Language and Culture Lifestyle Uni Life

The ultimate guide to student accommodation

Hi there! Moving to a new country for university is an exciting and life-changing experience. As you prepare for your journey to Australia, there’s a lot to consider – but one of the most important tasks to add to your to-do list is finding suitable accommodation. 

 The process of organising housing before you arrive can seem daunting, but some well-timed planning can make it much easier to navigate. To support you with the process, we’ve put together some practical tips and expert advice for securing accommodation as an international student in Australia. When it comes to the essential steps and considerations that will make your accommodation search a breeze, we’ve got you! 

We can’t stress this enough – please book accommodation before arriving in Australia, even if it’s a short-term solution while you look for a more permanent place to call home. In saying that, it always helps to know what your options are before you get started.  

“No matter what trimester you’re coming to study in, the rental market is reflective of trends, especially since the lifting of Australia’s COVID border restrictions. I arrived a little over one month before my orientation start date, and it took some time to find a rental property.” – Sarah

Our top pick: Homestay

If you’re looking for a welcoming and enriching experience, homestay accommodation is the way to go. A homestay provides a unique opportunity for you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture, build meaningful connections with a host-family and fellow homestay students, and navigate the challenges of adjusting to a new country with the support of a caring family.  

Homestay accommodation should be at the top of your list when considering your housing options, especially if you’re keen to enhance your language skills, find a safe and supportive environment, and learn all about the Australian way of life. A no-brainer, really! Some of the main reasons our students choose a homestay include:  

  1. Cultural Immersion: Homestay allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, customs, and daily life of the host country. Living with a host family provides a unique opportunity to experience firsthand the traditions, language, and cuisine, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local culture. 
  2. Language Development: Interacting with native speakers on a daily basis provides constant exposure to the local language, enabling students to enhance their language skills quickly and naturally. Conversations with the host family can also help improve comprehension, pronunciation, and overall language fluency. And for those of you who already speak fluent English? We do some weird (and wonderful) things with language that we’re sure you’ll pick up in no time.  
  3. Supportive Environment: Homestay provides a supportive and nurturing environment, particularly for students who are new to the country. Host families offer guidance, assistance, and a sense of belonging, helping you feel more comfortable and secure as you navigate your new surroundings. They can often provide valuable insights, practical advice, and emotional support, while you ease into life in Australia.  
  4. Safe and Structured Environment: Homestay accommodation offers a safe and structured living arrangement for international students. Host families are carefully selected and vetted, ensuring a secure and comfortable living environment.  

Organisation is key here: if you’re looking for a Homestay it will take up to three weeks in busy periods for your application to be reviewed and a placement made. 

“Homestay accommodation is an excellent option for those who want to experience the Gold Coast lifestyle firsthand and have a personalised and safe experience. By staying with a local host, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, receive personalised attention, and exchange cultures and ideas,” – Victoria


Living on campus

If you’re seeking a vibrant and inclusive community that provides convenience, support, and an immersive university experience, on-campus accommodation may be the perfect choice for you. By opting to live on campus, you’ll be at the heart of campus life, and surrounded by fellow students from diverse backgrounds who are eager to connect and engage with each other.  

Living on campus offers a seamless integration into the university environment, with academic resources, extracurricular activities, and campus facilities just steps away from your doorstep. You’ll have the opportunity to form lasting friendships, participate in exciting events, and fully immerse yourself in the university experience. The sense of belonging and the convenience of being close to classes, libraries, and student services are invaluable aspects of living on campus.  

Living on-campus accommodation at Griffith offers 

  • A location conveniently close to your lectures and uni services 
  • Hundreds of planned social activities, study support and 24/7 pastoral support and care 
  • Easy access to public transport, close to major shopping centres and Brisbane CBD 
  • The opportunity to meet new people from a range of cultures and backgrounds 
  • A safe and secure environment with security on campus, 24 hours a day 

Sergio and flatmates in Nathan accommodation.

“Living on campus was a fantastic experience because you get to know many people, not only Aussies but many other international people who live on campus too. If you are looking for a social life and at the same time being able to have a space to focus and study then on campus accommodation is the place to be. Pros: making friends is so easy, great times with your flat mates, great events, going to class or studying at the library becomes really convenient because you only have to cross the road.” – Sergio

Off-campus accommodation

Griffith University has partnerships with a selection of off-campus accommodation providers across its five campuses. By choosing to stay at a preferred partner you can be close to your chosen campus and have easy access to public transport. You might not know, but if you are studying at Nathan or Mt Gravatt you can live in the inner city or South Bank and be close to your campus by public transport. 

Some of our partners have offered our students discounted rates on selected room types that can be accessed only by applying though the Griffith University accommodation website. Contact your chosen preferred partner directly from the list of preferred providers available on our website. Some sites will require you to enter a promotion code to access the discounts. If you apply directly with the accommodation provider, you will not receive the discounted rates. 

“I suggest that you book accommodation from your home country so that you have a place to go to from the airport. A hotel would totally do, as it did for me. Then I went onto finalising my long term accommodation. I kept in mind factors like connectivity, distance from my campus, grocery shops etc while looking for accommodation. There are several student accommodations available in South Bank. Some of these even provide discounts to students from specific universities. I settled with Urbanest and decided to move in the next day!” – Kanishka

Private rentals and shared houses

All accommodation agreements entered into are between the resident/student and the accommodation partner. International students are particularly vulnerable when booking private rentals, so please take the following steps to ensure a safe, secure environment.  

  • To protect yourself when finding long-term accommodation in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, you should thoroughly research and verify potential landlords or rental agencies, checking their reputation and legitimacy through online reviews and official channels. 
  • Always visit potential accommodation in person, and ask lots of questions while you’re there. If you’re considering a private rental, it helps to have booked some temporary accommodation while you look around for the most suitable home.
  • It is crucial that you review and understand the terms of the lease agreement before signing anything, paying attention to important details such as rent payment schedules, maintenance responsibilities, and notice periods for termination. International students in Australia have the same legal rights as everyone else, so keep that in mind when you’re entering any kind of rental agreement.  
  • Seek advice from accommodation staff at Griffith or the RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority), who can provide valuable guidance and support, and ensure you are aware of your rights, local tenancy laws, and resources available to address any issues that may arise during a tenancy. 

“Make sure you have some accommodation sorted before you arrive in Australia, whether it’s on-campus or off-campus. However, do not sign a long lease before you arrive. Once you have experienced living in the area for some time, you may choose to extend the lease or transfer to another place. This way you won’t have to go through the trouble of terminating a rental contract if you plan to move.” – Numan

Happy house-hunting everyone – we can’t wait to see you on campus soon!

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