How to find a place of stay while studying abroad is a big question for a majority of students wanting to study in Australia. Overseas students are often apprehensive, confused, and in need of sound advice. Under these circumstances, sound advice from a student housing expert will be beneficial in helping them make the right decision.
One of the key concerns about living in Australia, and elsewhere, is the expense that student is likely to incur. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) uses its inflation chart with selective living cost indexes (SLCIs) to ascertain the cost of living under various categories. As per estimates by trading economics, “The consumer price index in Australia shows a rising trend with the most important being the estimate made on housing expenses. With 22.3 percent that goes on it, the others in line like food and non–alcoholic beverages show an average rise in cost by 16.8 percent. The transport cost is estimated to be around 11.6 percent whereas furnishings, household equipment and expenses on other services show a roundabout of 9.1 percent of the total cost of living in Australia.”
With these estimates in mind, students must set a realistic budget to manage their expenses while living in Australia. Given that rental accommodation forms a significant portion of one’s monthly budget, there are a few considerations to be made. Finding the best student accommodation Australia therefore depends on many factors, the most important of which are mentioned below.
Where to Live
International students should ideally have decided on a place to stay before arriving in Australia. There are three main options to choose from – campus halls, purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs) and private student accommodations.
Once a student receives admission at any Australian university, they can apply for campus halls. However, this type of accommodation is allotted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Most of the student accommodations located on the university campus itself, but the availability is quite scarce, as these rooms tend to get booked at the earliest.
The Clayton Residential Village of Monash University, Australia, houses students in an altogether supportive social environment with loads of fun events that encourage cultural exchange. Their halls of residence offer a ‘collegiate’ experience with more socializing opportunities, learning assistance, and residential support. Such halls are also backed by 24/7 security services to ensure 100% safety of residents and help maintain discipline.
Given that this type of accommodation is relatively scarce, students therefore do not get the luxury of choice. If students are late in applying for such accommodation, then they may have to settle for a room that does not meet all their requirements.
Purpose-Built Student Accommodations (PBSAs)
When campus halls are no longer available, students can opt for purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs), a newly introduced independent living option offered by property providers (real estate companies). Such accommodations are designed for student living and are specific to their needs in all aspects. The advantage of staying in PBSAs is the opportunity to live close to the universities, easy access to viable modes of public transport, important places of interest such as hospitals, banks, supermarkets, ATMs, and more. Another benefit of staying in a PBSA is availing the multitude of onsite amenities available, like card-operated laundry systems, secure parking spaces, onsite gym or fitness centers, a games room, swimming pool, barbecue, and more. Most student accommodations Australia provide separate study and common areas as well. If we take into account a specific PBSA in Sydney, Urbanest Cleveland Street on the Abercrombie Street offers 441 well-structured rooms in the form of studios and ensuite rooms.
PBSAs also have their respective onsite maintenance staff to look after the cleanliness of the communal areas, parcel collection at reception, host exciting social events, and more.
Private Student Accommodations
If both campus halls and PBSAs fail to satisfy needs, students can alternatively go for independent living quarters that they can rent for themselves. They will be entirely on their own to manage things and settle down in a planned manner. Such properties are scarcely furnished so students may have to rent furniture additionally and purchase other utility items as well. This type of accommodation is suitable for students who want to move in with their family or friends who are not students themselves. The availability of onsite amenities may or may not be provided and totally depends on the landlord. Private rental apartments offer both studio rooms and shared apartments as well.
The best method in deciding on a place to stay is to weigh the pros and cons of living in shortlisted properties. Students may prepare a comparison chart beforehand to avoid any last minute confusion. The following parameters will help students identify the best place to stay and make an informed decision.
- Rental Charges: The cost of living in campus halls may end up being higher than opting for a PBSA in Australia. In contrast, the rent for private accommodation can vary depending on the amenities offered onsite, among other things.The average rent of campus hall accommodations vary between A$400 to A$500. The rent of PBSAs may be relatively lower depending upon the type of accommodation a student opts for and also the location of the property. On an average, the rent of private accommodations is around A$165 to A$440 per week and shared rental accommodation costs around A$85 to A$215 on a weekly basis.
- Means of Transport: For students staying in campus halls, commuting to daily lectures becomes totally expense-free as they are residing on campus itself. On the other hand, the transport cost for students in PBSAs and private living spaces depends on the location of the property. The average monthly transportation costs in Australia ranges from A$25-30 a week. That being said, many PBSAs are located within walking distance of university campuses, thereby helping residents save both time and money on their daily commute.
- Food: The cost incurred on food depends on the spending capacity of the student and also individual preferences. Most halls of residence provide 3 meals a day, 7 days of the week, the cost of which is included in rent as a whole or is charged on a monthly basis. PBSAs usually offer the option of cooking meals in private or shared kitchens and this helps save on the cost to a certain extent. In fact, many PBSAs have also started offering catered rooms, wherein students can avail nutritious meals onsite at a nominal additional charge.
Similarly, when living in private accommodations, students can cook on their own or eat out. Most students prefer to cook their own meals to save on their monthly budget. Fresh groceries including vegetables and fruits can be purchased at very low rates from farmers’ markets and local supermarkets. Students in private rentals spend between $50 and $100 a week on groceries.
The aforementioned points will guide students to take the best approach when searching for student accommodation. Only they can decide the best for themselves and their decision should be based on the cost of living in Australia. This will help in deciding on a budget. Students should then ascertain the type of accommodation that goes in compliance with the set budget to further help them reach out to a conclusive decision.