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The different types of student accommodation in Australia

Are you a student looking for accommodation in Australia?

A young woman unpacks a stack of books from a cardboard box
A young woman unpacks a stack of books from a cardboard box

Finding a place to live once you’ve confirmed what school you’ll be attending can be an exciting and confusing time.

When choosing student accommodation in Australia, it pays to keep the following things in mind:

  • Total cost – including expenses such as a bond and utility fees.

  • Commute – is it close enough to campus and easily accessible by public transport, such as the bus or train?

  • Amenities – will you have easy access to shopping centres, hospitals, emergency service facilities and parks?

From residential colleges to apartments and private rentals, there is no shortage of accommodation options available to international university students in Australia. Here are a few of the most common options.

Top 3 student accommodation options in Australia:

1. Homestay Accommodation

Homestay accommodation involves staying with a local family in their own home. Homestay services (for example, Australian Homestay Network, Study Vision and Student Accommodation Services Australia), match you with a host family close to your school, who can provide a private bedroom, an agreed upon meal plan and assistance with navigating public transport and other amenities in your area. They will also provide you with information about local customs and the Australian way of life.

A quality homestay company will carefully check their host families and look for people that provide a safe, welcoming and comfortable living situation, as well those with a genuine interest in other cultures. They also conduct national criminal background checks, in-home interviews, home inspections and will keep in touch with you throughout your placement.

Pricing varies depending on age, location, preferred level of service and additional requirements. For minors (under 18 years of age) there may be different prices as hosts for minors are specifically trained and certified to support younger guests.

As a guide, current Sydney prices through the Australian Homestay Network are listed as:

  • Placement fee: $280

  • Airport pickup: $160

  • Private room, three meals a day per week (over 18): $320

For more specific costings and information, or to apply online, visit the websites linked above.

A group of young people laugh as they share study notes at a table

2. On-campus housing

Available through most major TAFES and universities in Australia and organised directly through your educational institution, the key benefits of living on campus are convenience and community. When you live on campus, you’ll be studying, living and socialising in the same place, meeting other international students.

Depending on the institution you study with, on-campus housing can be one of the more expensive options, and there is often not as much housing as there are applicants, so you’ll need to get your application in early. Most options will be fully-furnished apartment-style rooms with shared communal and cooking areas. There will typically be recreation facilities and support services nearby, and your housing will commonly be close to your classes, library, local shopping centres, gyms and public transport.

To get an idea of cost and availability, or to lodge an application, head to your school’s website or ask your coordinator for housing information.

3. Private rental properties

You can rent a property on your own, with friends or through ‘shared housing’, where you rent a room and shared communal living spaces. If you choose this housing option, you will need to pay a security deposit or 'bond' (which is usually four weeks’ rent), as well as rent in advance (also usually four weeks).

The bond is held to cover any damages and is returned after any necessary repairs are paid for when you finish your lease. If you plan to rent, go through a licensed real estate agent, as this offers protection against scams.

If you are unfamiliar with your local area and don’t plan to stay on campus, another option is to stay in short-term accommodation, for example, hostels or temporary housing through your institution when you first arrive. This gives you time to get to know your new city, your routine and any requirements you have before making a longer commitment.

Thinking about making the move to Australia? Get health cover that meets your visa requirements in less than five minutes. Learn more about our international student cover at OSHC.

For more information about all things Australia, visit the Life in Australia section of The Check Up.