In North America, when we go off to school, it’s pretty much the status quo that we spend our freshmen, or first year, cuddled up close in a tiny dorm room with a stranger. In Australia, the residence halls, for better or for worse, aren’t as abundant.
There are several answers to why this is so different. Many students live at home and go to a nearby university while they pursue their course. Housing is just not as abundant on many university campuses, and many times, although reserved for international students and rural Aussies, its first come first serve and many students do not find on-campus housing. In general, Australia is experiencing a housing shortage, and the limited student housing fills up quickly–as does the off-campus housing.
So, what can you do to ensure you have housing? Moving overseas is difficult, especially if you want to view a residence or meet a roommate prior. However, many universities offer accommodation services that will place you or direct you in the correct way.
Here are some options, though, to consider if you don’t have everything in place before your arrival.
- Consider temporary housing. This can be a hostel, lodge or hotel, even the couch of a long-distant relative. Some universities offer short stays at “colleges” which are equivalent to student housing. This offers an alternative, and maybe affordable option, till you find a proper home.
- If housing is full on-campus, many universities have waiting-lists. Get your name on one, and see if something opens up.
- Universities have boards full of posts for apartments, shared accommodation, etc. Check them frequently to see if something fits the bill.
- If you’re lucky enough, and find some on-campus housing, note differences between catered and self-catered options. Catered offers meals and cleaning services, and self-catered means you take care of all of that on your own.
Familiarize yourself with your area, your university and your needs and finding a home for your semester abroad or degree abroad won’t be such a challenge. Be proactive and prepared, and you will find your perfect place in the wonderful land of Oz.