Looking for housing as an international student can become confusing, as there are many different options for types of accommodation. It is important to determine what you want to get out of your living situation, how much personal space you think you will require and your personal budget, as different housing styles are appropriate for different people. To help you understand your options, we have provided you with and explanation on the different accommodation types available to you.
If you haven’t already organised housing before you arrive, it is a good idea to book short term accommodation. This will allow you time to begin looking properly and secure permanent accommodation that is a perfect match for you.
If you are on a tight budget, consider staying temporarily in budget accommodation such as hostels. Most have a mix of private and dormitory style rooms available. For example, take a look at YHA Australia and Hostels.com. For a more comfortable option, you can consider staying in a hotel, as you can often find discounted rates online. For a quick search of hotel accommodation, check out hotels.spiible.com, where you can compare from a wide variety of locations, prices, and accommodation styles.
When renting a property, you can choose to rent alone or with others. Renting a home, apartment or flat with others is great for sharing costs, as well as meeting new locals to share experiences with. It is important to choose someone you think you can get along with, as you could be spending a lot of time together. Once you move in, determine how cleaning, buying groceries and other chores will be shared, to save from any conflict.
When trying to find rental accommodation, it is worth searching for student accommodation services at your educational institution. Many of the larger schools provide a list of student accommodation properties or advertisements from students looking for a flatmate. If you are looking to rent an apartment or flat yourself, check out websites such as Realestate.com.au or Unilodge.com.au. If you are looking to rent a room from shared accommodation, take a look at Flatmates.com.au or Gumtree.com.au.
Just note that dorm-style accommodation (renting a room in a residence hall, with shared bathroom, common room, etc.) is often referred to as hostel housing.
Many of the larger educational institutions provide on-campus housing for students. This is a very convenient option for international students, as the housing is often located on or near campus, and it provides students with a great opportunity to meet people, get involved and experience student life. Just search housing and accommodation on your school’s website.
If you would like to learn about the new culture and community first hand, consider living with an Australian family (homestay). There are a few different options available, and some provide board in exchange for household duties such as childcare and cleaning, so research which homestay-style works for you. Take a look at Australian Homestay Network, Familystay Australia and Homestay Direct, or search online ‘homestay’ with the name of your city. There are many homestay networks available.
It is important to have a clear idea of your budget when looking for accommodation. Keep in mind that most landlords or companies you rent from will require the down payment of a bond (security deposit) as well as the first month’s rent, so be sure to plan for this.
When looking for accommodation, make sure to do your research so you find the perfect fit for you. Consider if you can afford the housing, its location in regards to the university (is public transport an option?), the housing size and living facilities, and if you are sharing housing, who your flatmates will be. Most large institutions have housing services available to help you, so if you are struggling, make the most of them.
If you have any questions about this, or about any aspect of studying in Australia, please don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to ask questions below in the comment section, or email us directly a firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!
Words by Carla Brugliera