The differences between the types of accommodation available to students in Australia can be a little confusing, particularly if you are coming from overseas. Depending on where you are from, a dorm, student hall or college could mean the same, or completely different things! To avoid the confusion, we have listed the different types of student accommodation below.
What are the Melbourne University accommodation options?
There are four main types of accommodation available to students who wish to study in Melbourne, Australia.
1. Private student accommodation/managed student apartments
This student accommodation is usually either owned by the university itself, or other private providers such as Scape or UniLodge. They are generally located close to the universities they service and offer you an opportunity to have your own studio or one bedroom apartment (or you can reduce the cost and share with someone else). Your apartment will be fully furnished, including a kitchen to make your own meals, and Wi-Fi and other bills are included. There will be plenty of communal recreational facilities as well, such as gyms, outdoor areas and BBQs. There is also usually security in the building in case of any issues.
If you are an international student and over 18 you may wish to immerse yourself in the local culture by considering a homestay. If you opt for this experience, you will be housed in the home of an Australian family, who can show you all the local sights and offer a unique insight into Australian culture. There are several organisations that arrange these homestays – please make sure you apply through a recognised provider.
3. Residential Colleges
The term college in Australia can be used to describe an educational institution that offers courses, or a college can offer student accommodation – so it can be a little confusing. Residential colleges are those offering accommodation, but they also offer a lot more than that. Colleges are usually located on, or very close to, the university campus. They are a more expensive student accommodation option, but they are an all-inclusive cost. Everything is covered in the price, including a fully furnished private room, all utilities (including Wi-Fi), access to tutors to help with your studies, wellbeing and staff support around the clock, gym access, lots of community events to help you make friends and all your meals are catered for. Residential colleges are the perfect option if you are moving out of home for the first time and desire some independence, while also having a lot of support available. Like a boarding school, you will usually be sharing a bathroom with other people, although some of the newer colleges do offer rooms with private bathrooms. All residential colleges in Melbourne are mixed gender, but in other states, single gender colleges are still available. There are often cultural differences between each college; their histories, the type of students they attract and their alignment with different values or faiths, all contribute to the college ‘vibe’. So, make sure you do your research and choose the residential college that’s the right fit for you.
4. Private Rentals
It can be pretty confronting moving straight into a private rental with people you don’t know, but it is certainly an option for those who want a bit more independence. While rent will be cheaper on the surface this way, there are a lot of hidden costs with rentals, such as furniture, bonds, bills and of course food. This is a good option if you already have some friends in Melbourne, but many students do not, so they prefer to try one of the other student accommodation options first, build those solid friendships and move into a private rental in a year or two with these new friends. It can also be hard to secure a rental if you have come straight from home and do not have any rental references. But private rentals give you more freedom to live where you want and how you want.
We hope this blog has provided you with a useful summary of the student accommodation options in Melbourne. If you ever need any advice. Don’t hesitate to contact the team at UC.