Tips to help with your accommodation search
You will be travelling around to the other side of the planet, after all, so we know th
at finding accommodation is a big deal. We’ve complied a quick checklist to help you out!
Staying on campus?
Visit your uni’s accommodation website and read… and read so more. Get a feel for what the residence or college is about. Most have international houses for out-of-towners like you! Some also have “Party Central.” Wuh wuh. Don’t choose that one. You’re there to be brilliant, not to be bombed.
Connect with your future classmates and current students in the program as early as possible in advance to find potential roommates and discuss your options together, as this will give you more confidence with your living arrangements. Join student groups, and be sure to ask your admissions officer for more tips about how to meet fellow OzTREKKers!
Pick a location (or three)
Google maps, baby. Make sure you know which campus you will be attending before you start your search. Check out former OzTREKK students’ reviews about where they live on the “Accommodation” tab on the Boarding Pass. Here you’ll find dozens of reports from actual students studying in Australia. You’ll also find out which suburbs are closest to your uni and you’ll get a general idea of how much moola you’ll need.
Look on domain.com.au or realestate.com.au for ideas; however, these websites take their information from the actual real estate websites. Sometimes they don’t get updated as quickly as you would hope and a house might be gone. It is good to go to the real estate websites and see what they have.
Arrive a bit early
We always recommend this one! Former OzTREKK students—especially those in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane—advise students to arrive in Australia a minimum of two weeks early. Living off campus can offer more flexibility and value for your money! You can easily book temporary accommodation while in Canada, as many universities offer temporary accommodation on their campuses. This way you can spend a couple of weeks getting acquainted with your university, your city and its transit system before you decide on living quarters.
See it in person
Good. You’ve arrived early. Now go for a walkabout! Wander around the closest suburbs and go in personally to see if you can talk to someone about available rental properties. When viewing a property, take notes (and photos!) of any damage/weirdness you see before you sign a lease.
Landlords will ask for references. Ask your previous landlords for reference letters. Photocopy them. Even more important to them is your actual rental lease agreement. Make sure to get paper copies as well as scanned versions. A lot of the real estate agencies let you apply online, which is quite easy.
Money. Have some.
Before you leave for Australia, order some Aussie money from your bank. You’ll need it for taxi fares, food, and a bond, and “just in case.” All landlords will ask if you have a job or how you are going to finance your apartment. If you are going to work, that’s great and you can say where you are working. If you are in the “all study, no work” boat, get a letter showing how you have access to your funds. If you have a loan from your bank, ask your bank representative to say that you have a line of credit for your studies that can cover your tuition and your living situation.
Get ready to hit the ground running!
Be prepared to see a lot of places and keep your mind open to what area you want to live in. There are a lot of cool areas neighbouring the universities and you just need to find the right fit. Most open houses happen on Saturday and most people will have their applications ready to hand in after seeing the place! Come prepared with all your documents in hand or ready to send in on the internet when you get home.
Don’t get discouraged
Great news: not one OzTREKK student has wandered around homeless. You may have to apply to as many houses as possible. Most other people took about two to three weeks to get confirmation. It just depends on the area, how many people you are looking to live with, etc.
If you’re completely freaking, ask us for help. Ask your university for help. That’s why we are here!