a YES email on that night. I was so excited to live nice four roommates in a row house, which is near my work. I found the room ad from a church’s website, so we have common interest and lots of things to share. Now it’s been more than 10 months I live in this house, and I can definitely say my roommate made my stay in DC amazing and unforgettable
So, if you’re looking for a new house or need to get a room to settle as a new fellow outside of Atlas corps housing, I’d like to suggest to try out these:
1) Ask help from local people (including your colleges at work)
: locals have more sources, and they went through same experience when they came to DC first time.
2) Search the community-based website
: there are some organization that have a space for posting housing/roommate. If you have a certain religion, it’s also great to search a church’s website.
3) Compare the prices from diverse websites like Crag’s list and many others. it’s always good to know the current quotation, and to sort out scam.
4) Ask advice from old fellows
: Especially those who are living non-Atlas corps housing residents, can share their experiences and useful tips. Also, you might be able to take over their contracts or join the house after the old class fellow leaves.