Accommodation Options for International Students in the UK

Prakhar Shukla


06 Jul 2023

  • Study in UK
  • international students
Accommodation Options for International Students in the UK

The Importance of Choosing the Right Accommodation

Choosing the right accommodation is a vital aspect of the international student experience in the UK. It not only provides a place to live but also impacts your overall well-being and academic success. With a wide range of options available, both on-campus and off-campus, it's important to consider factors such as location, cost, amenities, and safety. On-campus accommodation offers convenience, proximity to campus facilities, and a built-in support system, while off-campus options provide more independence and flexibility. Research and explore different options to find the accommodation that best fits your needs and enhances your student journey in the UK.

University Halls of Residence: On-Campus Living

Benefits of University Halls

Living in university halls of residence offers several advantages for international students. These include:

  • Proximity to campus facilities, such as libraries, lecture halls, and sports facilities.
  • Easy access to university support services and academic resources.
  • Opportunities to form friendships and socialize with fellow students.
  • Inclusive living arrangements, including utilities and maintenance services.
  • Often, a designated support team to assist with any concerns or issues.

Types of University Halls

  • University halls of residence offer a variety of accommodation options, such as:
  • En-suite rooms: Private bedrooms with attached bathrooms.
  • Shared flats: Shared kitchen and communal living spaces with individual bedrooms.
  • Catered halls: Meals provided as part of the accommodation package.
  • Self-catered halls: Access to shared kitchen facilities for cooking.

How to Apply for University Halls

The application process for university halls of residence varies by institution. Typically, you will receive information on how and when to apply after receiving an offer of admission. It's important to submit your application within the specified deadlines to secure your preferred accommodation.

Private Student Accommodation: Off-Campus Living

Benefits of Private Student Accommodation

Private student accommodation offers additional options for international students, including:

  • More flexibility in terms of location and amenities.
  • A wide range of choices, including purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs) and private rentals.
  • Enhanced privacy and independence.
  • Access to shared facilities, such as gyms, study spaces, and social areas.
  • Often, additional services such as 24/7 security and on-site management.

Types of Private Student Accommodation

Private student accommodation options include:

  • Purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs): Modern, purpose-built properties designed specifically for student living.
  • Private rentals: Apartments or houses rented directly from landlords or through letting agencies.

How to Find Private Student Accommodation

You can find private student accommodation through various channels, including:

  • Online platforms specialized in student accommodation.
  • University accommodation services or student unions.
  • Local letting agencies or property websites.
  • Recommendations from fellow students or social media groups.

Homestays: Living with a Host Family

Benefits of Homestays

Living with a host family can be a rewarding experience for international students. The benefits include:

  • Immersion in the local culture and language.
  • Guidance and support from a caring host family.
  • Opportunities to develop close relationships and make lifelong connections.
  • Shared meals and a sense of belonging in a family environment.
  • Often, convenient locations near the university or college.

How to Arrange a Homestay

To arrange a homestay, you can consider the following options:

  • Contact homestay agencies or organizations that specialize in matching students with host families.
  • Seek recommendations from your university's international office or student support services.
  • Explore online platforms that connect students with host families.
  • Participate in cultural exchange programs that facilitate homestay experiences.

Renting a Private Property: Independent Living

Benefits of Renting a Private Property

Renting a private property offers independence and flexibility for international students. The advantages include:

  • Greater freedom in choosing the location and type of accommodation.
  • Flexibility to live alone or share with friends.
  • Opportunities to experience local communities and lifestyle.
  • Ability to customize the living space according to personal preferences.
  • Development of important life skills, such as budgeting and managing household responsibilities.

Tips for Renting a Private Property

When renting a private property, consider the following tips:

  • Start your search early to secure the best options.
  • Understand local rental regulations and tenant rights.
  • Read the rental agreement carefully and seek clarification if needed.
  • Budget wisely, considering rent, utility bills, and other expenses.
  • Conduct property inspections and communicate with landlords or letting agencies promptly.


Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for international students in the UK. Whether you opt for on-campus university halls, private student accommodation, homestays, or renting a private property, each option offers unique benefits and considerations. Evaluate your preferences, budget, and lifestyle needs to make an informed decision that enhances your overall student experience.


1. Are university halls of residence more affordable than private student accommodation?

University halls of residence are often more affordable compared to private student accommodation. They usually offer inclusive rent, which covers utilities and maintenance services. Private student accommodation may vary in price depending on the location, amenities, and facilities provided.

2. Can international students apply for homestays if they have dietary restrictions?

Yes, international students can apply for homestays even if they have dietary restrictions. It's important to communicate your dietary requirements to the host family or homestay agency during the application process. Many host families are accommodating and can provide meals that cater to specific dietary needs.

3. Is it common for international students to rent private properties in the UK?

Yes, it is common for international students to rent private properties in the UK, especially if they prefer more independence and flexibility in their living arrangements. Renting a private property allows students to choose their desired location, living preferences, and share the space with friends if desired.

4. Can I switch from on-campus accommodation to private accommodation during my studies?

Yes, it is possible to switch from on-campus accommodation to private accommodation during your studies. However, it is important to check the terms and conditions set by your university or accommodation provider. Some institutions may have specific policies regarding accommodation transfers, and there may be availability constraints depending on the time of year.

5. How do I ensure the safety of my belongings in shared accommodation settings?

To ensure the safety of your belongings in shared accommodation settings, you can take the following precautions:

  • Keep your room locked when you are not present.
  • Use a sturdy lock for your personal belongings, such as a lockable drawer or a personal safe.
  • Get familiar with your roommates and maintain open communication.
  • Respect each other's privacy and boundaries.
  • Report any security concerns to the accommodation management or university authorities promptly.

I hope these answers provide clarity on the common FAQs related to accommodation options for international students in the UK. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

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