University Accommodation For International Students: An Essential Guide

University Accommodation For International Students: An Essential Guide

Getting into a university abroad is a dream for many students worldwide. It allows them to leave their bubble and explore a place they’ve never been. At the same time, they’re receiving quality education and making new friends from other countries.
But before any international student gets their flight ticket, they should have a home waiting for them at their destination. Accommodation is essential for all non-local students. It’s where they’ll go after a whole day of classes or a night of partying with friends and classmates.
If you’re an international student searching for a place to stay, you’ve found the right post. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the ideal university accommodation.

Search Early And Widen Your Options

When you receive your acceptance letter, search for student dorms near the campus. Avoid looking for apartments at the last minute since reserving a room may take days, and other students may take the slots if you start late.

The best way to find student accommodation while still living in your home country is by browsing online. It’s the fastest and easiest method for international students, and you can receive answers to your queries quickly via email or live chat. Only look for reputable websites that offer student housing, such as one from this link:

Even if you’ve decided on a particular university accommodation, it won’t hurt to have backup choices. Having at least one or two options will ensure you have somewhere safe to stay while studying in another country. If you need other recommendations, you can always ask friends living near the university or in the same city as the school.

Student Accommodation Types

Since university campus size varies from place to place, there are many options you can pick for nearby student housing. Some of the most popular choices include the following:

On-Campus Accommodation

Most private and state universities offer on-campus housing for local and international students. This type of accommodation is ideal if you’re new to the location and need a safe place to stay near the school. An advantage to on-campus dorms is that you can befriend fellow schoolmates faster than living off-campus.

However, slots are often limited, but there may be a waitlist to get a room. Being on the waitlist doesn’t always guarantee you a place. So, it’s best to have a second and third option ready. Meanwhile, some universities and colleges provide on-campus accommodation exclusively for their international students. Check your school to see if this option is available.

Private, Off-Campus Accommodation

You can stay in off-campus housing if all on-campus dorm rooms are unavailable. Off-campus accommodations are usually privately owned, so schools don’t oversee their operations. 

Off-campus accommodations range from apartments and shared housing to private homes and rooms for rent. International students who opt for this type usually have more freedom and flexibility since campus rules don’t apply here. Living in off-campus housing may also teach you to be more independent as you explore a city in another country.


International students may also choose to homestay by living with a host family. Some countries and universities coordinate with nearby local families and match them with the students.

This accommodation is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture while living in a safe, familial environment. Host families may help you do your laundry, get around town, and provide home-cooked meals daily. 

The disadvantage to homestays is the need for students to adapt to another household and family dynamic. But it’s a great stepping stone to adjust to another country until you can find another place to stay.


Student hostels often look like on-campus accommodations since their rooms usually resemble dormitories with several bunk beds. A shared space may house four to five people at a time. They’re also more affordable than other student housing options. 

However, the downside to them is the lack of privacy. You might have more than three roommates and share a communal bathroom with them or other residents on the same floor. Noise and distraction are also common issues for students living in hostels.

Despite the many options, international students should prioritize getting a room in on-campus university accommodations. Not only are they safer in general, but they’re more accessible for students who are new to the country and city.

Factors To Consider

The appearance of the university accommodation shouldn’t be the only reason for your choice. Your dorm or apartment is where you might stay for the duration of your college life. So, you must keep the following factors in mind when looking for student housing:


First and foremost, the accommodation should be near the university. You should be able to walk to and from your school campus in a short amount of time. If not, there should be nearby public transport systems like trains and buses that stop close to the school.


University fees and study materials are already pricey. So, if you’d like to save money, consider accommodation with student-friendly rent rates. But watch out for additional expenses like internet connection, water, and electricity.


Student accommodation, whether on- or off-campus, should always be secure. In some countries, all establishments, including student dorms and apartments, might have guards by the entrances. If there aren’t any, a CCTV system should be in place. Rooms must have locks, and only tenants should have door keys.

Available amenities

Your rented room should have at least the basic amenities such as a bed, study desk, clothes cabinet, and chairs. A shared laundry area and dining room for all residents are also viable. Note that not all student accommodations allow kitchen appliances in rooms. So, you can only cook meals in the building’s shared kitchen.


The number of students sharing a room will depend on its size. Some university accommodations also accept male and female students and allow co-ed roommates. If you prefer to live with a few or same-sex roommates, you may need to look for another place to stay.

Lease terms

The accommodation’s lease length should be a period acceptable to you. There are some situations where you might have to move to another apartment. So, research if there are any penalties if you decide to break the lease early.

Property managers/landlords

University accommodations must also have active managers. Many students are new to the place and are still learning how living alone works. They should be available to assist residents and respond to concerns.

Aside from checking these factors, it also helps to read reviews from past tenants and students who’ve lived there. Their honest opinions could let you form better decisions.

Living Costs

Many international students face high accommodation fees on top of school matriculation fees. Prices are determined by a particular area’s cost of living (COL). For example, the U.S. has some states that are cheaper to live in than others. So, if your school is in a state with a high COL, expect nearby student housing options to reflect that.

Costs of university accommodation may also vary depending on the school. Public four-year colleges could have a lower room and board cost per academic year than private four-year colleges.

Thankfully, many universities offer local and international students financial aid based on academic merit. If you had excellent grades in high school, you could qualify for scholarships or financial assistance to reduce accommodation fees on campus.

Essential Documents

Other than a passport and an English language proficiency certificate like IELTS or TOEFL, international students must bring several essential documents to their destination. The administration of a university accommodation may ask to see these files to confirm if you’re a bona fide student at the school. 

Some of the vital documents every international student should have on hand include the following:

  • Student visa
  • University offer and acceptance letter
  • Copies of airline ticket
  • Proof of enrolment
  • Official transcript from your high school or previous college
  • Proof of address in your home country and your destination
  • Receipts of fees paid

Put these documents in an envelope in your handheld bag, not your luggage, where they could wrinkle. It’s also wise to prepare soft copies of all these files in a PDF format for your reference.

Other Items To Bring

Flying to another country to study is a big ordeal. You can quickly get homesick for the first few days or weeks of school. But that doesn’t mean you should take everything from home to your dorm room. In fact, some university accommodations may limit students from bringing many large electrical items into their rooms. So, if you plan to have a television screen, you might have to leave it behind.

Here are the most vital things you need to pack for the dorm:

  • Personal medication and translated prescriptions (if any)
  • Charging devices
  • Clothing appropriate for school and the country’s climate
  • Bedding, towels, and toiletries
  • Small trinkets to remind you of home

Once you’ve arrived at your on- or off-campus accommodation and settled, make a checklist of furniture and appliances you need to buy in local stores. Here, you can stock up on kitchen supplies, groceries, hangers, extra toiletries, bedding, and towels. Tag your roommate along with you. Shopping for accommodation necessities could also be a fun activity to turn them into your new friend.

Final Thoughts

Having a safe and quiet place to stay while studying in another country is non-negotiable. University accommodation is your ideal choice since it’s within the school campus. But off-campus housing isn’t terrible, either. 

What matters is that your living space is secure, and you’re comfortable with the place and the people living with you. You must also prepare your documents and search for accommodation early. 

College life is a time full of adjustments, especially in another country. You need a cozy room to unwind after studying and getting used to your new surroundings.