Tips for International Students to Find Suitable Accommodation

G’d day folks! One of the early challenges international students face upon their arrival to Australia is finding suitable and of course affordable accommodation, and while it is fairly easy to find affordable accommodation by sharing a room with 1 or more people, finding suitable accommodation can be a bit more complicated. So, in this video, I want to give you some tips to help you find suitable accommodation, share with you some vocabulary which you may not be familiar with, and finally, list 10 questions that you could ask yourself in your search for accommodation. First things first, the question you should ask yourself when looking for accommodation is ‘Will this place help me achieve my English learning goals quicker’? Improving your English quickly will need making friends that do not speak your language and do not share with you much in common, in other words, it needs you to step out of your comfort zone. You might have heard that birds of a feather flock together – meaning you, and other international students that come from the same country, speak the same language, share the same traditions, customs and beliefs will likely want to stay together, live together and hang out together. But this, in Australia, could sometimes impede progress because Australia is a multicultural country and if you do not speak English well, you will be limited especially in terms of work – speaking good English means more opportunities. So, sharing a room or an apartment with people who can’t speak your first language is a good idea and will help you integrate quicker into the wider Australian community. Second, ask yourself “Will I get along with my new roommates?”, not that you have to be close friends with them, but it’s obviously important to get on with each other and have mutual respect. Sharing a room or any space with another person can get rather annoying and frustrating; you could easily start getting on someone’s nerves without even knowing you are, so everyone should be as thoughtful and considerate as possible. Being thoughtful and considerate means not do things that could be annoying to others like for example, listen to loud music while your roommate is studying or leave your dirty plate in the sink knowing your roommate might want to use the kitchen, etc. So, how do you know your roommates are thoughtful or considerate? Well, while it may be impossible to know for certain, it could be a good idea to meet your roommates and have a nice chat and ask many questions before you decide to move in:What do they do?How long have they been in the country?What do they do in their free time?What are their schedules look like?Do they study, work? or both?What are their expectations of you? You can learn a great deak about who they are just by listening to their expectations. You may find out you are not the right person for them. Third, “How convenient is the location?” Is it close to school? Is it close to work? Is there public transport in the area? Can you walk to the train station or bus stop? Are there shopping centers or grocery stores nearby? All these are basic questions that need to be investigated and answered. Okay great, now we can look at some of the vocabularies that you may hear and not be familiar with.

  • A unit

A unit is just another word for apartment, there are 1-bedroom units, 2-bedroom units, or larger units. Typically, a unit consists of a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms, and sometimes a laundry room and a balcony. You might also hear the word ‘flat’ but ‘unit’ is more common.

  • A bond

A bond is the amount of money that some apartment owners may ask you to pay as a deposit when you move into the place. The owners should and will pay you back your bond if you do not cause damage to the apartment. If you are asked to pay a bond, make sure you get a receipt and clear written statement that you will be getting your bond back if you leave the place in a good shape.

  • 2-week-in-advance

Some owners may ask you to pay rent for 2 weeks in advance, in addition to the normal weekly rent, so once again, make sure you record those payments and the dates you make them to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

  • Bills included

Bills included is a term that means that you do not have to pay for electricity and gas bills or internet bills on top of your rent. Your rent covers bills too. It may be a good idea to bring that up with the owner before moving in.

  • Furnished/unfurnished

If the room or apartment is furnished, it already has some furniture, which is useful to know, if it’s unfurnished, it’s empty, it has no furniture, which means you’ll need to buy your own bed, mattress, closet etc.

  • Ensuite

Ensuite is a room that has its own bathroom, which makes them more expensive to rent than other rooms in the apartment.

  • Internal/external laundry

Some apartments have a laundry room while others don’t. Internal laundry is when the apartment has a laundry room inside, and external laundry is obviously outside, which is why we sometimes refer to it as shared laundry

  • Amenities

If your place is close to amenities or local amenities, it is close to shops, schools, transport and anything else we basically need. Other useful vocabulary is spacious room, small room, sunny room, dark room etc. Now, how about we look at some basic questions you can ask when you call someone about a room?

Q1 – Is the room still available or has it been taken?Q2 – How much is the rent per week?Q3 – Are bills included?Q4 – Do I have to pay 2 weeks in advance?Q5 – Do I need to pay a bond?Q6 – Could you please tell me when the unit’s available for inspection?Q7 – Is the unit close to shops and transport?Q8 – Is there a supermarket/a train station/a bus stop within walking distance?Q9 – May I ask how many people in the apartment?Q10 – Is the room furnished?

I hope you find this helpful, and if you do, like it, share it and please subscribe and hit the notification bell to watch future videos. Hope to see you in down under soon. Have a wonderful day.


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