As an international student, starting the second year of your undergraduate degree it’s a very exciting time. You’ve successfully completed your first year at university, moved to a new country, made new friends and integrated into university life. Your second year is likely to come with a few changes, as study demands increase and your free time for leisure and socialising decreases.
In order to enjoy your second year as a university student, you need to think carefully about your accommodation. This will be where you’ll eat, sleep, study and socialise, so it’s important that you are as comfortable as possible with your ‘home away from home’.
This guide discusses the accommodation options available for second-year international students and highlights some of the things to consider when deciding where to live.
Accommodation options for second-year international students
Reapplying for university halls of residence as a returning student
Some international students returning for their second year feel that the best choice for them is to reapply to live in university halls of residence. The proximity to other university buildings like lecture halls can be very appealing for some, and security is taken care of by the university.
Another benefit of halls is that some residences are offered on a catered basis, meaning the provision of meals will be included in your rent. There are also social benefits to living in halls, as you’ll be living with lots of other students, both domestic and international.
There can also be disadvantages. Some student halls are not actually located close to other university buildings, and this can be quite inconvenient. The quality of facilities is also likely to differ between halls, so it’s key that you check the size of the rooms and how many other people you will be sharing with, to ensure you are fully comfortable with this accommodation option.
Privately-rented houses, studios and flats
A popular choice for second-year international students is to rent a private house or flat, often sharing with friends. These properties will frequently be found in student-dominated areas and can have anything from one to 10 bedrooms. Because of this, the atmosphere is not quite the same as living in halls, but you can still get the feel of a student community with this choice.
Renting with others can be a cost-effective option as rent and bills are split between housemates. However, this can sometimes lead to disputes, if clear agreements are not made in advance. Also, some student houses have low-quality facilities and dealing with private landlords can be challenging.
Purpose-built student accommodation
One option for second-year international students looking for somewhere to live is purpose-built accommodation from specialist providers like Mansion Student. These are a great option for international students as they can help fill the gap between halls and the private rental sector.
You can enjoy the sense of community and security that comes with student accommodation, whilst also enjoying high-quality facilities in luxury apartments or self-contained studios. Typically, this option comes with great access to university campuses and city attractions like shops, bars and restaurants. With all bills included in purpose built accommodation this is a most cost effective option allowing you to budget throughout the year.
Choosing who to live with during your second year
It’s important that you think about who you would like to live with when you return for your second year of university studies.
Perhaps you really enjoyed the experience of living in student halls in your first academic year. This community feeling and the ability to meet as many new people as possible might be something you crave as an international student, as you are away from your home country. In this case, you may decide to continue living in halls of residence, with a new batch of students who you can get to know and form new bonds with.
You might have made great friendships with other students from your course, halls or university society during your first year. A popular choice for second-year international students is to live with friends in private housing. Perhaps you are more comfortable with choosing who you live with and where, as opposed to being assigned a room and flatmates by your university’s accommodation service.
On the other hand, you might prefer to live alone in a studio or one-bedroom flat, especially if you value privacy and a quieter environment. This is also an ideal solution if you are a mature student, and/or didn’t enjoy living in halls during your first year.
Whichever option you feel is right for you, purpose-built student accommodation offers a variety of property sizes to cater to communal or independent living. For example, in Sheffield, our Redvers Tower development offers a variety of south facing studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, all with stylish rooms and amazing amenities.
Choosing where to live during your second year
Many international students prefer living in central locations compared to the more remote neighbourhoods where a lot of student housing can be found. Having easy access to restaurants, bars, pubs and other attractions is very desirable for a lot of international students as they are keen to make the most of living in a new country and explore all that their chosen town or city has to offer. It is also convenient to live close to lecture halls, the library and other university buildings, as you will be spending a lot of your time here.
Student houses tend to be more tucked away, and this can be isolating for international students in their second year. Purpose-built student accommodation, however, tends to be in more central locations whilst also accounting for different student budgets. Our Centre Gate property in Bristol, for example, is situated right in the heart of the city centre and our all-inclusive rents start from £189 per week.
Most international students book their accommodation before coming to the UK. As a returning student, you may prefer to start looking for your second-year accommodation towards the end of your first academic year, to get a feel for the kind of place that is available to you in person. You can speak to the property’s team, landlord, or estate agent before booking a viewing appointment. They can provide a videos and 360 tours giving some insight into whether the option is right for your budget and needs, or recommend a more suitable alternative.
Renting privately with Mansion Student
Mansion Student is a leading provider of purpose-built student accommodation in the UK. We provide high-quality, luxury living spaces in great locations to contribute to a truly memorable student experience. Student welfare is at the heart of everything we do, and all of our properties conform with the ANUK National Code of Standards for Student Accommodation. The prices of our student apartments are inclusive of all utilities and contents insurance.
If you’re an international student going into your second year and you’re looking for secure and high-quality accommodation in the location of your choice, don’t hesitate to contact Mansion Student to find out more.