Finding accommodation as an international student in the UK

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The university you are enrolled to, almost certainly impacts where you stay.  Finding a suitable accommodation can often be stressful. The search for suitable place to stay begins early in the process of moving to a new country for study.  An accommodation at the right price, location, proximity to the institute, and good roommates is a combination that demands time, research, and resilience.

Accommodation in a foreign land can be one of the bigger challenges one could face as an international student.

Stay options commonly available to international students are listed-

  1. University Dorms
    • University dormitories or commonly called halls of residence, are owned, operated, maintained and managed by universities.
    • Halls of residences are large buildings which are sometime divided into flats
    • As a student one may either be designated a single room or may have to share the space with a roommate.
    • The room will have basic amenities – desk, bed, and a chair. Add-ons in terms of furniture and other provisions are made by students
    • The rent includes all utility bills- including internet
    • Food for students is served at their dorm cafeteria
    • It is common for dorms to have common recreational rooms, and common areas, TV rooms, etc.
    • Staying in close quarters with people from different ethnicities expose students to different culture, makes them socially outgoing, and help students become more independent.
  2. Private Dorms
    • Private dorms or private halls of residence are similar to university dorms except they slightly cost more.
    • Additional, facilities like gyms, bike parking, game rooms, etc. justify the sightly higher rent prices
    • Around the UK there are plenty of purpose-built student accommodation(PBSA) available for access to international student
    • A variety of rooms are available for every budget.

 

  1. Private Accommodation
    • Private accommodation is the most expensive option available to students.
    • Renting an apartment or a house would need the student to enter into a signed tenancy agreement with the landlord
    • Students may also opt for furnished apartments. Opting for furnished apartments may cost slightly more than unfurnished apartments.
    • If opted for, furnished apartments can prove to be more cost effective options – students do not have to source additional furniture.
    • Landlords of furnished apartments maintain their apartments and ensure everything is in order before the arrival of their international guest
    • A student can find both furnished and unfurnished apartments on Gumtree.

Costs and Location

  • Accommodation amounts to the highest expense a student has to incur as a part of their international study.
  • The cost of accommodation is not the same throughout the UK.
  • Cost varies greatly even in the same city. Finding an accommodation that meets the budget should be a student’s priority.
  • London is the most expensive city in the UK.
  • Cost of living in the suburbs is comparatively cheaper than living in the heart of the city
  • The average rent of an apartment in London is £1,646. The same 1 BHK apartment in the suburbs will average around £1,185. Larger apartments will cost more.
  • Urban areas have higher rent rates than the more rural areas.

Tips to find accommodation in the UK

  1. Research  
    • Knowing and having an idea of where they want to reside, a student can funnel out and arrive at the options at their disposal.
    • The internet is a useful tool. As a part of their research a student should visit websites that showcase the type of accommodation available, and rent trends for a particular area.
    • Another way would be to join social media groups and student forums. Students can interact with other students or alumni that have previously resided there.
    • A student may also check for private dormitories in the area. These are more economical options that may ease the financial burden on a student.
    • Furthermore, private dorms have their own libraries, sport areas, cafeteria, etc. these amenities comes as added bonus
  2. Make arrangements before you arrive
    • It may be difficult to arrange for accommodation form the native country; however, time is a crucial asset.
    • The research done should help keep ready a list of sources, agencies, and contacts to reach and help with accommodation for when you arrive in the UK
  3. Roommates
    • Renting can be expensive, especially if renting an apartment is the only option after exhausting all others.
    • Finding someone to share the apartment with will help dilute the cost to an extent
  4. Self-sufficient accommodation
    • The last thing a student would want would be to spend additionally on furniture and other amenities
    • Before deciding on an accommodation ensure that it contains everything needed
  5. Know the location
    • Check for – proximity to the university, accessibility to downtown areas, availability of stores – groceries, supermarkets, chemists etc.

An international student must ensure to pack necessities that are needed to make them feel comfortable in a foreign land. It will take some time to settle in; get to know the people, socialize and that way staying in a foreign land will seem to not be as daunting.

For further assistance, reach our expert international education counselors.

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