Australia is an amazing country which is loved by a large number of international students coming from all over the world.
Choosing accommodation is an important decision because you need to feel safe and happy where you live. There are numerous accommodation options in all the major Australian cities - from small private homestays to large shared student apartments.
Accommodation options and costs vary a lot depending on whether they are based.
The location options include:
· within a capital city (Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide, for example)
· in the suburbs (the residential areas surrounding capital cities)
· in a regional town (these are smaller cities located two or more hours away from the capital cities).
Within the city, the atmosphere can be very exciting and food, entertainment, shopping and transport are very convenient, but accommodation can be smaller and more costly. In the suburbs and in regional towns, facilities and entertainment options may be more limited and spread out, and you may require a car to get around, but accommodation is generally larger, cheaper and may have more of a ‘community’ atmosphere.
Now that you know ‘where’ your campus is located, you need to decide where you would like to live. Ask yourself what is important to you in a location. Would you like to be within walking distance to your campus or would you prefer to be close to particular facilities or landmarks (such as a shopping centre, the city or the beach)? It may be that you have a preference for a particular location regardless of where your campus is located and choose to travel to class by car or public transport. Think carefully about your transport options and what will be available where you live.
What type of accommodation suits you?
Most universities in Australia offer on-campus residence facilities to international students. You can also opt for off-campus accommodation wherein you can share apartments with other students from all over the world or stay with a local Australian family. The rent is usually paid every two weeks in advance.
Types of accommodation
Many private secondary schools offer students fully catered boarding options, meaning that meals, cleaning and laundry services are provided. Boarding costs may also cover academic tutoring and social activities after school, with most schools providing a supportive family atmosphere. Depending on the school, there may be shared or private rooms. Tuition fees are charged in addition to the boarding fees. On average, boarding school accommodation fees are around AUD$11,000 to $22,000 per year.
Homestay accommodation gives international students the option of living with an Australian family in their home. Single or shared rooms may be available, and costs vary according to the type of room (usually around $235 to $325 per week). Meals are usually included in the cost, although self-catered homestay is also available. This type of accommodation is popular with high school students and those studying short-term English courses. Most accommodation services at Australian institutions keep a register of approved and reputable homestay providers.
The prices and accommodation options at residential colleges, halls of residence and apartments vary between institutions, so you should contact the institution you're interested in for full details. These options are very popular, so it's a good idea to apply early. On average, on-campus accommodation costs around $110 to $280 per week.
Residential colleges provide accommodation, meals, cleaning and a wide range of support services for social and academic needs. They are generally more expensive than halls of residence because of the range of facilities and support services offered. Most offer private rooms, with shared bathrooms, dining halls and recreation areas.
Halls of residence
Halls of residence also offer accommodation and a lively social atmosphere, but with fewer facilities and services included. Some meals and cleaning services may be included, but self-catering facilities are provided, enabling students to be more independent. Most offer private rooms, with shared bathrooms, kitchens and recreation areas.
Some institutions also offer apartments for rent either close to or on campus. This provides students with the security of institution-approved accommodation, but with the increased freedom of fully self-catered living. Single and shared apartments are usually available. Apartments are popular with students in the later years of their degrees.
Hostels and guesthouses
Many students use hostels and guesthouses as temporary accommodation. Most offer private rooms, with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. Residents cook for themselves. This type of accommodation tends to be cheaper than on-campus accommodation (at around $90 to $150 per week) and provides good opportunities for social interaction.
Many students choose to rent a property by themselves or share the cost of a rental property with housemates. You may move into an existing household or set up a household with some friends. Rental properties are rarely furnished, so you will generally have to provide some or all of your furniture. Rental agreements usually require payment of rent in advance, as well as a security payment called a bond (usually one month's rent) that is paid up-front. You will also need to pay bills for electricity, gas and water.
Your institution's accommodation service can help with finding rental accommodation and provide information about your rights and obligations. Rental properties or rooms are advertised on student noticeboards, websites (such as realestate.com.au and domain.com.au) and in newspapers. On average, rental accommodation costs around $185 to $440 per week and shared rental accommodation costs around $95 to $215 per week.
Below is a list of agencies to help students to find their ideal accommodation:
· Australian Homestay Network (AHN)
· The Student Housing Company
· Journal Student Living
· Study Vision