How do I choose appropriate student accommodation?

It is very important to know where you are going to live while studying abroad, because that can affect your quality of life and how much you will actually enjoy the experience itself in the foreign country. If you pick accommodation in an environment you are not completely satisfied with or you do not feel completely safe in, this will certain be reflected in your mood. However, if you are surrounded by people you have a good understanding with and who you feel natural and comfortable to be around, you can concentrate on your studies and, in the process of doing this, make friends for life.


How important is accommodation?

Accommodation is important, but it is certainly not the most important thing you should be thinking about when coming to study in a foreign country. All universities will have a broad range of options to offer you, depending on your preferences and budget. The conditions on campus and off campus, residential accommodation capacities near other private accommodation and the centre of town and urban life are things that you will consider when choosing the university. However, that should not be your top priority. Your family will be primarily occupied with your accommodation because of their excessive concern for your safety and the comfort of the study itself.

What are the possible options?

Simply stated, you can live on campus or off campus. Accommodation on campus consists of various buildings with single or shared rooms similar to in a block of flats. Shared rooms or dormitories are most common in America. These rooms usually contain a bed and a desk. The floor usually has a kitchen, bathroom and a common room similar to a living room, although that all depends on the layout of the space in the residential building itself. Generally speaking, the common areas on each floor are divided between the, at most, 12 students on that floor. The optimum number is 6-8. Sometimes accommodation of this type is made up of multiple floors with a similar structure.


There are different forms of accommodation on the university campus. This can be a university-run student hall of residence with similar residential buildings and common facilities and buildings. It can also be a residential complex within the university which is run by a third party or company responsible for accommodation for international students and which offer, as part of those services, everything needed to support students from other countries. Foreign students can rent a house or flat from an estate agent or third parties, private landlords, and the number of people depends on their internal policy. The international student office can recommend reputable estate agents or landlords who have been offering their accommodation to students so far and who have had positive feedback. Before the beginning of every academic year the university organises an accommodation fair where all estate agents and landlords in the area closest to the campus come. If foreign students want something different then they can choose an accommodation option with a host family. This is the option that students finishing secondary school or in the first year of university most often choose. Accommodation in a household is certainly useful for those who want to become familiar with the language and to get to know a family and the customs of the country in which they are studying. The only obligation they have is to tidy up some of the rooms in the household immediately after using them and to pay for the accommodation they use on an annual or monthly basis.


Will I get accommodation on campus?

In most cases, the universities reserve free capacities in residential accommodation on campus for first-year students. This is in order to make the process of accommodation and adaptation to the new circumstances easier. Thus students are spared the bother of accommodation units outside the campus and this reduces the risk of them hurriedly choosing something they will end up not liking because of a lack of information and because they don’t know who they will end up living with. Sometimes international students cannot enter the host country before the start of the study programme, which significant limits their search for accommodation.


Can I find accommodation from home?

Of course you can. Do not worry too much about beginning to search for accommodation from home. Maybe it sounds a delicate matter, but almost every international student has gone through this same process. Thanks to the internet and social networks you can review all the possible options, which include photographs and virtual tours. If you have any questions about a particular accommodation you can ask via social network groups managed by either the university or the international students’ union, which the owners of the accommodation themselves join and create their own groups. SAT Agency can help you to get into contact with university staff and to find good sources of information.

What are the factors that should be considered?

Some of the basic questions that get raised are:


  • Will you be staying at the university until late? You proximity to the university campus determines the type of transport that you use. Public transport is best, but the timetable depends on the day of the week and the time of day.
  • Are you planning to go out, go to parties in town and socialise, or will you be focused exclusive on studying?
  • Which types of people would you most like to live with?
  • Will you be cooking your own food at home or will you eat in the university canteen?
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