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Student Accommodation: 4 Key Questions

By Zain Nabi

Updated January 5, 2015 Updated January 5, 2015

When it comes to studying abroad the best option for student accommodation is to initially arrange a place on a temporary basis. But when you have spent a few weeks – the phase that helps you settle down as an international student – you must immediately try to look for arranging a more permanent home.

As soon as I arrived in Melbourne I reached the place I had already booked. It was a quiet neighborhood decorated by a lot of green trees, a refreshing place for nature lovers. I could sit in my balcony for hours or take a stroll enjoying the cool breeze without getting bored. Sounds great? No! It is an exceptional place… if I am looking for somewhere to live after retirement!

As an international student, I think it’s essential to stay in or near busy neighborhoods, as it helps you gain an understanding of the new culture. Along with getting acquainted with your new environment, you must also look into some very crucial factors when finalizing long-term student accommodation.

Here are four questions to ask: 

1. What’s your student budget?

This is the one of the most important elements. You have a lot of options when it comes to finalizing your accommodation. You could opt for on-campus student accommodation, take a place in an independent student hostel, find a homestay (living in someone’s home as a paying guest), share a rented house or room, or take an entire apartment yourself on lease.

The choice is all yours and depends largely on your student budget. If you are short on cash or just need to save some money (maybe you’d rather splash out on a new laptop or a car) you might want to think of sharing a room with another like-minded student. If you’d really rather have some personal privacy, you’ll at least want to get a separate room, either in student halls or a privately leased house.

2. What facilities do you want to be close to?

Make sure to carry out some research to know about the local vicinity. If you are a gym enthusiast you might want to have access to a fitness center or any sports club nearby. Similarly, if you have any particular food preferences try to make sure that the eateries you require are easily available in the market.

3. How are you going to travel?

If you do not have your own vehicle and need to use public transport to get around, you must also consider the distance between your student accommodation and the bus or railway station. If it takes 20-30 minutes to reach the train station, and another 30 or so minutes to reach your destination, you may want to think of some other options.

Again, this depends on your priorities and what works well for you. Some students like to be able to get from bed to lecture in 20 minutes flat, others may find a daily journey is useful thinking and reading time.

4. Does it fit in with your student life?

Finally, make sure you get a good balance between the different parts of your student life – study, work, socializing. As a student, you’ll probably find you’re often pushed for time, especially if you have a student job on top of your course work. So try to find a place which is close to either your university or job (or if possible, both). This will save a lot of time and energy that you’ll find much better uses for!

This article was originally published in July 2013 . It was last updated in January 2015

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Hailing from Pakistan, Zain finished a Masters of Journalism and International Relations at Monash University in Australia. He is working as a journalist and media trainer in Melbourne along with secretly harboring an ambition to become a filmmaker.