As an international student, accommodation is a key part of your studies in Australia so we’ve put together this information below to help you navigate the many options available to you.
TYPES OF STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
There are various accommodation options available for international students:
- Short-term accommodation
- Residential colleges
- Purpose-built student accommodation
- Private rental accommodation
Short-term accommodation such as motels, hotels and hostels may be an option when you first arrive in Australia, are in between residences or need somewhere temporary to stay. If you are searching for short-term accommodation, websites such as Booking.com, Last Minute, Airbnb and Expedia may be useful.
Homestay is a cultural exchange between an international student and local individual or family. It involves staying within their home and receiving support at an affordable price. Homestays can provide many advantages such as having a safe and secure environment, an opportunity to improve your English, gaining more local knowledge and experience of the Australian culture from others and the possibility of making new friendships. If you are interested in homestay visit the Australian Homestay Network website for more information.
In some states in Australia, residential colleges are on offer for international students. For instance, Adelaide has four independent residential colleges – St Ann’s College, Lincoln College, Aquinas College and St Mark’s College. Although all of these colleges may operate their residences differently, they do tend to provide catering, cleaning and laundry services as well as communal spaces and activities to encourage community participation.
PURPOSE-BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is housing specifically designed for students. In most cases the buildings are modern, well maintained, located very close to education providers and come with furnished rooms. Nationally there are quite a few properties dedicated to student accommodation which you can find on the UniLodge, Amber and Scape websites.
PRIVATE RENTAL ACCOMMODATION
Private rentals or shared houses are a popular option for international students. It is also common for students to live together to make costs more affordable. Websites such as RealEstate.com and Domain can assist you with your search for a private residence, whereas others such as Flatmates and Flatematefinders can help connect you with others looking for a housemate.
ACCREDITED STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
In Australia, the Student Accommodation Association has introduced the National Property Accreditation Scheme (NPAS) to assist in identifying quality student accommodation that meets industry-led standards to find out which student accommodation is recommended, visit the NPAS website.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Whenever you are selecting accommodation, it is important to consider the following:
- The distance from the campus and other facilities such as shopping centres, work opportunities and medical centres.
- Your accessibility to public transport.
- The safety and security of the building and neighbourhood.
- Noise levels.
- The number and type of people you will be living with.
- The length of the lease.
- Heating and cooling.
- If it is furnished or unfurnished.
- The cost of the accommodation and what is included (eg. food, internet, utility bills).
When you are applying for accommodation, we recommend you:
- Always inspect it in person and never sign or pay a deposit until this happens.
- Carefully read the contract and lease agreements before signing.
- Ask for a copy of the receipts and signed paperwork.
- Check the functionality of all household devices and appliances.
- Take photos and report any existing damage or issues to your landlord immediately.
- Be aware of your rights and responsibilities (see below).
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As an international student, you have the same rights as a local resident, and it is important that you understand them and follow your responsibilities as a tenant. If you do ever encounter any issues that cannot be resolved, there are organisations that can provide assistance. These organisations can be found through your state's local Fair Trading government agency or rental rights body.