Finding accommodation in Australia

Finding accommodation

Finding a comfortable place to live is an essential part of a successful student life, and contributes to the overall study experience in Australia. Therefore, for you to make the best choice in ensuring that you can focus on your studies, enjoy your student life, and embrace this new and diverse cultural environment, it is vital that you understand all your options and are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities. 

(Photo credits: www.urbanest.com.au)
(Photo credits: www.urbanest.com.au)

However, finding accommodation can be quite daunting, especially for international students who do not have any local connection and have no idea where to start. It is one of the major fears of students when they first arrive in a foreign land, being confronted by anxiety and unfamiliarity due to the lack of understanding of local cultures and surroundings.

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I also understand that it can be quite challenging to find great quality accommodation close to universities, offering great value for money as well as a safe and well looked after place to live in. But fret not, here are some tips and options for you—before we jump into the search, though, we should first ask ourselves these important questions:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What is the travel time to my campus?
  • Do I want to live by myself or with friends?
  • How much budget do I have?
  • What are my legal rights?

Would you rather pay for convenience and less travel time but share a room with another person, or would you prefer to have your own spacious private room and put up with 30-40 minutes of travel time to university each day?

In each city, there are areas where students tend to live, based on affordability and relative proximity to campus. You have to decide what is considered as a good location to you because everyone may be looking for very different things.

Here are some of the accommodation options for you to explore and consider:

1. Homestay

You may register for a homestay and live as a guest within an Australian household for the duration of your studies. The cost usually includes meals and it is a convenient option that offers a ‘real’ Australian experience, and you also get to practice and improve your English speaking skills. Hooray!

However, this option is typically more expensive than living in a share house, and it is not necessarily close to your campus. But if this is the type of experience you are looking to gain from studying abroad, go for it! The Global Experience is a good platform to find and arrange for a homestay; do check out Homestay.com and HomeStay.net.au too!

(Photo Credits: Angelina Yin, CQUni Master of HRM student)
(Photo Credits: Angelina Yin, CQUni Master of Human Resource Management Student)

2.  Student Accommodation (Managed Apartments)

There are many ‘hostel’ style apartments in the city that are built and maintained specifically for students. Usually located in strategic places around the city, student apartments provide a good living environment as well as organised systems and processes to ensure the safety and security of students, providing parents with the comfort that their children are in safe hands.

Student accommodation-urbanest2
(Photo Credits: www.urbanest.com.au)
Student Accommodation - Urbanest
(Photo Credits: www.urbanest.com.au)

For most student apartments, the rent is usually inclusive of water, electricity and Internet bills. They also offer a broad range of furnished rooms that you can choose from. It may not be the cheapest, but if you fancy a convenient, safe and student-community living accommodation, this is a good option.

Some of the largest student accommodations are Urbanest, UniLodge, Iglu and Student Hostels.

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(Photo credits: http://www.iglu.com.au)

Other city-specific student accommodation finders that you may jump on:

3. Shared Accommodation

Shared accommodation with other students or tenants is usually more affordable. You may find a place that suits your budget and lifestyle requirements, but it may take some time to land on an ideal one. Some of my favourite websites are Flatmates, FlatmateFinders, EasyRoomMate and Roomster. Many people are looking for flatmates or roommates on these sites; you may be the one they are looking for!

shareapartment-iglu
(Photo credits: www.iglu.com.au)

Tips: Want to know more about each suburb?

Check out Myboot.com—it provides some profiles and crime stats of many Australian suburbs.

4. Private Rental Accommodation

Renting a place (alone or with friends) is one of the most common options, but would take some time to search, inspect and arrange. It is still a good choice because you get to choose the property based on your budget, location and the people you want to live with (if you are moving in with some good friends).

For Rent-Domain 2
(Photo credits: www.domain.com.au)

However, it may not be easy for students to apply for an accommodation via real estate agencies as they usually prefer tenants with more stability and credibility, but it is still possible. You may want to approach the agencies that provide support to students. While it is nice to rent a private place, a furnished unit is usually quite expensive. If you rent an empty unit, you may need to set aside some budget to furnish the unit and get home appliances; and don’t forget to factor in utility bills, which are normally paid quarterly.

You may search for the real estate agents and properties for rent from online real estate platforms such as Domain, Real Estate, Rate My Agent and Home Sales.

Tips: Prepare for house inspection by getting this Property Inspection Checklist!

Last but not the least… Do also check out other advertising platforms such as:

  • Facebook groups – follow your campus official Facebook group or type ‘room search [city name]’ into Facebook and join any groups that come up and search from there.
  • Gumtree – look on it for vacant room adverts.
  • Campus notice board – look out for ‘room-to-let,’ ‘flatmates-wanted’ ads.

Oh! How about short-term accommodation?”

I understand that some students may be here on an exchange program or during the summer term, you may want to check out Semester in Australia as well as some of the options above.

Remember, each option has their benefits and drawbacks. It is important to know what you want before deciding which option can meet your needs.

I hope you find this helpful! If you are still struggling with finding a place to stay, do talk to your campus student services for the support you need, or feel free to connect with me and I will try my best to assist you. 🙂

Happy lodge-hunting!

Shirley (https://cqunilife.com)

Changemaker, Photographer, Explorer and Lover. A Malaysian-Born Chinese. Graduated from Graduate Cert. in Social Innovation and now pursuing Master of Project Management in #CQUni. #LoveLife #LeadingChange


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