How to Find Housing as an International Student

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Bryan Smith - August, 03 2022

5 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

As you begin your study abroad journey, one of the key things you’ll need to establish is a place to call home.

Seeking international student housing to study abroad is often a key requirement for most overseas study visas. In some cases, your school of choice might enable you to take up residence on campus. However, you may need to find accommodation close to your campus and sign a private lease if that isn’t the case.

International student housing

Fortunately, many major universities and schools often cater for international students with many forms of accommodation nearby. This could range from university-subsidized housing or residences or might also take the form of flats or houses nearby which are available for private lease.

Available housing for international students

Residences

A university residence is a place of stay on campus that enables students to lodge while they complete their degrees. While this is typically geared for undergraduate students, many universities provide international student housing for postgraduate students, particularly those from foreign countries that might not be able to secure housing as easily.

Check with your university’s international student office to confirm whether you might be eligible to stay in an official university residence.

Apartments

Your best alternative to seek out private accommodation during your stay as an international student will likely come in the form of an apartment - many of which are developed near university campuses for shorter-term leases as nearby students conclude their study period. Fortunately, many landlords are open to renting their apartments to international students - particularly if your desired accommodation is close to campus.

Can I sublet my apartment?

You may be able to sublet your apartment to decrease your rental costs - and have additional company - during your study period. However, this will largely depend on your private lease agreement or private negotiation with your landlord.

Houses

While more expensive than an apartment, pursuing private accommodation at a house may be another means for you to secure a place to stay, especially if you plan on bringing your spouse or children with you while you study.

Houses, naturally, can involve significant costs over and above what you might need to lease for an apartment and might be further removed from a university campus.

Can international students live off-campus?

Whether international students are eligible to live off-campus may depend on your university or school of choice. However, in most instances, universities allow students to pursue living on or off campus as they prefer.

While your preference might be to integrate into campus life by living on your school’s premises, it may be more practical to find private accommodation nearby, especially if you plan (or are able) to travel with your partner and/or children.

If you choose to live off campus and require a visa to begin your studies, you may need to provide proof of accommodation before or after your arrival in your country of study. This can usually be done by supplying a signed lease agreement.

The best place to find housing

While some countries provide a temporary stay visa (which can allow you to visit your university of choice and physically search for student accommodation even before you officially begin your studies), you might instead need to find and secure student accommodation online if this isn’t possible.

To do so, there are many great websites with hundreds of available listings that enable landlords to rent rooms to international students. We’ve spotlighted three websites that work as an international apartment finder that will help you get started:

International apartment rental websites

Nestpick

Nestpick is an international aggregator which lists hundreds of thousands of international student rentals, which includes many popular international destinations and cities.

Nestpick enables you to quickly search and find available accommodation - however, you will be required to book your stay directly with the website the listing is originally available from.

DigsConnect

DigsConnect is a newer online platform which enables landlords to list their properties for rental to students, expats, and young professionals in a similar manner to Airbnb.

DigsConnect allows tenants to search for properties to rent, discuss their needs with a potential landlord, and then sign all in one place - making it a great way to find apartments for international students.

AmberStudent

AmberStudent empowers tenants to seek out and rent accommodation close to universities worldwide.

With support from some of the largest cities in the world, AmberStudent enables tenants to secure accommodation by completing their lease agreement online and managing their stay through the platform.

Disclosure: Prodigy Finance is in no way affiliated with Nestpick, Digsconnect, or AmberStudent and cannot assume any responsibility for leasing disputes.

International roommate finder

If you’d like to find a roommate for the duration of your study period and don’t know anyone at hand who might be able to stay with you, you could instead seek out a potential roommate online.

If you’d like to find another student looking for a room to rent with the view of cohabiting, you’re in luck - there are several websites that help connect students in need of accommodation:

Erasmusu

Erasmusu is an online platform where students worldwide can sign up and create their own listings to find a roommate in their country of study. Users are able to search by city for a roommate or can create a profile to tailor their search or criteria.

Room4Talk

Room4Talk is another online platform which enables students to seek roommates; Room4Talk enables users to filter potential roommates by their spoken languages and intended city.

Roomster

Roomster is a platform where landlords can list available properties, and potential tenants can search available accommodation or potentially find other interested students willing to cohabit.

Disclosure: Prodigy Finance is in no way affiliated with Erasmusu, Room4Talk, or Roomster and cannot assume any responsibility for leasing disputes.

What to do when you can't find housing?

If you find yourself unable to secure international student housing before your study period begins, your first step should be to approach your school’s international office or accommodation office.

In many cases, you’ll be required to secure accommodation for travel and Visa application purposes; meaning that if you can’t secure student housing, you may not be able to proceed with your study journey.

Many universities and schools keep an available register of residences and potential accommodation, and in the event that these are fully booked, might also keep a waiting list. Be sure to enquire if you could be added to such a list and determine what your waiting period could be.

Some universities offer financial assistance to enable international students to seek accommodation, and you may wish to explore this as well.

Happy house hunting!

Need funding for your international masters?

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If you want to go ahead and know what and where to study, APR, try our Study Centre which is filled with expert opinions on a range of topics like international student's back account, booking flights,after sorting student visa.

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