Let’s get one thing straight. The majority of students who study abroad are young, don’t speak the language and don’t know anything about living in a foreign country. This being said, when SUNY Oswego recommended that we find housing through an agency called Sal y Ven, we blindly trusted that would be the best thing to do. Well we were wrong.
We were placed into an apartment that previously had problems with the student tenants who lived there the semester before us. Those same students had warned us that the landlord was rude and that the people living in the apartment complex gave them a hard time. We took this warning with a grain of salt; those students could have been loud and maybe didn’t speak Spanish so communication could have been hard. Again we were wrong. From the moment we moved in there were rules, no socializing in the kitchen past 11pm, no using the water past 11pm, no visitors, no noise, no mail can be received to the apartment, no locking the bedrooms etc. We accepted these rules and moved on, living as quietly and respectfully as possible. Then the complaints started. The landlord received two complaints about us; one was that we threw a party… on a weekend that the four of us were in Budapest. The second complaint was to the agency Sal y Ven that said that the people in the building were going to sue the landlord if we did not move out of the apartment.
When we were told we had to move they included that it was not our fault it was the fault of the landlord. Well if it’s not our fault then why are we the ones being punished? We signed a contract to live in the apartment until May, no one, not the landlord or Sal y Ven should break that. The agency knew that there were problems in the past with this landlord so we should never have been placed there to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, we did not want to live the way we were in that apartment, but moving after we had just settled in was a big burden.
We got over the fact we had to move and went to go see an apartment that Sal y Ven said we could move right into. They had said that this was the only available option for us if we wanted to stay together. We were shocked when we saw the place they wanted us to live. It was 1/3 of the size of our other apartment and had no kitchen. HAD NO KITCHEN! They expected us to pay the same rent and live in an apartment with no kitchen for 4 months. It was rude that they even sent us to see that apartment.
That’s when we decide to take things into our own hands. We wrote an email to all party’s involved, SUNY Oswego study abroad advisor, the director in Spain and Sal Y Ven. we explained that we felt that we were being taken advantage of and it was not fair for us to have to move. It was not our problem that the people in the apartment complex did not like our landlord and we wanted some compensation for having to leave. Sal Y Ven wrote back explaining it was not their fault and that we could go live in another apartment for one month until they could find us another place…thus moving twice in 2 months. This was the best/ only option for us so we agreed.
We never heard back from SUNY Oswego, not even after the first move just to make sure everything was okay. That was the biggest disappointment, they were supposed to be on our side and let us down.
Moral of the story, do your research, ask questions, don’t blindly go into anything especially if they have had problems in the past. Don’t trust everything the school tells you and stick up for yourself because when we finally did it was too late.