Accommodation in UK

How to find the right place to live
One of the first things you should research immediately after gaining a place to study is a place to live. Thankfully, finding a place to live will not demand much of your time and effort as choosing a course or institution. Many institutions guarantee first year accommodation to all new international students and almost all have accommodation officers who can help you to find accommodation that best suits your specific needs and budget. But the demand for accommodation, particularly in the higher education sector, is growing every year, that you should start your search as soon as you have been accepted onto a course.
Usually institutions send an accommodation application form along with your offer letter, but this is limited to institution owned accommodation. If you need private accommodation, you should contact the institution for help to reserve a place. In both the cases, you may need to sign in some documents and pay deposit before you arrive. The major types of accommodation available to international students are discussed below. Your choice may depend on a number of factors including the kind of person you are, special requirements (dietary, disability) you have, budget, proximity to campus and facilities available. If you are having any special dietary requirements, you should choose self-catered halls or private accommodation. The cost of accommodation varies according to the location and services provided.
If you want private accommodation, you should contact the institution's accommodation office. They often maintain the list of private residences available for rent in the area. They may be able to advice you on the most convenient location to live, legal issues of signing contracts, and rent to pay.

Where would you want to live?

Halls of residence: Halls of residence are owned and managed by the institutions. The major benefits of living in halls include: (i) they are situated close to or within the campus (ii) they give an opportunity to live with a large group of students, so that you can get to know people of different diversity and involve with various social activities of the institution. Usually these are centrally heated, single study bedrooms with shared bathroom, sporting and recreational facilities. But en-suite shower/toilet facilities are becoming common these days.Halls offer a great deal of privacy and at the same time give you the opportunity to socialise with a large number of people. Halls of residence are either single sex (male or female only) or mixed (both male and female). International students are given preference in allocation and many institutions guarantee a room in halls, at least for the first year of study, provided you apply by the last date. Many halls provide you a bed, a desk, a desk chair, an easy chair, a wardrobe, carpets, curtains, bookshelves and a washbasin. An electric socket may also be provided for the use of computer, printer, television, desktop lamp, stereo. Many also give a refrigerator and a telephone connection - capable of r receiving and making internal, national and international calls. You can bring anything as you wish to make your room as your home. You can bring/hire computer, television, posters, stereo, lamps, dolls, curtains etc. During Vacations: For international students who cannot go home during vacations like Christmas and Easter, accommodation may still be available. Extra charge may be made, although some offer it free of charge. Catering services may not be available but you may have access to Kitchen to make your own food. If you are going home for the holidays, check out whether your accommodation has a storage space to store your luggage, as they are considered more secure. University Apartments:

University apartments are usually reserved for married students and visiting faculties. If you are thinking of moving your family with you, then you have to apply early, since these types of accommodation are very limited (and hence always in demand) in the UK. Do not think that you can travel with your family and you can arrange accommodation later. It is very difficult to find suitable family accommodation and is expensive than you think. Flats, Houses: (University owned and private accommodation)

Flats and houses are shared with a group of people or you can own yourself. Flats usually have 3 to 5 single study bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, bathroom and toilet. These type of accommodation are helpful once you have made some friends. Electricity, Gas, Telephone and Water charges are not usually included in the rent, and are calculated on a monthly basis. Usually you are required to sign in 'lease agreement' and pay deposit. It's a good idea to choose a furnished accommodation, because it is expensive to purchase/rent furniture, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine, cooking utensils, sheets and towels.

Homestay: Homestay accommodation provides you an opportunity to live with a local family. It offers you a wonderful opportunity to explore a different culture, lifestyle than that of yours and a quick way to integrate into British society. Many British families offer homestay accommodation to international students. You probably have to share the bathroom and kitchen facilities, but offered an individual study bedroom. There are two types of arrangements possible: (1) you cook your own meals (2) the host cooks meals for you. If you decide to cook your own food, have a look at the cooking facilities available, as this is usually very basic.

Temporary Accommodation: We strongly advise you to arrange some form of temporary accommodation if: your parents or family is travelling with you to the UK you have not arranged permanent accommodation or you are in the waiting list for your permanent accommodation you are arriving earlier than start date say a week (for sightseeing or to get know your surroundings) if you are arriving in the UK late in the evening The various types of temporary accommodation available in the UK are:

Hostels: Hostels are big buildings with individual rooms and are usually run by charitable organizations. Both single rooms and family suites are generally available. Some provide meals and some allow you to prepare your own food. There are more than 240 Youth Hostels in England and Wales. Hotels: Hotels are expensive, but useful form of temporary accommodation. Although rooms are available without booking, you are advised to book while you are still in your home country, particularly if you are coming to big cities such as London or if you are bringing your family with you. Many big hotels have online booking facility. Different classification schemes are used to rate the hotels like 3star, 5star etc.

Guest Houses: Guest houses are similar to hotels, but much cheaper. Many provide meals, but unlike restaurant in hotels here you've no or little choice. Bed and Breakfast: This is the cheapest form of temporary accommodation. These are usually single house with bed and bathroom. The rent includes the morning breakfast. This form of accommodation is strongly adviced if you are arriving in the UK late in the evening and when you are traveling during your stay in the UK.

Steps to get accommodated: Receive and accept unconditional offer from the institution You will be mailed a student accommodation hand book which will give comprehensive information about various accommodation options available. Make a special request, if you need private accommodation. Make your choice and send the form to the accommodation officer. The officer will then send you the agreement. Sign the agreement and attach the necessary deposit.