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Student Accommodation in New Zealand

Our guide to student accommodation for international students studying in New Zealand

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Despite the nation’s famous outdoor culture, when studying abroad in New Zealand you’ll need to find a place indoors to call your own. Navigating foreign university prospectuses and immigration laws can seem stressful enough without the additional sense of urgency in finding suitable student accommodation. Don’t worry: our comprehensive overview of student accommodations options for international students in New Zealand will help take the hassle out of your study abroad planning process.

Tip: Accommodation queries might be something you want to ask a university about through our site, using the ‘Ask a question’ button.

Note: NZD1 = £0.51 = €0.61

On-Campus

Most universities provide on-campus housing in the way of residence halls and shared flats to international students.

Halls have a range of student services such as pastoral care and support, with staff members usually onsite to help with any problems you might have. It might seem crowded, but living on a residence hall is a great way to make friends and engage with campus life head-on. You’re all thrown into the experience together, so will all be looking to meet new people.

For example, residence halls at the University of Auckland offer students single or shared rooms with communal dining halls, living areas, bathroom and laundry facilities. Each hall functions as a separate community that operates within the larger student community at UA, with events such as inter-hall sports and ice-cream eating contests to help kick-start your social life. Fees are calculated based on the length of the residential agreement: for example, a single bedroom in Grafton Hall for a 38 week residential agreement costs a total of NZD13,462 (US$11,451).

Some universities, such as Massey University also offer students the chance to live in on-campus shared apartments (‘flatting’) or studio flats. Each of these apartments is shared between three-five people, and includes a fully equipped kitchen and some bedroom furnishings. Utilities are usually organised and paid for by students themselves. For a studio flat at Lucas Creek Village, Albany Campus, students will pay NZD320 (US$273) per week in rent, including facilities and excluding a NZD1082 (US$922) bond.

Off-Campus

Whilst living on-campus is a highly sought-after accommodation option, living in university-managed off-campus housing is also incredibly popular. For example, over 90% of students at the University of Waikato live off-campus. Living in a shared house or flat is known in New Zealand as ‘flatting,’ and is the most common off-campus housing option. Accommodation is typically located within walking distance of a university’s main campus.

Almost all New Zealand universities have services that will help you secure off-campus housing, either by managing your residency arrangement directly or helping you connect with external agencies. Students flatting at the University of Waikato will pay between NZD90- NZD120 (US$77-US$102) per week, plus around NZD15-NZD20 (US$13-US$17) in weekly electrical costs. The University of Waikato Accommodation and Conference Services Office (ACSO) also offers accommodation advice as well as helping students find and secure private, off-campus housing.

Off-campus housing offers a more independent study abroad experience, but often lacks the keen sense of community fostered by residence halls. Students should think carefully about the type of study experience they’re looking to have, and how the type of accommodation they choose will impact this.

Student Agencies and Renting Privately

If you’d rather find accommodation on your own, there are also a number of housing agencies that specialise in student accommodation, and often have ties with New Zealand universities. For example, Campus Living Villages New Zealand works in direct partnership with six New Zealand universities, including the University of Canterbury, University of Auckland and the Victoria University of Wellington, offering students fully and self-catered, single and shared accommodation options across the entire nation.

Your property options are virtually endless if you choose to rent privately, depending on your location, how close to the city you are, your budget and what kind of place you’re after. On average, rental costs for a room in a shared property between three-five people are likely to be around NZD70-NZD150 (US$60-US$128) per week, including bills. Average monthly rental costs for a small, single bedroom apartment in Auckland, amenities included, will be around NZD212 (US$181), whilst the same kind of apartment Christchurch would be likely to cost around NZD140 (US$119). Students renting privately must conform to local rental requirements as set out by New Zealand law.

Extra Tips

Some New Zealand institutions are more rurally located than others, and thus may have limited property options available for students wanting to live off-campus or rent externally. For example, campuses located further away from main cities are less likely to offer students living off-campus as vibrant a student scene. Always try to get a visual where you can: if a campus’ website doesn’t offer you the option to complete a virtual tour, why not consult Google streetview or YouTube?

Students are advised to research not only the location and the institution’s local property market, but also the university’s sense of campus spirit. Before you apply for housing, ask yourself: do most students live on campus? Are there many activities organised on campus? Social media profiles, student forums and blogs are the best place to source this kind of ‘ground-level’ commentary from past and current students.

Many universities also accept housing applications even before a student has received their official offer. Some university-managed housing, particularly on-campus options are in high demand, and you can always turn down the place if your university application is unsuccessful. Students seeking on-campus accommodation are advised to apply as early as possible, even if their university offer is yet to be finalised.

We spoke to Shannon from the University of Waikato, New Zealand about how international students can find accommodation in New Zealand.

 

Now that you know all about your accommodation options when studying in New Zealand, start browsing courses now and start planning your study abroad adventure!

 

Useful Links

Applying to study in New Zealand

The New Zealand Higher Education System... Simplified

‘What accommodation options are there for students in New Zealand?’[VIDEO]

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About Author

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Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.