Arrange your student accommodation early to avoid disappointment - Overseas - Getting Into University - The Independent

In association with Ucas

Arrange your student accommodation early to avoid disappointment

Coming to the UK to study can be both exciting and daunting; one of the things which will help you feel secure about your new life is having a comfort zone that you can call home. The following information should help you through the maze of student accommodation options and show you how to secure a place in your housing of choice.

How to apply

Don't leave the arrangement of your accommodation until the last minute; if you need a visa to study in the UK you should get onto this straight away. International students don't need a firm address to get a visa, just evidence of their ability to meet - without working in the UK - the costs of their accommodation, so you should make sure you have researched this first. As for the accommodation itself, the majority of universities and colleges guarantee first-year accommodation for undergraduates in a range of different housing types, as long as you apply as soon as you have accepted your offer. Accommodation fills up quickly, so apply as soon as possible to secure your first choice.

International post can be unreliable, so most institutions now have an online application system to speed up the process. Alternatively, you can fax your application through to your university's housing office.

How to find the perfect accommodation

Universities and colleges offer heaps of options, from catered halls and self-catered flats to single-sex or international accommodation, not to mention the private sector. Prices for housing vary, dependent on your university's location and what you go for. Rooms typically include a bed, wardrobe, shelves, desk and a chair and internet connection.

Halls of residence

Catered halls are a popular choice for students. However, if you are unsure about living in mixed halls, most institutions offer single-sex options or even international halls, where you will be surrounded by people in the same boat.

Self-catered flats

If the idea of communal living sounds a bit daunting then self-catered flats are a good option, giving you the opportunity to find your feet in smaller groups of students. Meenal Mohan, 21, from New Delhi in India is studying psychology at the University of Greenwich and arrived in the UK two years ago. Meenal chose to live on campus in a single-sex flat with five other girls. "It was a really good experience moving into the flat because I'd never lived with people from different backgrounds before. Also, after living with my brother for a bit when I arrived in England, it was comforting to be able to move in with first years who were away from home for the first time too."

Going private

If university or college accommodation isn't your cup of tea then contact your instiution's housing office, which will be able to tell you where to start looking for private rented accommodation. Most hold updated lists of vacant housing nearby and will tell you about any useful websites or local newspapers, as well as answering any legal questions you may have.

Waleed Montassar, 28, from Egypt, is studying waste management at the University of Northampton and has been living in private accommodation since September. Waleed spent his first year in halls and now he lives with friends from his course. "You can be much more independent living in private accommodation and you get more space and time for yourself. I really enjoy it because I also get the opportunity to meet people outside the university community in my area."

Enjoy yourself

Your institution's website is a key resource in your accommodation search, so check out what options are specific to your university or college and if you have any concerns get in touch with them directly, during office hours.

While choosing your accommodation is an important decision, Waleed says: "As an international student, avoiding culture shock and homesickness should be your first priority and all accommodation offers the opportunity to meet people who can help you do this. The main thing is to enjoy the experience."

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

DT Teacher -Key stage 3 all areas

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a DT teache...

IT Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week