I have received quite a few emails from prospective Go Abroad students asking about how to approach the task of applying for accommodation in Australia, so have been encouraged to write a small blog post about my experience!
Many people have got in contact with me to ask about how best to secure accommodation in Australia. Staying in halls is ridiculously expensive at around $10,000 (£6,000 plus) per semester, and the task of being able to find a house share when you don’t know anybody else in Brisbane and thus have nobody to share with seems impossible.
I was very lucky with my accommodation in that another Go Abroad student from Manchester had arrived in Brisbane a couple of weeks earlier than me and therefore she did most of the hard work while I was still back in the UK. We had already decided that we wanted to live together in a shared house and had done a bit of research on websites such as Gumtree and Student House Share prior to leaving the country, however this turned out to only be useful in gauging what sort of property you could get for what sort of price.
While I was still in the UK, the other Go Abroad student, Alice, had been exploring Brisbane’s suburbs with her parents in the hunt for a place to live that was of a reasonable standard within an area that other students also lived in. During this hunt she came across Brisbane Students Estate Agents, based in West End where I now live, and they turned out to be an estate agents focussed on providing housing for International Students. Brisbane Students work by allocating rooms in houses, rather than houses as a whole, to students searching for accommodation. They offer both 6 month and yearly contracts, so are designed with international students in mind as they are aware that you will probably be moving out here by yourself and will not necessarily be staying for a full academic year. With this in mind, they also continue rent over the Australian summer period. One of their reps took Alice to a few possible houses, and from then on the process of signing was simple enough that it could be done within an hour or so in the shop without any guarantor forms needing to be signed. When Alice signed for a room in the house, all she then had to do was mention that I would also be moving in a couple of weeks later and another room was held for me.
All in all I have had a great experience in my shared house. By coincidence another Manchester student also signed for a room, so the house consists of three Manchester students, a Norwegian and an Australian. It is located within a lovely suburb next to the river with lots of cafes etc, we have a cleaner every two weeks(!) and bills are included which saves a lot of stress. However, if you’d rather meet as many people as possible and have more of a “halls” experience, lots of my friends also live in the same suburb in a thirty bed house!
Whichever option you chose, it is a lot easier to find accommodation than you think, and many of the worries I had about moving did not actualise into problems. The estate agents out here want to make it easy for you, so no need to stress!