Accommodation in Dubai for foreign students
Updated on Jul 15, 2016 - 9:11 a.m. IST by Manashjyoti

Accommodation in Dubai for foreign students
: With iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall gracing its skyline, Dubai has never found it difficult to capture the imagination of the public. But in recent times, it has aspired to be an academic hotspot as well, which interestingly is paying off. For, today it hosts universities that are listed in world university rankings, apart from a handful of other universities that are showing an upward trajectory.

And you will find almost all the popular courses, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, offered at these universities, ensuring that students can virtually cherry pick what they want to study. It shows that the city is slowly building up a rack of convincing arguments to persuade international students to study in Dubai. And once you are persuaded into studying in Dubai, it may not be long before you get busy looking for accommodation in Dubai for foreign students. After all, one doesn’t need to be retold the benefits of staying in a suitable accommodation when studying abroad.

Accommodation in Dubai for foreign students: Things you need to know

Just like in all the major academic cities, you can either go for on-campus or off-campus accommodation when studying in Dubai. But if you go for on-campus accommodation, which is the majority choice, you better apply early because seats are limited and generally allotted on a first-come first-serve basis. Another reason why you shouldn’t keep it for too late is, even if seats are available, your options may run out. For example, at Middlesex University Dubai, an early applicant can have his pick from options like single occupancy, shared occupancy, premium shared occupancy. And once a category, say single occupancy, fills up it will no longer be available for you, meaning you will have fewer choices.

On-campus accommodation in Dubai for foreign students

The benefits of staying in an on-campus accommodation in Dubai are multifarious. To begin with, you get to stay close to the university, and in an accommodation that is well-looked after and meets minimum international standards. Then you are surrounded by a multi-cultural international crowd, one that is academically inclined and conducive for success and personal growth.

 One unique aspect of international student accommodation in Dubai is there are clearly demarcated areas for male and female occupants, keeping in view the conservative nature of the UAE. Also, most accommodations don’t provide family facilities inside the campus.

Some of the facilities included in on-campus accommodation in Dubai are as follows:

  • Bed and mattress

  • Desk and chair

  • Wardrobe

  • Housekeeping

  • On-site supervision (by accommodation officers)

  • Transportation to and from the university campus (as is the case with Canadian University Dubai)

  • Kitchen equipped with essentials like microwave, stove and refrigerator

  • Wireless internet throughout the student accommodation (Heriot Watt University, Dubai)

Expenses related to meal services, laundry and similar others which are considered personal in nature are generally not included in accommodation fees.

On-campus accommodation in Dubai for foreign students: the cost factor

How much you end up spending on your on-campus accommodation in Dubai depends a large deal on the type of accommodation you choose.  In the table below we bring you a sample cost of on-campus accommodation at Middlesex University Dubai, which is a fair reflection of the typical cost of on-campus accommodation in Dubai.

Accommodation cost in Dubai (September- May)  for new joiners

Room Type

Costs  (AED)

Type A - Single


Type B - Shared x2


Type C - Shared x 2 (premium)


Type D - Shared x3


Type E - Shared x3 (upgraded)


Type F - Shared x3 (premium)


TYPE G – Shared x4


Student accommodation cost in Dubai during summers (June - Sep )

Room Type

Costs  (AED)

Type A - Single


Type B - Shared x2


Type C - Shared x 2 (premium)


Type D - Shared x3


Type E - Shared x3 (upgraded)


Type F - Shared x3 (premium)


If you look at on-campus accommodation cost in Dubai of another university, Manipal University Dubai, the hostel fee for one academic year (of ten months) is around AED 28,000. The fee is all-inclusive and incorporates items like boarding, lodging, internet, transport and laundry services.

Want to study in Manipal University Dubai? Click here to apply!


Off-campus accommodation in Dubai for foreign students

Missing out on an on-campus accommodation in Dubai may not be a great feeling, but there is no point crying buckets over it. Rather you should start looking for a private accommodation in earnest. Also, there are many students who in fact find the supervised environment of on-campus accommodation too restrictive to their taste. So, to go with the negatives, there are also some positives of staying in an off-campus accommodation in Dubai.

Here we bring you average annual cost of staying at an off-campus accommodation in Dubai



Modest, 1 bedroom

AED 70,000 - 85,000

Modest, 2 bedrooms

AED 85,000 - 100,000

Good quality, 1 bedroom

AED 100,000 - 120,000

Good quality, 2 bedrooms

AED 120,000 - 140,000

Good quality, 3 bedrooms

AED 140,000 - 190,000

As you would expect, the cost doesn’t include items like furnishings, utilities, laundry, internet, satellite TV service and transportation to and from the campus; so, you have to bear them separately. In addition, most landlords demand that you pay security deposits to cover incidents like damage to property.


Considering not all of you may belong to economically endowed families, it also makes sense to opt for shared accommodation which are available for from AED 4,500-6,500 per month, depending on the location and the number of people sharing the accommodation.


Find ways to deal with financial expenses

It is not uncommon to find students studying in Dubai seeking work opportunities, as it helps them to pay off some amount of their living expenses. If you are one of them, you will be glad that part-time jobs are available in Dubai, with the UAE bringing in new legislation to ensure better work environment for international students. Under these legislations, you no longer need to transfer your student visa to your employer to seek work.  


The best scenario of course is finding a full-scholarship, or at the least a partial scholarship, to fund your study in Dubai. That way you can very well be untouched by financial troubles most students face.


Stay tuned to for more stories on Campus life.   

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