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Accommodation for international students

Advice centre  >  Tenant Type  >  International  >  Accommodation for international students
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International students already have much to consider when moving to another country to study for three years or more. There are visa considerations, potential language barriers and financial challenges to overcome. Finding safe and secure student accommodation is an important component to nail down before travelling overseas. Thankfully, there is an abundance of accommodation options for international students, but the choice can be overwhelming.

This article will cover the types of international student accommodation options that are available and also, which university accommodation options tend to be better suited to students, depending on their level of undergraduate study. You might find that Mansion Student’s safe and supportive, community living is the right fit for you when finding somewhere to live in the United Kingdom.

First years

Without a doubt, first year is the most exciting yet frightening year for undergraduate students and this is especially true for international students. You will have the opportunity to meet many new people, however, cultural differences can make things harder.

Before you travel, you will need to make sure you have a student visa and other documents arranged. You will also want to conduct virtual viewings of properties and secure a tenancy before you arrive. Virtual viewings are commonplace, and if you are an international student, Mansion Student can offer these kinds of viewings.

International first year students can choose to live in university campus halls of residence, which is shared accommodation with private and sometimes en-suite rooms. This option is popular for socialising in your first year of study. Many universities now offer certain halls to international students, based on preference; this is also offered as postgraduate student accommodation.

Alternatively, you may wish to live in independent accommodation which often comes with more flexibility over who to live with, where to live and what kind of property you want. You might want to live alone or with friends, in an apartment or a shared flat, the options are open.

Read about all your international student accommodation options as a first-year here

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Second years

Your options are still relatively open as a second-year student. By this point in your studies, you have likely made some friends from your first-year student housing, your course, or any societies you have joined. As a result, you may want to choose who you live with this time around.

You may be able to write an accommodation application for halls of residence but again, you may not have the flexibility on choosing your flatmates. You will probably want to look into renting private student accommodation.

By sharing accommodation with other tenants, you can reduce rent and bills which might be preferable for you. However, if the shared living in your first year didn’t suit you, you may want to opt for private living in a studio or one-bed apartment.

After leaving campus accommodation or halls of residence, you may struggle to find a location that works for you; you will want easy access to campus buildings, be living near other students and also near amenities such as shops and restaurants. Mansion Student offers a range of modern flats in the heart of major UK university cities, including Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds.

Third years

By the time you reach third year, your workload will have steadily increased, and your priorities may have changed compared to when you were in your earlier levels of study. You will hopefully be more familiar with your city so you may want to choose alternative accommodation to halls of residence.

Another thing to note is that halls of residence are distributed preferentially to first-year students so moving out into private accommodation might be the best option at this stage of study. You can choose to live alone in a studio flat or in an apartment or you can live with friends in shared accommodation.

Read more about all of your accommodation options as a third-year student

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Exchange students

Your accommodation options may look a little different if you are visiting on a student exchange. Since this kind of international study is temporary, the options available for full-term students may not be available for exchange students.

University halls of residence are a good accommodation option for exchange students as tenancy agreements are designed for temporary accommodation. They are also a good opportunity for exchange students to meet friends while they study abroad.

Another option is homestay accommodation. By staying with a host family, you can control the length of your stay since you tend to pay by the day or week. These are ideal for exchange students wanting accommodation for a shorter stay.

The final option is to rent private accommodation. Privately rented accommodation can be an easy option for exchange students because you do not need to find a host family and you can live on your own or with others depending on preference. You will need to check with your accommodation service whether they have shorter tenancy agreements available. Often tenancy agreements for students are 45-51 weeks and align with the academic year.

Read more about your accommodation options for exchange students.

Accommodation considerations

Tuition fees

Before you start studying abroad you will need to secure your finances to ensure you can pay for your studies and living costs. As an international student you will not be eligible for student finance loans with tuition fees higher for international students – they sit between £10,000 and £35,000 per year. If you are worried about how you are going to manage your finances, you might want to get a part-time job while you study.

Visa

You will also need to apply for a visa if you intend to visit the UK for an extended period. A short-term visa (for less than 11 months) will be adequate for exchange students, however for most international students you will need a student visa. For a student visa you will need proof of finances to pay for tuition fees and additional living costs. You will also need to take an English Language test.

Social considerations

After moving abroad, you may find it difficult to find a community when you first arrive. Use social media to find groups and events and try to join university societies to meet like-minded people. Use wellbeing services at your university for support and guidance on all aspects of student life.

Read more about accommodation considerations for international students here.