Accommodation in Australia: a guide for international students

Finding your perfect accommodation option in Australia, is a little like the process of matchmaking. The courtship process is a bit like a house inspection, and the end of the road is where you agree to go steady and sign on the dotted line of your lease. Like any healthy relationship, building trust is a two-way street and getting to know your landlord, housemates, and neighbours is key.

Metaphors aside, finding accommodation that will suit your needs and your personality is crucial for a productive (and fun!) time abroad. Here are your options.

1. First time in Australia? Consider accommodation in dormitories or on-campus student residences

These are available at universities across the globe. They’re usually quite reasonably priced. Generally, you’ll apply for accommodation after you’ve received your admission confirmation. The key to remember here is that dorm rooms come in very limited quantities, and are sometimes reserved for local, non-international students only.

Dormitories and student residences are an excellent and safe option. You can be sure that you’ll be close to your classrooms (or have easy public transport access to them), and you’ll have processes and structures set up in place to support you. Think social, cultural, and sports programs, community events, barbeques, and social nights.

If you’re feeling a little trepidatious about studying abroad, then on-campus accommodation is for you. Just remember to get in as early as possible – these accommodation options tend to be the most limited!

2. Looking for an immersive experience? Homestay accommodation is for you. 

So you’ve left your home country, and in addition to your studies, what you’re really looking for is to improve your English conversational skills – not to mention, you’d like to learn more about the culture you’ve immersed yourself in.

If this sounds like you, then homestay accommodation is your best bet.

Homestay accommodation is where local families in the community will open up their doors to students, and offer a room for rent within their house.

One student from the University of Tasmania commented on their homestay experience:

‘I was happy living with my homestay family. I still remember it as a magical experience. Now I can study and live better in Tasmania because of this experience.’

For some, homestay accommodation is a perfect balance between the support you need when travelling to and living in a new country, and total immersion in a new culture.

3. Want to live like a local? Hop on Gumtree (no, really)!

Have you already been living in Australia for a few months – maybe even a few years?

Then it’s time to spread your wings and consider renting a house or apartment with friends. If you don’t have friends in your new city yet, you’ll always find that some of your fellow students are seeking a new housemate in their existing rental.

Typically, this is the accommodation set-up that most local students will be taking advantage of. Do you remember the TV series, Friends? If you hit the jackpot in your shared private accommodation situation, this could be you!

Unlike the previous options, you’ll probably need to find private accommodation yourself. A good place to start in your search if you’re looking to join an existing share house, is Gumtree. If you’re looking to rent your own house or apartment, RealEstate and Domain are good places to start. Whatever you do – remember to inspect a property yourself before you commit to it.

Whatever you choose, rest assured that you’re going to be just fine with Australia ranking amongst the safest countries in the world. These are just three options of many more available out there. Best of luck in your searches!

Considering studying at a university or college in Australia. Sign up for Sofiri (it’s free!) to talk with one of our education experts about your options.

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