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International Student UK Accommodation
Whilst you are staying in the UK, you will have a variety of accommodation options available to you.
Your choices will depend largely on:
- whether your college or university has halls of residence
- what city you are located in
- the amount of your monthly budget.
When you have applied to and accepted a course at a particular college or university, you will need to indicate that you will require accommodation (unless you already have something arranged). The university or college you will be attending should send you an accommodation application form by post, and/or direct you to their online application form.
Do not assume that you will automatically be given accommodation, but as a general rule, international students will be given priority over other students.
Every university and college has an accommodation office that deals with all applications and enquiries for accommodation, so if you have any questions or problems, you should contact one of their staff.
It’s important to remember that once you have been accepted onto a degree course, you should start looking at and arranging accommodation straight away! Accommodation spaces fill up very quickly and demand usually exceeds supply.
What types of student accommodation are available?
There are several different types of accommodation you might consider when applying to study for a university course in the UK:
1. Halls of residence
Owned, managed and maintained by universities, accommodation for international students in halls of residence is usually guaranteed for first year applicants.
A private room will generally be allotted, while spaces such as kitchen and lounge area will be shared in an apartment of anything between 4-8 fellow students.
All bills, including wi-fi, are included in your rent.
2. Private halls of residence
Private halls share many of the same characteristics as university owned halls of residence, such as inclusive bills and shared spaces, but they are generally slightly more expensive.
However, due to the higher price, you can expect to find more modern facilities in private halls.
3. Private renting
Renting privately is a popular choice for students once their first year of study is complete.
Renting privately is a completely independent form of accommodation, and it is important to be aware that you are responsible for all bills and cleanliness of the property.
If you are considering renting privately, some things you need to think about before signing a contract include:
- Does the housing have all the furnishings that you need? Are they of an acceptable standard? Or do you need to bring/buy your own?
- Is there a desk you to work at and enough space for your computer?
- Is the kitchen equipped with cooking utensils?
- Are bed sheets and linen provided? Are there laundry facilities?
- Are there additional costs for certain services?
- Are you given phone and internet access? Do you have to sort this out yourself? How much is the monthly rent?
Cost of accommodation in UK varies to a large degree. Even in the same city, the range of accommodating costs can be very large. Naturally, as an international student saving as much money as possible is a priority for you. And knowing that rent is the highest expenditure you’ll have when studying abroad, finding an affordable accommodation will alleviate a great financial burden to you.
But, to get the best deal of accommodation in UK you need to make some compromises in the first place. Said otherwise you have to adjust your preferences to your financial capabilities if you don’t want the cost of rent amounting to a huge amount of money.
London is the biggest and by far the most expensive city to live in UK. The cost of accommodation at the city center is higher than in suburban neighbourhoods which is a common trait for big cities. If the campus of your university is located near downtown areas, then you should not attempt to find an apartment in the area around.
For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of London will cost you £1,646 on average. With a bit of luck, you can find something around £1,200. The same apartment in the periphery has a monthly rent of £1,185 on average. Bigger apartments cost way higher than this, so in those cases, you should find roommates with whom you’ll share the apartment and the renting cost.
As you can expect urban areas have higher rent prices than rural parts of UK. But even within urban areas, there are still affordable options for foreign students, which can easily be found by carrying a little research ahead.
In downtown areas, you can hardly find a cheap accommodation place to rent. In contrast, apartments and private houses in the periphery have lower rent prices. Aside from minor disadvantages like the distance from the city center, they are quieter, safer, less overloaded with traffic and many students reside there so it’s a great opportunity to socialize.
Well, you may have to commute daily to attend classes, but the total cost of your bus ticket won’t equal the rent you would be paying if you live in the city center. Moreover, there are different convenient types of transportation like the bicycle.
Furnished flats and apartments
Naturally, you have to minimize the cost of renting as much as you can. But, to the limit you won’t have to sacrifice your needs for a comfortable place to live in, just to save some money.
Furnished apartments are a perfect option for people who are studying abroad because they don’t need to buy items of furniture on their own, which they will be selling when returning back home.
The good news is that the cost gap between furnished and unfurnished apartments is fairly insignificant.
Also, landlords of furnished apartments take care that their apartments have everything in place in order to be the first choice of incoming foreign students. So it is highly preferable you always seek furnished apartments. Usually, you can ask a landlord or an agent to do it for you.
Will my university help me find accommodation?
Recently, the number of students who come to the UK to study for a university degree is on the rise.
To accommodate as many international students as possible, UK universities have started to increase the number of residence halls.
However, there are no places for everyone, unfortunately, which means some students have problems finding a place to live in.
To tackle this issue universities are trying hard to establish certain bodies incorporated into their campus to help their incoming foreign students find a convenient place to accommodate.
The majority of universities in UK already offer these services. After getting an offer from a university you can contact them directly and ask if they offer you such help.
They can arrange everything before you even arrive in UK.
Tips for securing accommodation in the UK
1. Research, research, research
Having a general idea at which part of the city you would like to live and what are the available options to you, it helps you solving this issue in no time.
Nowadays, making a research is an easy task. You can just sit in your living room and start browsing the internet. There are many useful resources, including many websites for housing in UK.
You can investigate the trend of rent prices and get a feeling of where it can be cheaper and convenient for you. Also, you can join online students’ forums where you can freely ask students who have already gone through this before you.
2. Check out private dormitories
At university dormitories, there are not enough places for every incoming foreign student and therefore many private dormitories get built to accommodate the rest.
In cities where the flux of international students is large, there are probably many of them around. You must really give priority to them because they are cheaper accommodation facilities than private apartments and offer similar conditions as university dorms.
These facilities also have their own libraries, cafeteria, residence halls and additional facilities for practicing other activities like sports. Besides this, it is a great opportunity to socialize with students. In other words, it will be a typical warmth students’ environment.
3. Arrange everything before you arrive
As a student, timing is everything to you. If you achieve to arrange everything in time you can fully concentrate on your studies, which really should be your only concern.
Though it may be hard to arrange your accommodation from your home, it is much better if you at least make a checklist of sources and bodies you will contact to address your accommodation request when arriving in UK.
Your first port of call should be your university. Their international student office will certainly help you with your research or will carry it on its own.
Hint: If you’re doing online research, always make sure you’re getting information from reliable resources. Unfortunately, there may be scam websites which are trying to benefit from you while causing harm in the process.
4. Find some roommates
If you have no other option rather than occupying a private flat or apartment we suggest you share it with someone else.
Whether it is London or a much cheaper place to accommodate in the UK, renting price are too high to handle alone for a student.
5. Ensure the accommodation has everything you need
Before deciding to choose a place over any other options, always make sure it contains everything you need.
Price is most important, but if it doesn't have all the facilities for you to live comfortably, then it's not worth renting.
6. Explore the location
Location of your accommodation is very important. Besides, it can determine the rent price to a certain degree it will also have other advantages along the way.
First, it can be the distance from your campus. Naturally, you should try to find one apartment as much near as possible.
Also, you can see if there is enough accessibility to the downtown areas. If you commute daily to your university you want to find a neighbourhood where there are bicycle tracks so you can drive safely.
Later on, you can see if there are stores where you can shop for groceries, etc. and what other amenities are available in the local area.
For more tips and advice on coming to the UK to study, please see: