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Choosing the Ideal Accommodation for Yourself – Your Home away from Home

Written by: Esther, Sept 2017

 “The benefits of studying abroad are endless” – Michelle Obama

 

Studying aboard can be an amazing an eye-opening experience. With the endless number of opportunities to grasp, new cultures and languages to learn, and terrains to explore, the benefits of pursuing an education abroad is plenty. While the few years of staying away from home may be exciting, it will never be able to compete with the comforts of home. Therefore, choosing your ideal accommodation is essential, as it will make your time studying abroad more of a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Settling down in a foreign place is always daunting, and finding the best and most ideal accommodation to stay in will greatly impact your study abroad experience. It is important to choose the type of accommodation that best caters to your needs and preferences, so as to maximise your overseas study experience.Here are some student accommodation options you can consider, the facilities and amenities they offer, and the kind of culture and student experience you will get in each of the different accommodation types. 

Homestay

Students who are looking to experience the true local lifestyle, then choosing a homestay is ideal for you. This is place where you can fully take the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Staying with a host family will allow you to attain a better understanding on the traditions and cultural practices, as it’s like having a foster family.  Thus, take into consideration the neighbourhood and the personalities and characteristics of the family members themselves, as it is important that you will be able to mix well and connect with them. Unlike other accommodations, your meals will be provided by the host family. The initial stages after moving in will definitely have its awkward moments, but over time as you break the ice and familiarise yourself with the host family, it start to feel like home. At the end of the day, you will feel like you have gained an additional family, but abroad.

A homestay experience will also provide you with the environment to learn a foreign language. Staying with a host family can greatly improve your language abilities as you are not only thrown into an environment where you are required to learn their language in order to communicate, but have also gained practice partners. While most homestay options in Australia and New Zealand are only open to those under 18 and require a guardian, those who are above 18 and seek to experience the full local experience can also try to find a homestay host. The safety and interest of these students are of top priority to the universities, so rest assured that these hosts have been thoroughly sourced, filtered, and checked by the various universities beforehand. These homestay providers also often working alongside the universities to provide the local experience to the international students, thus, you can rest easy knowing that the university you choose to commence at will try to find you your ideal homestay host that best caters to your needs and preferences.

Student Flats

If you prefer a communal environment and possess an outgoing personality, then perhaps this is the accommodation for you. Student flats are accommodations that are usually off-campus, but catered for students who still want to have that college experience. With many events organised to allow for residents to mingle, socialise and integrate, your off-campus living experience will not be just all work and no play. This is best for students who enjoy meeting new people and making new friends, and who wish to meet fellow international students and exchange knowledge about their country. 

If you prefer a communal environment and possess an outgoing personality, then perhaps this is the accommodation for you. Student flats are accommodations that are usually off-campus, but catered for students who still want to have that college experience. With many events organised to allow for residents to mingle, socialise and integrate, your off-campus living experience will not be just all work and no play. This is best for students who enjoy meeting new people and making new friends, and who wish to meet fellow international students and exchange knowledge about their country. While this type of accommodation brings with it so many perks and benefits, it is not for students who wish to have food catered as these student accommodation providers often do not provide food services, thus students will need to source for food for themselves. Although, this small set back is usually ignored as a enriching international student communal living environment is priority.

Shared housing

This accommodation type is for students who have friends who wish to share or rent an apartment and stay together. While this is more a more popular option amongst university students who have already commenced their studies and already have their own group of friends, first year international students may also choose to stay in this kinds of accommodation if they have friends who wish to live together. It is definitely a lot cheaper sharing as bills such as utility or electricity bills, and household chores would usually be divided as well. Again, as with student flats, shared housing does not cater food and these students would need to either source for their own food. 

While it might seem like a fun, enjoyable experience staying with friends abroad, it is definitely not the same as going on road trips or a short holiday with friends as their stay would be of a longer term, so choose your flatmates wisely. Since after all, some friends are better off as just friends.

Student Hostel

If you would like an environment where you get to enjoy both the international and local experience, and not fret over food, then this is the accommodation for you. On-campus accommodation provides all the comforts and amenities of home. From catering services to en-suite bathrooms, students will get to study in a conducive and comfortable environment. For those who love meeting new people from all walks of life and enjoy mingling whenever possible, they can participate with various events activities that the college will organise. From inter-college friendly matches to barbeques and brunch sessions, the opportunities to forge new friendships are abundant. Without a doubt, these benefits come at a price. With so much to offer right at your doorstep, be prepared to pay a larger sum in comparison with an off-campus accommodation or a shared housing.

Be sure to have a relatively clear understanding of what you are looking for during your stay. Consider the kind of experience, environment and surroundings you are seeking for before making the confirmation of staying at a particular location, as what works for others may not work for you. 

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