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Study abroad : Student Accommodation

A guide to off-campus accommodation

Selecting the right accommodation when you study abroad is important. We’re here to help you understand the options available from private accommodation providers.

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One aspect of studying abroad that should never be underestimated is accommodation. You want somewhere comfortable, safe and secure to live while you begin this next phase of your life. It’s easy to feel confused or unsure about the number of student accommodation choices available. That’s where we come in. We explain the different kinds of off-campus accommodation options offered by student housing providers. You’ll learn about room types, facilities, what to expect and some important questions to ask.


What are accommodation providers? 

You may think you can only apply for accommodation at your prospective university. However, often a university will partner with professional companies and organisations that provide quality accommodation off campus. These providers are generally endorsed by universities and the residences they provide will be quality assured. 


One of the main reasons for private accommodation providers is the significant demand for on-campus accommodation, which often cannot cater for all students. Usually, the location of these residences will not be too far from campuses, and your university may even provide transport to and from campus. Some of the general characteristics of private accommodation providers are:


  • Residence-style building with different room types and shared facilities. 
  • Apartment-style buildings with more expensive options. 
  • A contract between you and the provider. 
  • Rules, regulations and requirements are set in collaboration with your university but unique to the provider. 
  • Shared amenities and facilities.


Always check that your accommodation provider is registered, accredited and recommended by your university. 


Read more about how to choose student accommodation


What types of options are there?

Your accommodation options with a private provider will vary depending on your preferences, budget and availability. If you want to secure your preferred option, it’s best to apply as early as possible once you know you're accepted at your university. Let’s look at the sort of rooms you can select from. 


Discover the questions you should ask about student accommodation



Private room 

A private room is allocated solely to you. It’s your space within a shared property, such as a residence building or apartment block. These rooms come fully furnished with a bed, desk, storage space and sometimes a wash basin. 


You will share a bathroom and recreational and cooking facilities with other students. A plus point for a private room is that it is fully lockable, and you can personalise the space a little. With some private rooms, you can opt for an en-suite option. This means you get a bathroom attached to the room. This does mean an additional cost.


Read our top tips for getting the best accommodation.


Shared room 

This is likely the option you are most familiar with. In a shared room, often called a twin room, you are usually paired with another student to live in the same space. It usually comes with two beds, shared storage space and study space. In a shared room, it’s important to set some ground rules and understanding to avoid potential conflicts or disagreements


Studio apartment

If you have some room in your budget, a studio apartment could be a viable choice. A studio is a small self-contained, private apartment space that comes with cooking facilities, storage and a bathroom. It is ideal for one person and for those who enjoy privacy. Many providers may recommend this option to postgraduate students.  


Have you considered a homestay?



If you have more money, some accommodation providers have fully furnished apartments. With this option, you will get multiple rooms, including a living area, a kitchen and a bedroom. Sometimes, the apartment has two bedrooms, so you can share with a fellow student or family member, splitting the costs. 


Discover how much it costs to study abroad



What do these options usually cost?

The first point affecting cost is the location and city. The cost will vary considerably depending on where you choose to study. Secondly, the cost will also differ depending on the length of your stay. Longer contracts usually mean the price is lower. For this article, we’ll focus on the number one student city in the world, London (QS Best Student Cities 2023).


  • Private room with an en-suite range between GBP 270 and GBP 350 per week. 
  • Apartment or studio apartment ranges between GBP 350 and GBP 450 per week.
  • A shared room costs approximately GBP 250 to GBP 300 per week.


Prices will vary depending on the provider and the quality of the accommodation. Always verify the distances involved from your accommodation to your university. This should be both walking distance and the time it takes on public transport. Check the address to see what amenities and services are nearby. 


Hopefully, you now understand what private accommodation providers can provide. If you want to continue your research, you may find our guides to the extra costs of studying abroad, the ultimate study abroad checklist, and homestay vs. on-campus accommodation helpful.