Are you embarking on study in Australia? Once you have chosen your course and education institution, the next step is to organise your accommodation. Finding accommodation for your new study life in Australia can be difficult if you are overseas or just don’t know the territory.
The good news is this task is made easier by the myriad of resources that are available to help you to find the right accommodation for you.
When you are studying, it is important to have a good home base where you feel safe and relaxed. There are many accommodation options for international students in Australia. It is just a matter of finding the right place for you.
When choosing accommodation, the most important thing is to feel secure and happy, so you can focus on your studies and enjoy life. It is a good idea to research all your options before making a decision.
In this article, we provide some useful student accommodation tips to help you in your search, including what to look out for when selecting student accommodation, and the types of student accommodation options available.
So, where do you start?
A good starting point is to check with your education institution, as most of them will have accommodation services to help you. They can provide information on the range of accommodation options and their associated costs, give you access to student housing databases and help you to prepare for your move.
Lets now take a look ar what you should be aware of when choosing student accommodation.
What To Look Out For When Selecting Student Accommodation
Here are some accommodation tips on the things to look out for when selecting where to live whilst you are studying in Australia:
- Are there any social activities as part of the accommodation?
- Are there lead tenant support students who can support new students adjusting to the new surroundings?
- Are there other students and staff that speak your language there?
- How far will you have to travel for study, and for other aspects? What public transport options are available?
- How much is the total cost (look for additions such as utilities, appliances etc)? What is included in the cost (for example, utility bills, telephone, internet)?
- How fast is the internet speed?
- How safe is the environment?
- What are your rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
- Is the area quiet enough for sleeping and studying?
- How many others will you be sharing with? What are they like?
- Am you comfortable sharing with people of a different gender?
- Is the accommodation furnished or unfurnished?
- Does the accommodation include food or meal plans?
Types Of Student Accommodation
Listed below are the main types of student accommodation options for you to choose from.
Halls Of Residence And Colleges
These facilities are normally affiliated with, or owned by an institution and are located on campus or close to it. You can usually rent a single bedroom and share facilities including bathrooms and kitchen. Some institutions may provide apartment-style rooms with private bathrooms and kitchenettes.
All utilities (electricity, gas and water) are included in the fees, and internet access is also usually available in each room (although may be subject to an additional cost).
Colleges usually offer a range of student services such as daily meals in a formal dining room and academic tuition. Residences, on the other hand, may offer you greater independence, such as the ability to make your own meals in shared kitchens.
Prices vary, depending on the institution and location (metropolitan compared to regional, for example). Your institution’s accommodation service will be able to provide a price guide.
One of the main advantages of this type of accommodation are the many opportunities it provides for you to socialise and meet new people. There are also many organised gatherings throughout the year, such as formal balls,weekly parties and karaoke nights. This can really help you to settle in and make new friends.
Some insitutions also offer facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and cinema rooms.
There are often a range of co-curricular opportunities such as musicals and sporting teams.
Another benefit is the proximity to your campus. Walking to class means saving money on public transport and time!
There can be some downsides with this type of accommodation, such as:
- it can be expensive, although costs vary between institutions. Also be aware of what services are included in the cost (e.g. internet, cleaning, etc.). There may be programs offered to assist with cost, such as scholarships;
- there may be rules that you need to abide by when residing at the premises. This can include having guests over, noise level and using shared facilities and equipment;
- the social aspects may be distracting for some students. Loss of privacy can be an issue too (this will depend on your personal preferences).
This form of accommodation provides more independence than university colleges and the like. You will normally find self-contained apartments which include a kitchen, bathroom and small living area. You will need to check what is included in terms of utilities, internet, etc. Costs also vary between accommodation providers.
- Provides greater independence and privacy as living spaces are self-contained;
- You should be able to find a college apartment in close proximity to your campus.
- It may cost extra for meals and internet, for example. Check these as part of your research;
- You may lose that community feel that you would get from living on campus;
This type of accommodation requires you to rent a room in a private residence and sharing with the owners. You will usually have your own bedroom and share most facilities. Meals may also be provided. Costs vary.
- You may feel more comfortable in a home/family environment (closer to what you may be used to in your own home);
- It can be cheaper than other forms of accommodation as you may find the cost includes things like meals, laundry and other aspects.
- It may be difficult to adjust to a different family’s way of life (this could include things like house rules and meal cuisines on offer);
- You may miss social opportunities.
This may involve moving into a residence alone, or into a shared arrangement with others. You can search for share houses online, by word of mouth or check student noticeboards on campus. Costs will vary, depending on the location and type of accommodation you are looking for.
- Offers greater independence than other forms of accommodation, with greater freedoms in how you live (alhtough probably subject to some house rules if you share with others);
- Provides choice on where you live. Allows you to pick your preferable location, such as near a beach or closer to the city. Our student accommodation tip is to be mindful of the time it will take to commute to your education institution when choosing your accommodation.
- It can be expensive, especially if you will be living on your own. You also need to consider extta costs, including food and utilities/other bills;
- In some cases, it can be difficult sharing a place with others, particularly if you have different lifestyles. Avoid any issues at the start by making sure you are compatible with your future housemates. An accommodation tip is to set appropriate house rules, which is important to avoid potential disputes;
- You will need to deal with landlords/real estate agents and organise all aspects yourself (or in conjunction with your housemates if you are sharing). This includes all utilities and other bills, meals, etc.
This type of accommodation can be a good short-term option until you are able to arrange something more permanent. Perhaps as a starting point when you arrive in Australia, which then enables you to find the right accommodation for you as you settle in and begin to familiarise yourself with your surroundings.
You will normally be provided with a furnished bedroom and access to a shared bathroom and kitchen, laundry, lounge area and recreation facilities (which may include things such as pool tables and arcade game machines). Meals may be provided. You may also have the option to stay in a dorm-style or twin-share room. Prices vary depending on the location and types of services provided. Private and twin-share rooms are more expensive than dorm-style accommodation. Contact hostels in your area of interest to find out more about costs and services included.
- This form of accommodation provides lots of opportunities to meet new people;
- You should be able to find a hostel which is close to your campus that is convenient, saving you travel time and costs.
- Be aware that you may be required to share facilities with a large number of people;
- Make sure that the costs are reasonable, especially if you have to pay extra for meals.
Let us now share some student accommodation tips with you when deciding on where to live while you are studying in Australia.
Tips For Choosing Student Accommodation
Before choosing your accommodation in Australia, consider the following:
Don’t leave your student accommodation search until the last minute. Our accommodation tip is to start doing your research as soon as possible once you have organised your student visa. You might prefer to wait until you arrive in Australia to make a decision on where you live. This allows you to get a feel for the place in a way that you cannot get by viewing the premises online or by another remote method. If this is the case, at least book a short-term accommodation option so that you have somewhere to stay temporarily when you arrive in Australia. You can then make more long-term accommodation arrangements.
It can be a good idea to seek the advice of others when it comes to finding your student accommodation. A good place to start is your education institution, which will likely have such a service available to assist students. You might also speak to your fellow students and share tips and advice. Remember, they are in the same boat as you. And who knows, you might even arrange to live together and conduct your search together! Or, they may have a friend who is looking. Word-of-mouth can be a good way to find a place to live. Online searches are also useful. You can find virtually anything you are after on the internet! From accommodation information and tips, to places to view, there is a plethora of information available online to aid in your student accommodation search in Australia.
The importance of conducting comprehensive research into student accommodation options cannot be overestimated. This is one of our most important student accommodation tips to hep you in your search. Unless you have a good idea of what you are looking for and where you can find it, you are unlikely to land on the right accommodation for you. It is important to have a home base where you feel comfortable, and so deciding on where to live while you are studying in Australia is an important decision to make. Being unhappy where you live can really sour your experience in Australia. Arm yourself with as much information as you can to be in a position to choose wisely.
Think about the location where you would like to live. Consider what is convenient and practical for you. Would you prefer to live in the city or in the suburbs? Would you like to be able to walk to campus, or are you happy to drive or take public transport?
Location is one of the most important aspects of choosing accommodation for many students. Maybe you want to be close to the beach, the nightlife, or other cultural institutions? Think about whether you want a quiet location, perhaps in the suburbs, or something more bustling and central, such as the central business district and its surroundings. Also consider your safety and whether you would be comfortable living and commuting there each day. Walking alone at night could be one consideration, in which case you may be best to reside near well-lit areas and be close to landmarks and other people.
Consider how the accommodation would fit your lifestyle. What is important to you in your living arrangements? For instance, if you are after autonomy, privacy and a quiet environment, a share house or college may not suit you.
Also think about what you consider to be important in a home. Remember, you will likely be living in your chosen accommodation for the longer term. You should therefore make sure that your new surroundings and environment are suitable to you and your needs. Community and values are important aspects to take into account when selecting your student accommodation.
For instance, living in a sustainable way may be important to you. If so, look for accommodation options that support this. Or, you might need some extra study support. You may be able to find accommodation which provides this, most likely one which is affiliated with your education institution.
An important accommodation tip is to formulate a buget to determine exactly how much you can pay for your accommodation. Think carefully before committing to a more expensive option and ensure you have backup funds in case an additional expense comes up that you were not expecting. Look for affordability and the type of expense you are comfortable committing to for the long-term if needed.
When researching your options, consider the services and facilities that will be included with each accommodation option, and what extra costs you will incur. Some accommodation types offer all-inclusive arrangements, where everything is covered. Some also provide additional services and facilities, which may be included in the cost, or as an extra. And other accommodation types require you to pay for all expenses separately and above the costs of the accommodation itself, such as if you are renting.
Importantly, ensure that you are getting value for money when choosing your student accommodation.
Rights And Responsibilities
Make sure to check what rights and responsibilites you will have for all your potential student accommodation options. There will be some form of rules whatever accommodation you choose. Whether the provider is your education institution or an affiliated organisation; private rental or sharehouse; homestay, etc. you will need to follow certain rules and guidelines whilst you reside there. And some common sense ones too; respect others and your surroundings, and ask questions to confirm things you are not sure about. This makes for a more harmonious home environment; something that everyone is after.
Inventory Or Condition Report
If you will be renting private housing or university-managed property, you will be provided with a list of the contents/inventory of the property and the condition of each item, or a condition report which describes the state of the property. This enables you to prove that you did not cause damage, and are therefore entitled to have your deposit returned in full when you move out. Ensure that you understand what you are signing and agreeing to.
Remember, you will be committing, perhaps for a longer period, so you need to make sure you are making the right choice for you. Signing a lease, an agreement with your institution or an individual and/or others requires making a committment. Think carefully about whether you are making the right decision, including whether you are happy with the facilities, and are you comfortable with the people you will be living with?
Carefully read any contract or agreement that you need to sign when you settle on an accommodation option. Understanding your accommodation contract or lease is important. Make sure you take the time to read the document or ask for help if you need things clarified, or if there is anything that you don’t understand. Know exactly what it is that your signing – what is included, all costs and expenses, your rights and responsibilites, etc.
If you choose non-furnished accommodation, or there are extra things you need for your new home, there are more affordable ways to source items that are less expensive than an outright purchase. You could check out second-hand and pre-loved markets as well as rental schemes which can offer good alternatives to buying new things. This is even more important for more expensive items such as whitegoods (including refrigerators and washing machines) and furniture, which may not be included with your accommodation.
To learn more about applying for a student visa in Australia, please refer to our articles below.
Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates and additional information.
Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation to find out more about applying for a student visa, and for more student accommodation tips.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in applying for a student visa in Australia, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case. A migration professional can help you to do this.
For up to date advice on the student visa and more helpful accommodation tips, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration service providing advice on student visas, as well as other aspects to make your experience living in Australia the best it can be, such as student accommodation tips to help you to decide where to live.