Where you decide to live is a very important decision, as you will be living there for the duration of your course. You choose a place where you are going to be happy.
What are the different accommodation options for international students?
There are two main choices - Halls of residence or private flats and houses. Halls of residence are University/College owned international student accommodation (full board or self-catering). Or a student can stay in a rented flat or house. Private accommodation - is typically a room in a house or a flat shared with other students. Below is a breakdown of the different types:
Halls of Residence
Most universities provide their accommodation for students. These are usually based on campus or very close by. These can be suite rooms or a room with shared facilities. Some universities can offer meals. They are usually overseen by a resident member of the university to ensure the welfare and safety of the students. We recommend that at least for the first year you consider staying in this type of accommodation. It would have easy access to the university and allow you to settle into the country much better. It would also allow you to meet with a variety of other students and cultures.
Many students resided in properties owned by private landlords. You will have your room, but will be sharing the kitchen and, usually, bathroom. You will usually split all bills with the other students. You will be responsible for your cooking. The universities usually have a list of approved properties and can help you find somewhere to live.
Homestay allows you to rent a room from a local family near to where you are studying. This helps you learn the local lifestyle and language. You would normally live, eat and share most of your time with your host family. Usually all meals, bills and laundry are included. Your university will have a list of approved families.
Make sure you apply for your accommodation as soon as you have chosen your university. Demand for accommodation is also very high, and the availability of on-campus accommodation (if available) cannot be guaranteed. We always recommend that international students live in halls as this gives them more support and it is easier to meet people socially. Most institutions guarantee international students a place in halls for their first year for this reason.
When should I organise somewhere to live?
It is strongly advised that you find somewhere to live before you leave your home country. Your university will send you information on your accommodation choices, whether renting from the university itself or recommended private landlords. If you cannot, then at least book a few days in a hotel or hostel before you leave to give yourself a base while you look around for somewhere to stay. Again, your university should be able to recommend a suitable place for you.