When I first started college in Finland, I lived with my then-fiance, but after we broke up I moved to a shared flat offered by student housing organization. It was a three bedroom flat in a relatively shabby part of Helsinki. You couldn't choose your roommates or your room, so I was told my roommates would be a Chinese girl Z and a Finnish girl M and my room would be number 2, the middle of three rooms. When I was carrying my stuff in I met the Finnish girl M, who said she was just moving out and she didn't know who'd move in to her room. Then I met Chinese girl Z, who said she had her friend X living with her now and then (basically all the time). I'm a flexible person, so I said that's fine. For the first week I got along just fine with Z and X, they were pretty quiet. The only negative side was the constant strong smell of Chinese food in the whole flat, my coworkers said I even smelled like Chinese food when I went to work.
After the first week three girls just suddenly arrived and moved into the third room. They introduced themselves as J, C and R and they said they were from Kenya. So now we had 6 people living in this three person flat, with only one bathroom and a tiny kitchen. I got along just fine with J,C and R too, but Chinese girl Z hated them at first sight. She told me that the Kenyan girls were dirty, untrustworthy etc. I tried to stay neutral, even though I did notice that our bathroom stank like cat pee, there were shoe marks on the toilet seat (!) and that the girls didn't really throw away their trash etc. Our freezer was full of raw meat, so there was no room for the Chinese girls' food or for my stuff. After the first week or so, I realized my Kenyan roommates had a business going on in their room and random guys would show up asking for "black girls" at our door. Two girls waited in our kitchen, while one girl was in the room with her guest... Chinese roommates and I took the doorbell off, because the Kenyan girls' guests were stopping by at odd hours. Then their guests started throwing rocks at the girls window to get their attentions, sometimes hitting mine. I have to say I was not impressed. We discussed things in a group, but somehow it escalated into the Chinese girls yelling and Kenyan girls swearing and me trying to calm everyone down. Kenyan girls decided it was time to play hardball with the Chinese and started pouring their shampoo down the drain and writing "bitch" on their milk cartons etc. Both of the groups came to me to complain about each other. I still tried to be neutral.
One day our Kenyan roommates had written a note on our kitchen wall saying they will have a Kenyan party in our flat this weekend. I decided to go home for the weekend, since I needed to study. When I came back on Monday, our flat was completely trashed; our furniture had been thrown off the balcony, and there was food on the walls etc. I decided to stop being neutral. Chinese roommate Z approached me with a written complaint to the housing organization. I didn't sign it with her, since her complaint was very colorful, but wrote a small addition to it myself. Student organization took our complaint seriously and Kenyan roommates got evicted right away.
As you may have already guessed based on the previous tale, the eviction did not go smoothly. Our Kenyan roommates flat out refused to leave. One day when I was coming home from work, my key wouldn't work on our lock. I called the housing organization and they told me that they had changed the locks so that the Kenyans couldn't get in anymore. They told me not to open the door when the doorbell rings, because the Kenyans might try to get back that way. I had had enough, I decided to move in with my then-boyfriend and forget the whole shared living experience.
After a while, the student organization offered me a studio apartment in a brand new building. They said since I had had such a rough experience with my first place I was allowed to be the first to choose an apartment in a brand new building. I chose the one with the rooftop terrace. It was awesome, student living doesn't get much better than that :)
The building where my studio apartment was situated
Next up: my experiences of college living in the U.S :)
Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!