Choosing the right accommodation for you is tricky and sometimes you just need the types of living to made easier to understand. To help students who are thinking of moving to a different type of accommodation or for new and prospective students deciding what’s best for them, we list the most common ones that students go with here in Australia and explain to you the pros and cons of each.
What is it?
Want to really get a first-hand experience of Australia? This option lets you study here whilst staying with an Australian family. Although this option is usually mandatory for international students under the age of 18, it is also open to adult international students as well.
Meals may be provided for you by the host family, students can practice their English by communicating daily with the family and can become quickly acclimated to the Australian way of life. Weekly fees that students pay are also not too bad when you consider how much it would cost to live on campus or rent on your own (more on that later).
Students never know what the family or host will really be like until they live with them. For all you know, they could be a nightmare to live with.
What is it?
Accommodation owned by the university. Essentially living in the dorms on campus (or just near it). Think of pretty much every American film you’ve seen set at a universtity or college – that’s what this is.
Living with other young people can be fun and you’ll sooner make friends on or near campus! The added benefit of being on campus also means you’re able to sleep in a bit more before getting to class and can participate in more residential college-based activities.
It also offers you the opportunity to finally be free of adult supervision. So long mum and dad!
Your fee to live in a residential college may include meals, access to the colleges utilities and programs, internet and even cleaning services.
Again, think of every American film you’ve ever seen set at a university or college. Some people are going to annoy you and others will probably be partying a lot and keeping you up. Partying culture on campus isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
What is it?
Similar to residential colleges, student apartments are units built particularly for students. They’re often near campus or conveniently located for students. This option’s one of the most common for international students so don’t be surprised if everyone you see on your floor is from another country.
Normally, student apartments are fully furnished. Depending on your provider, household necessities such as washing machines, a fridge, and a stove may be included in your home.
Although most apartments are built for single occupants, there are also options to live in an apartment with another student or friend if you’re both happy to split the rent.
Living independently is also a major benefit for those who just don’t want to be supervised.
You are going to need to learn how to cook and fend for yourself. Some might see this as a pro if they really do want to get into cooking or already enjoy it but just remember that you’ll also be spending time buying groceries and preparing your food. There’s a reason why so many students, local or international, live on a diet of cup noodles!
Other disadvantages can include paying extra for internet access and maintenance should your apartment need to be serviced.
What is it?
Rent too high for you to pay on your own? Share your home with others! If you have a group of friends in a similar situation, you can all live together or you can find other students looking to move in.
Having affordable rent means being able to spend your time and resources on other things. Living with people can also be fun too – house parties are great (the cleaning up after? not so much).
If you’ve got too many people renting from your home and don’t tell your landlord, you’re probably going to get in trouble with the landlord or worse, the housing authorities.
Equally problematic are crazy roommates. Your best friend might seem like a great person to hang out with but living with them is completely different. Setting house rules (for example, usage of water to keep the bills down, who owns what and determining a schedule for cleaning) isn’t always fun and can sometimes lead to conflict between you and your housemates. And that’s not something a lot of us want to have in our homes.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.