Students studying abroad in the fall scramble to find subletters


Illustration by Lily Ogburn

According to the NU’s website, fall is the most popular quarter to study abroad.

Kristen Axtman, Assistant Campus Editor

Bienen sophomore Quinn Shumway is studying in London Fall Quarter and started his search for a subletter a few months ago. 

Shumway started by posting his room in a four person apartment on Reddit. The social media platform wasn’t effective and everyone interested fell through, so he turned to the Northwestern Apartment and Housing Facebook group a few days ago.

He said he’s received some promising responses, but he has yet to finalize a deal with a subletter.

Shumway is one of many students scrambling to find a subletter for Fall Quarter. Posts offering sublet options have flooded platforms like Facebook and GroupMe. He said he is hopeful he will find a sublet, but is skeptical whether two of his roommates, who are also looking for a subletter, will find one. 

“In general, if you ask around, I think it’s kind of rare for people to find (a subletter) to be honest,” he said. “Upperclassmen who studied abroad are always super pessimistic about it.” 

Over the past few months, Communication sophomore Connor Tooman, who is studying in Paris Fall Quarter, said he’s received about four responses to his post on the Facebook group and two messages in the NU ’25 GroupMe. Most of the potential subletters interested in his apartment are grad students. 

Before signing a lease for his apartment, Tooman said he did not consider living on campus or subletting someone else’s apartment for winter and spring quarters next year. Now, he said he wished he had taken the difficulty of finding a fall subletter into account before committing. 

“I think the biggest thing is it’s definitely an extra expense to be paying, especially while I’m also going to be paying for housing when I’m studying abroad,” he said. 

Searching for a subletter while managing classes can be time consuming, Tooman added. He hopes he will have more time and energy to look for a subletter over the summer. 

Tooman added it’s difficult to answer potential subletter’s questions, because he currently lives on campus and does not know all the information about his apartment next year. He said his apartment uses solar panels, which is not typical of Evanston apartments, and he has trouble communicating what that entails when prospective subletters inquire.  

“I don’t have easy access to the apartment to offer to give tours, or give any good photos or videos of things they want to know more information about,” he said. 

Unlike Tooman, Communication sophomore Jankhna Sura, who is studying in Denmark in the fall, said she knew it would be difficult to find a subletter. She said none of her friends have found a subletter for the fall. 

Plus, she added, it’s important for her to consider factors outside of her personal finances when considering who should live in her apartment. 

“My two roommates that are staying here are also a little stressed about it because they don’t necessarily want to live with someone that they may not know,” Sura said. 

Sura said the quarter system makes it even harder to find a subletter because fall is such a specific time window.

Shumway said several things helped his post generate interest –– including being flexible with the lease dates, knowing the answers to specifics about his apartment and including photos in his Facebook post. He added students studying abroad in the fall should consider signing leases that begin in January. 

Still, Sura said she is not giving up on her search. 

“I’m pretty hopeful that there will be someone at some point that will magically need a place to live, so I’m optimistic” Sura said. “I want to believe that I will find someone.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KristenAxtman1

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