An International Student’s Guide to Apartment Hunting

A portrait of an Asian college student in library

Student housing or off-campus accommodation? It is just one of the questions that students who want to attend university overseas need to answer. They must weigh their options carefully as living abroad can be expensive compared to their local lives. Fees such as university tuition, daily expenses and living arrangements can be high.

Many students prefer living outside the university as it gives them a sense of privacy and independence. If you’re an international student looking for an apartment outside campus, here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision.

Boarding Fees

Before planning what to buy for your stay abroad, you need to consider the boarding fees in your budget. How much are you willing to pay for off-campus accommodations? Would you consider having roommates to save on these fees?

In Melbourne, the fees range between $300 to $600 per week for student apartments. Make sure to ask about the lease terms and if these can be negotiated. Examine the fine print before signing the agreement. Note down the property’s policies and how to resolve disputes if any such arise. Always keep your receipts and a copy of the contract.

Apartment Amenities

Since your new living arrangement will be a small slice of home, you need to inspect all the amenities it has to offer. How much space does it have? Is it semi- or fully-furnished? Furnishing your apartment shouldn’t be a worry as there are many kitchen appliance stores in malls and shopping streets of Melbourne, for instance. These stores also sell sofas, bedroom essentials and other creature comforts. You can also go online to make enquiries and place orders.

University Proximity

Location is an important factor when looking for a place to stay. Unless you’re familiar with the city or country you’ll be staying in, it’s best to consider an apartment’s proximity to your preferred university. How far is it from the university (in terms of walking)? Are the area and its routes safe, in case you need to stay late for schoolwork? Is public transportation available? But the nearer the apartment is to the city centre and campus, the more expensive it is. Review your options and decide if you want to save on rent or choose accessibility.

Consider Sharing Your Apartment

Dorm type bedroom

Apartment sharing is the best way to save on expenses while studying overseas. It’s also a good opportunity to meet and socialise with local or fellow international students. You can learn more about your host country, its culture and interesting spots to visit. Apart from building a social network, sharing rental fees is the main advantage of having roommates. It’s easier on the pocket, and you can also discuss pooling some of your expenses for utility and rental insurance fees. Protecting your personal property against possible theft is vital when you’re studying abroad.

Cost shouldn’t derail your plans to pursue studies abroad. Proper research and planning are needed before studying overseas. This guide should help you find the best accommodation and enjoy your student life at the university of your choice.

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