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Finding international student accommodation in Australia

Searching for accommodation when you’re moving overseas can feel overwhelming. We share some tips which may help take the stress out of finding your home away from home.

There are four main options for international student accommodation in Australia: on-campus accommodation, managed student accommodation, homestays and private rentals.
Each option has its benefits, so it’s important to be clear on your priorities so you can find a place that’s best suited to your budget, study and lifestyle needs.
It’s important to consider:
  • whether there is space to exercise and socialise
  • if the property is safe and secure
  • if it’s a good study environment
  • if it’s close to the university or school, a supermarket, cafes, eateries and other entertainment.

We suggest looking into your options early, making a list of your wants and needs, doing your homework and asking a lot of questions.

If location is your key priority you might choose to live on campus, but if you’re interested in immersing yourself in the Aussie culture, you might prefer a homestay. Living alone might be a deal breaker or perhaps you’d like to make new friends in a share house.

We explore the various options, share some pros and cons and tips to help navigate the Australian real estate market.


On campus accommodation

While every university is different, many offer on campus housing options for international students.

Having the convenience of being on university grounds means there’s no need to navigate the public transport system to get to class.

Most offer private furnished rooms, with shared bathrooms, dining halls and recreation areas. The level of support available to students varies greatly – so it’s important to read all the details and ask a lot of questions.

While the cost, facilities and availability varies between universities, it tends to be an expensive but popular accommodation option for international students.

If on campus living appeals to you, it’s a good idea to apply early (well before arriving in Australia) to ensure you don’t miss out.


Managed student accommodation

These apartments are purpose built for international students close to major universities and colleges.

Like on campus accommodation, they tend to be a more expensive option, however they’re also very convenient. The apartments are usually furnished and have all utilities (including internet) connected and ready to go.

Like on campus accommodation, they tend to be a more expensive option, however they’re also very convenient. The apartments are usually furnished and have all utilities (including internet) connected and ready to go.

You might have the option of a studio apartment, a private room with a shared kitchen or bathroom or a shared apartment. The kitchen and bathrooms are usually equipped with major appliances and a communal laundry will be onsite.

Many offer study areas, workshops and social events throughout the year. Every facility is different so it’s a good idea to investigate the recreation areas as some have onsite gyms, sports facilities, cinema rooms, gaming, BBQ’s, a pool or other outdoor facilities.

It’s common to offer 24-hour security and on-site support for students.


If you’re after the complete down under experience, a homestay might be the perfect introduction to Australian life. It’s an opportunity to live with a local family in their home for the first four weeks of your stay.

While the cost can vary, it’s typically an affordable option that may help ease the transition. As well as having the comforts of a home, meals and cleaning are usually included.

Your homestay family often acts as a tour guide, showing you the sites, sharing local knowledge and tips and all those everyday conversations will enable you to practice your English.

Homestay hosts are interviewed and screened by institutions and accommodation agencies to ensure a safe and appropriate environment for visiting students.

Your hosts might help you explore long-term accommodation options and if you make a great impression, may even give you a reference to help you secure a place of your own.


Private rentals

Whether you’re looking for your own space or if you’re keen to share with others, a private rental is another popular accommodation option for international students.

A share house rented through a landlord is more affordable than finding your own place as you can split the cost of rent and other utilities. It can also be a great way to meet new people, live independently and live like the locals.

Location is key so it’s a good idea to research the suburbs you’d like to live in. Consider the proximity to your university, work, public transport, the supermarket, cafes or restaurants, gym or other recreational activities.

There are various share housing websites, where you can search for rooms in a home leased or owned by someone else. Some may be furnished, and others may ask you to provide items of furniture or other utensils. You might also have to co-sign the lease and pay a share of the rental bond.

The other option is to find your own property through a real estate agent and either live on your own or find flatmates to rent a room to.

You can view properties online from real estate agents or via online rental guides like Domain or Properties come and go quickly so if you have an area in mind you can set up an alert to ensure you can view properties as soon as they hit the market.

The rental property market can be quite competitive, so it’s wise to contact the agent quickly to see when you can view the property.

To secure a rental property you need to complete an application and provide documents which may include bank statements, character references, rental history, application forms and ID points.

Generally, you need 100 points of ID, meaning you will need to make sure you have copies of your passport, driver’s license (if you have one) and/or Australian bank statements printed and ready. 


Protect your valuables

Whichever accommodation you decide on, you may want to make sure the important things you bring to Australia, plus any items you buy along the way, remain protected from theft and damage.

From phones and laptops to sporting gear and musical instruments – even gaming consoles, if that’s how you choose to unwind – Bupa can help keep some of your most valuable possessions safe*.

Get a quote for Bupa Valuables Insurance online in less than 60 seconds.


*Underwriting criteria, policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply.
Bupa Valuables Insurance is distributed by Bupa HI Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590, an authorised representative of the insurer, Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681. Any advice is general advice only and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if this product is right for you.

General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.


This article originally appeared on and has been published here with permission.

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