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How to plan for research year overseas


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I'l be leaving in September for a research year overseas, and I'm trying to get my ducks in a row beforehand. i live in a shared apartment with two roommates, but our lease bans subletting, so I'm going to lose the apartment when I leave. There's a good chance that one of the current roommates will be moving out in another year for their own overseas research period, but it's not guaranteed. I do have a verbal promise of first dibs on any room that becomes free when I get back if I desire it. 

I am trying to figure out what the best plan is for storing my stuff and negotiating my return. I have a long-term partner who I'd like to move in with when I come back, but just on the off chance that something goes wrong in the relationship during a year of long-distance, I'm a bit leery of storing all of my things at his place and planning only on the outcome that I will move in with him when I get back. I was thinking of leasing a storage unit with a couple of other grad students going overseas and splitting costs, but as I said, I could probably store it for free with my partner or parents (if I'm willing to drive it six hours in a u-Haul). 

Anyone who's gone through this process have any advice, tips, etc. for putting your rental life on hold during the year you're gone, or how to slip relatively painlessly back into your old spot when you get back?

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I stored my things in a storage unit that was convenient to where I had been living and to where I planned to be when I got back. I went with climate-controlled indoor storage with decent security, just so I wouldn't have to worry about damage to any furniture or about theft. I drove my car to my mom's house and left it there, with the assurance that she or my stepdad would drive it every week or so (which they did). 

I didn't have roommates or anything to worry about. The rental market where I did my PhD was pretty much a year-round market so I lived on a friend's couch for like 5 days when I got back to town before securing a lease and arranging to move my things in. Paid some grad student friends to help me move things plus borrowed a friend's pickup truck. It was actually pretty smooth and easy, all things considered. I moved into a different place when I got back though, ironically, my previous place was available but I just didn't want to live in that particular apartment again (I remembered its flaws too well!).

I hope this helps!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I haven't figured that out either now that I know I'll be gone for 15 months.  I do have someone co-signing the lease and willing to stay there.  After that... not sure... I'll probably try to sublet the place for the summer or just cough up the money and pay the rent.  My apartment is a rare find for its price and I'm not willing to lose it if i have to come back to my university for dissertation writing and teaching (hello, university library).  But I do know that I'll see what I can pack in my parents' car when I return to town briefly in a month and go with it.

I'd do the U-Haul option, honestly to be on the safe side.

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I stored my things with my roommate. We went overseas at the same time but came back at different times. We agreed for 12-month shared unit and after that we said we would take it from there. Since it was on my credit card, I just kept paying until she came back and then she gave me my money back. It was like setting money aside for me hahaha Neither of us knew when we would get back exactly or if we would live together (though it was the plan). 

As regards the apartment, we both left ours. When she came back, she moved in with her SO (also after a very long period of long distance since he had gone for research the year before) and I moved in with other grads. There is always people wanting to live with grads! 

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