There are so many questions to ask when choosing student accommodation. Whether arriving in a new country and starting the search, or organising this from where you live, picking the right place can be essential in shaping your study abroad experience. Not everyone will want to have a social gathering occurring outside their room every night, and not everyone will be able to afford the most expensive form of accommodation – everyone is different!
That’s why we asked three different universities, from three very different areas of the world, a few popular questions which students have when choosing student accommodation.
We spoke to:
It’s interesting to see what each university decided to prioritise or emphasise, as well as the differences between the institutions. Have a look for yourself:
How much is a room?
The University of Technology, Sydney: On campus, it will depend on the type of accommodation. It ranges from $164/week for a twin share in Bulga Ngurra up to $355/week for a large studio in Yura.
Off campus, it depends where you live. The city centre of Sydney (Sydney CBD) can be very expensive for a single room with ensuite ($450/week and more). If sharing an apartment or house, this will usually start from $200/week plus potential bills.
University of Hawai'i at Hilo: The rates vary by residence hall. Some of the residence halls have shared rooms and are cheaper. Other residence halls have single rooms with shared baths and are more expensive. To view the rates for 2013-2014, please go to: http://hilo.hawaii.edu/housing/documents/roomrates.pdf
Bournemouth University: BU’s accommodation is priced as follows:
- Standard room – from £95pw
- Large/premium room - from £111pw
- Studio flats – from £125.85pw
- Unilet room - from £80.47pw
How do you allocate accommodation requests? Can I choose who to live with?
The University of Technology, Sydney: Accommodation requests are allocated based on availability. We try to mix residents from different cultural background for them to have an enriched living experience, and also try to place residents per age group and have a gender balance.
University of Hawai'i at Hilo: Requests for specific roommates or rooms are given consideration but are not guaranteed. Roommate requests must be mutual and must have matching hall preferences.
University of Bournemouth: Accommodation is all allocated with a few parameters. We look at where the student is studying, their ages, sex and whether they want a ‘quiet’ or ‘lively’ environment. We don’t usually allocate friends together as this can upset other residents in the same flat as they can feel excluded.
What is it generally provided with? What other expenses are included (bills, internet)?
The University of Technology, Sydney: On-Campus accommodation:
A bed frame, mattress, mattress protector, desk, chair, lamp, and wardrobe will be in your room. In your common kitchen and lounge area, you will find: table, chairs, sofa, fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster, cook top, sink. As far as bills, those for electricity, gas, water, internet (limited WiFi connection) are included in the rent. Many residential and community activities are free for residents
As far as what you’ll find in your room, you will have to check the listing of the accommodation, or discuss with the person advertising the room to find that out. Usually, it’s a bed, mattress and wardrobe (sometimes also a desk and chair).
As far as bills are concerned, you will have to check your contract where this will be mentioned. Usually when sharing accommodation with another person, electricity and water are included. Internet is sometimes also included or the bill is split at the end of the month depending on usage (in some other cases you will have to get your own internet).
University of Bournemouth: On-campus residence halls are equipped with Wi-Fi as well as Ethernet hook ups for internet. There is no additional cost. All expenses associated with the room are included in the residence hall cost. Meals are purchased separately through a meal plan. Off-campus accommodations vary widely with services and additional costs although many off-campus accommodations include internet access.
Is it possible to change accommodation if I am not satisfied with it after moving in?
University of Bournemouth: Students can petition the housing office for a change in room. These requests are considered based on the reason for the request and the available accommodation. Students are not guaranteed the right to move to a different room or residence hall, but they may be allowed to depending on the situation.
University of Hawai'i at Hilo: There are policies in place to allow students to change, but not if there is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Our experience is that most students are happy and don’t want to change.
Do I need to acquire possessions insurance?
The University of Technology, Sydney: While the UTS Housing Service takes every precaution to provide a safe and secure environment, we do not take financial responsibility for any loss, damage or theft of personal items. As such it is recommended that you obtain personal insurance for valuable items and always ensure that your bedroom and apartment doors are closed and locked.
University of Bournemouth: This is not required.
University of Hawai'i at Hilo: No, there is an element of the deposit/ booking fee which incorporates an insurance premium. This means that the student’s property is insured while it is in their residence. This can be topped up if necessary.
Can I have guests staying? What is your policy on parties at university accommodation?
The University of Technology, Sydney: Common spaces at the Student Residences are meant primarily for Occupiers’ enjoyment and therefore no gatherings would be allowed unless a minimum of 80% of the guests are from the UTS Student Residences.
University of Hawai'i at Hilo: Students can have guests but there are some rules – a guest can only stay for 3 consecutive nights and no more than 5 nights in any month. We ask that students advise Residential Services on their intention of holding a party.
If you're interested in finding out more about these universities, read their individual pages, from which you can download their prospectus, or enquire about more information.
Read our accommodation section of articles and guides.