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Where to Live Halls of Residence or Private Accommodation

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Where to Live? Halls of Residence {HoR} or Private Accommodation?

You have decided to study overseas but don’t know how to source accommodation. Discover what options are available as an international student and understand the key differences.

We recommend all students arrange their accommodation prior to arrival. Accommodation can be booked on a short-term basis whilst more long-term options are sought. However, short-term rentals are more expensive and can lead to unnecessary stress prior to course commencement. Please note, immigration officials may request a residential address prior to arrival. If students cannot furnish the necessary documentation this could lead to visa rejection or increased questioning when at the airport. Ensure you travel with all relevant documentation. Several options are outlined below; however, in all instances students will be required to pay a {significant} deposit which will be returned once the lease has expired and no damage is evident. This deposit is often 1-month of rent, ensure you budget for this prior to arrival. In most instances students are required to provide 4-6 weeks’ notice prior to departure. Before securing accommodation make sure you are familiar with the location of your university and the types of public transport available in the local area. You should avoid a significant daily commute where possible.

There are positivise and negatives to each option. The most common accommodation options available to students include the following:

  • Living with friends or Immediate family members
  • On-campus accommodation
  • Private university providers
  • Short Term Rental & Short-Term Hotel
  • Online Marketplace

Living with friends or immediate family members

Living with family or friends will significantly lower the living costs associated with an overseas education. This is a great option for those who have not travelled overseas and require time to settle and readjust to a new country and culture. If living with friends or family is a viable option, this should be the preferred option. However, always select accommodation within close proximity to work and the university you have selected. Undertaking a lengthy commute to university alongside studies and part time work can lead to significant stress. If this option is available, we advise all students to go with this.  

On-campus Accommodation

This is the most common option for international students as it provides an immediate support network and easy access to classes and university facilities. This option is usually more expensive, but significant savings can be made with time and travel expenses. In addition, most universities will have several facilities where meaningful and well-paid employment can be sought. Those studying in the US will only have this option when it comes to part time work opportunities. On-campus accommodation provides added security for parents worried about sending their children overseas. There will be residential supervisors available 24/7 and it’s a great way to meet new friends from different nationalities. In most instances accommodation will be offered at varying levels; single on-suites being the most expensive and shared facilities and dormitories being the most affordable. Please note, most universities do not possess adequate accommodation to meet student demand so book early to avoid disappointment.

Private University Providers

The international education industry has become a mature industry in most developed nations. Thus, several private sector companies have entered the market specialising in student accommodation for international students. This option is usually the most expensive, but the accessibility and the quality of accommodation usually surpasses accommodation found in the private rental market and on campus accommodation. Most providers will allow students the flexibility to reserve their room for 1 semester or 1-year. However, different prices will be quoted based on the intended length of stay. Private providers are usually found in large metropolitan cities where prices remain high because of rent. Its likely you will be sharing your accommodation with students from other colleges or universities. Thus, it’s a great way to meet people outside of your classroom and from different parts of the city. Remember, networking is important when looking for jobs and future work opportunities.

Short Term Rental & Short-Term Hotel

This option is great for those wanting to arrive in-country 30+ days prior to course commencement. This allows students and parents to establish what living options are available and to purchase all relevant items before course commencement. Students travelling for the first time are often accompanied by their friends or family members, so a hotel or Airbnb is usually the best option in this scenario. Hotels and private providers are likely to charge a premium for short term rentals, but it comes with increased flexibility if you decide to leave or commence renting an apartment earlier than expected. It’s common for students and parent to assess the options available before investing a significant amount of money in accommodation fees. Always negotiate with a hotel or private provider if you are staying for a prolonged period of time. Our team suggests trying to secure a minimum 20% discount on any publicised fees online. Please note, times just prior to university commencement usually attract a premier given the influx of students expected during those weeks / months.

Online Marketplace

Several online sites exist for students wanting to explore their options prior to arrival. Students should be aware of the risks associated with investing money before viewing the accommodation or meeting those they are going to be living with. If this is your first time living overseas, we advise against this. Prior to arrival we advise all students to join various Facebook {or equivalent} groups where topics covered include accommodation and housing availability in the local area. Living with other students is a great way to save money for those requiring a more budget friendly option. The most common options for online private rentals can be found below:

  • Facebook Groups
  • Gumtree
  • Craigslist

The options above will help you understand how much money will be required for accommodation and living expenses prior to arrival. We advise against going for the cheapest options as this usually comes with significant disadvantages. In most countries your part-time work will be sufficient to cover your living expenses. However, your part-time work will not be sufficient to cover your tuition fees. The funds required for your studies will need to be sourced from your country of origin.

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