International students moving to the UK have multiple accommodation options to choose from. The choices vary but mainly depend on three things:

  • Whether the college or university offers halls of residence
  • The location
  • The amount a student is willing to spend on accommodation 

Along with the letter of acceptance to the college or university, international students also need to specify if they require accommodation. Accommodation in halls of residence is not given automatically. However, international students are provided with accommodation on priority. 

However, if the college does not have official residence halls, the student has no option but to look for a place to stay before they arrive. There are several websites where private homeowners post advertisements for the lease of their homes. Students may want to check them out and finalise a place. Remember, the demand for housing in university towns is high, so the accommodation search must begin early.

Halls of Residence

UK education consultants can help you achieve your career goals. Most colleges and universities have residence halls for undergraduate students, and these are perfect for international students moving to the UK for the first time. Most residence halls have a cafeteria where students can eat. Food is reasonably priced here; however, it is usually typically British. They are an excellent place to eat if you want to experience the British way of life. Additionally, each hall floor has a fully-equipped kitchen, where you can cook meals.

Some colleges have dining halls where students can pay per meal. Cambridge and Oxford universities have such dining halls. 

Also read, Advantages and Benefits of Doing MBA from UK

Residence Halls are a great place to meet new people, make friends, learn about other cultures etc. Most residence halls are combined—they are a shared living area, where both men and women reside. Everyone gets a single room. Some rooms have shared bathrooms, while others are en suite. Kitchens are common. These residences also have a lounge and bar area and may have other amenities. Students can check the college website to see if they have women or men only residence hall.

A typical residence hall would be in a large building, with flats, where students get a room each. The rooms are furnished and have heating etc. Residence halls are safe, convenient and high-quality accommodation.

Self-catered Halls

Self-catered halls have a shared kitchen but are similar to halls of residence in all other ways. Here student residents can cook meals. However, the downside of such an arrangement is that the cooking can be done only when the kitchen is free. The shared kitchens also tend to be messy as more people cook there, and do not clean after themselves.  

Houses and Flats

Students generally move out of residence halls after the first year. By then, they have adjusted to the way of life in the UK. Second and third-year graduate students and postgraduate students typically shift into a studio, flat or independent house and live independently. 

Rent on independent houses and flats are charged by the week. A tenancy agreement, defining the terms of stay is also signed. Students must read and understand the terms of the tenancy contract, before signing on the dotted line, since it is legal and binding. A refundable deposit will also need to be paid upfront. 

The tenants pay the electricity, gas and water bills, which students must keep in mind while agreeing on the rent amount. These expenses are over and above the rent. Most places come furnished. 

You may also read, The Top 15 Colleges in the UK for International Students

There are several advantages to renting a home and students can choose where to stay—whether close to the college or the city centre. Properties that are closer to college campuses are generally more expensive than those further away. Staying independent also gives student’s the liberty who they share the accommodation with. Residence halls do not allow this privilege.

Private Dormitories

Dormitories are another cheap option to try, especially if one is on a tight budget. University dormitories are less expensive than private dormitories. The drawback of living in a dormitory is that it provides little or no privacy. 


Location determines the rent. As one can expect, accommodation in rural areas of the UK has lower rents than urban parts. However, the rents differ within metropolitan regions, depending on the exact location. For example, the rent for flats and houses in downtown areas is quite expensive. Conversely, similar accommodation in the periphery or outer zones has lower rents. Outer zones are safer, quieter and have less traffic; the only disadvantage being that they are far away from the university campus and the city centre.

Let’s take London as an example. The city has several colleges spread across the city. London is among the most expensive cities globally and without doubt the most expensive place in the UK. The city is divided into nine zones. The cost of rent for flats in Central London is way higher than the rent for accommodation in outer zones. One can rent a larger flat in outer zones for a lower rent. 

For instance, the average cost of renting a studio in Zone one of London is £2154, and a 1 BHK is £2486. A similar accommodation in the other zones would cost a fraction of that amount and help save money. Bigger flats, with more rooms and new developments with modern fittings and more amenities, cost way higher. It is best to find flatmates to share the place with and save big money on the renting cost.

This brings us to the conclusion of our discussion on international student accommodation in the UK. If you have queries on student accommodation in the UK, you can contact Sage Education, leading UK education consultants in Dubai will help you to grab admissions in top-notch universities in the UK.