It is important to organise your accommodation in Australia before you leave your home country.
Being happy and comfortable with where you live, not to mention being able to afford the rent, can greatly affect your study experience. Some institutions will offer on-campus accommodation for international students, and others will require you to find your own accommodation.
When researching your accommodation choices, you may wish to consider:
- How close is it to the institution?
- What public transport links are there?
- How close is it to shops and services?
- How big is your room?
- How many people are sharing your bathroom/kitchen?
- How much is the rent and bills?
Below are some of the main types of accommodation available to students (all amounts shown in AUS$):
On-campus accommodation/residential colleges
Approximate cost: $80-250 per week
On-campus accommodation comes in various forms, ranging from shared or private rooms to one bedroom flats, and can be catered or self-catered with private or shared bathrooms. The majority will have a kitchen, typically shared by four to eight students, though some accommodation is catered and food will be served in a dining hall. You may be able to choose to live in a single-sex residence.
On-campus accommodation is a popular choice for students, as usually it is located near the institution and provides services such as shops and laundry. It's also a great way to meet people and share your experience with other students. Basic facilities and bills will be included in your rent, which varies greatly according to location and room type. Students should apply for accommodation as early as possible to secure their preferred room type.
Residential colleges are the more expensive option as they provide meals. In some cases they may also provide sporting facilities, tutoring, libraries and computer facilities. These can cost approximately $10,000 to $20,000 a year.
Staying in on-campus accommodation is a great opportunity for international students to integrate into student life, make friends and absorb the Australian culture. The proximity to campus also has a huge benefit on academic growth, with easy access to the libraries and other campus facilities.
Approximate cost: $110-270 per week
You may be offered the opportunity to live with a host family during your studies; this is the most common type of accommodation for language students. It's a great way to practise speaking English and learn about Australian culture. You will be allocated your own private room, or possibly a shared room, and will be treated as a member of the family, sharing other facilities and being included in their activities. Students are also normally given morning and evening meals. You may be expected to help with household chores, and sometimes may also need to contribute financially to bills and costs. Your institution may be able to arrange, or provide contact details for, host families.
Approximate cost: $70-400 per week, plus bills
Alternatively you can rent a private flat, or room in a shared house. This usually entails your own private room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. This option often suits those wanting independence. In most cases bills will not be included in the monthly rent; you will need to agree how you are going to share these, as well as the cleaning duties, with your other housemates.
You should be aware that there may be a minimum lease; often six to twelve months, and a deposit is usually required to cover possible damage, which will be refunded when the tenancy ends. Students wishing to privately rent are advised to arrive in Australia a few weeks before their course starts in order to secure a place, as most landlords will not reserve accommodation without signing a contract. It is advisable to make sure you have seen the accommodation before handing over any money. Consult your institution's accommodation office for advice about renting privately.
Rental prices vary greatly in Australia. For instance, in the most expensive city Sydney, the closer you live to the centre of the city, the more expensive the housing is, but the closer you are to amenities and most institutions. If you don't mind travelling by train or bus to your university, you can find cheaper options in the suburbs.
For more information and details about accommodation options in Australia, visit the Study in Australia website.