Accommodation in UK for foreign students
Updated on Jun 28, 2016 - 5:49 p.m. IST by Manashjyoti


Accommodation in UK for foreign students: Making the decision to go abroad for higher studies isn’t an easy one, because along with huge sums of money, there are many other key ingredients to be accounted for, including accommodation. In fact, the significance of finding a decent accommodation, where one gets peace of mind and shares space with like-minded people, can’t be underplayed. Otherwise, instead of focusing on studies you may end up wasting all your energy on trivialities like cleaning up a messy room, commuting (if the accommodation is too far away from the university), or, god forbid, arguing with your boisterous neighbors or landlord! So, if UK is where you are headed, it is important that you do some research on accommodation in UK for foreign students. It will help you understand better what are the different options that are available before you and which one suits you best.

 

Accommodation in UK for foreign students: Weighing your options

Generally speaking, the first choice of students looking for accommodation in UK for foreign students is on-campus accommodation, which isn’t very difficult to see why. To begin with, on-campus student accommodation in UK is frequently administered by university authorities, which apart from providing a sense of security, reduces chances of foul play. Then, unlike off-campus accommodation, on-campus accommodation allows students to stay within the college campus or at the least within striking distance of the university, which not only reduces commuting costs and time, but gives them uninterrupted access to university resources like university library and a vibrant social life. But everything being said and done, not every student studying in UK can be accommodated in on-campus accommodation, since there are limited seats. These students then have to opt for private accommodation or off-campus accommodation, which despite some limitations has its own unique advantages like privacy, freedom to choose your partners, etc.

But instead of reducing our discussing to which one is better –on-campus accommodation or off-campus accommodation, let’s find out each type of accommodation for what they stand and also the price structure.

 

On-campus student accommodation in UK

 

On-campus accommodation in UK for undergraduate students: If you are an international first year undergraduate student studying in UK, you are almost assured of an on-campus accommodation. Take for example, Imperial College London, where all first year students, provided they accept it as their preferred choice, are guaranteed a seat in the college accommodation. In percentage terms, more than 90% of first year undergraduate students live in the university’s halls of residence. Imperial has capacity to accommodate up to 2,500 students in its single and twin rooms. An interesting facet of Imperial accommodation is they come in different budgets and locations, which, at many times, plays to the strength of the student. 

 

Sample room types and rents at Imperial’s Halls of residence

 Type of room

Weekly rent

Beit Hall

Eastside Halls

Parsons House

Pembridge Hall

En-suite single

£220

£226 (£267 for en-suite Premium)

 -

£152

Standard single

£196

-

£128

£137

En-suite twin

£145

£145

-

£104

Standard twin

£139

-

-

£99


Distances from the residence to the campus  

 

Beit Hall

Eastside Halls

Parsons House

Pembridge Hall

Distance from university

5 minute walk to the main South Kensington campus

5 minute walk

Students can travel easily to campus by bike (20 minutes) or by tube (25 minutes).

Students can travel to the campus within 20 minutes by tube. It is also a short bike ride away (10 minutes) or you can walk (25 minutes).

 

Basic facilities offered included in the halls of residence include:

  • Telephone and wired internet connectivity across all study bedrooms

  • Non-smoking hall

  • On site fully-equipped laundry

  • Common room/TV lounge

The Beit Hall, in addition, has games room and WiFi internet facility in the common areas. Eastside Halls, for its part, has WiFi internet facility in the common areas.

While first-year graduates are taken special care of, the halls of residence at Imperial are open to all undergraduates. The accommodation fee, meanwhile, is inclusive of high-speed internet, contents insurance and utilities, and has to be paid every term. Most of the universities in UK follow a similar approach to Imperial College London when it comes to allotting college accommodation to undergraduates.

 

On-campus accommodation in UK for graduate students: If we continue with Imperial, graduates aren’t treated on par with undergraduates in that they aren’t automatically assured of college facilities, as there are very limited numbers of seats available. Students then have three options before them:

  • Silkwood Park Accommodation (postgraduate campus of Imperial College London)

  • GradPad

  • Private Accommodation

Silkwood Park Accommodation is the on-campus accommodation facility offered by Imperial College London. So, if you are a graduate looking for on-campus student accommodation in UK, you must try to get into any of the four Halls of Residence at Silkwood Park Accommodation.


Graduate Halls of Residence and rents at Silkwood Park Accommodation (Imperial College London) 

Type of room

Weekly rent

Brian Flowers

John Smith

Southwood

William Penny

Standard single

£97

£97

£97

£88

Double couple's room

-

-

£155

-

Couple's studio

-

-

£175

-

The prices here are indicative of what you may expect for a graduate accommodation at most universities in UK. While accommodation rates may vary from university to university, but barring a few exceptions, they are similar to those in the charts, give or take a few dollars.

 

Contract Period: Silkwood Park Accommodation is Imperial’s postgraduate campus located in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot in Berkshire. One key aspect of staying at one of its Halls of Residence is students need to sign a 51-week contract. 

The contract period isn’t the same for all universities in the UK, as it may vary, a case in point being University College London, where contracts may be anywhere around 39-40 weeks.

 

Off-campus student accommodation in UK

If you are unable to get into on-campus accommodation, you need to try private accommodation.  In fact, if we continue with the example of Imperial, the majority of graduates, and to a smaller extent undergraduates, who miss the bus (i.e., on-campus accommodation), end up in private accommodations. For undergraduates who miss out, it mostly is a case of keeping it too late to apply for college accommodation or filling the wrong data or sending the wrong documents.

But whatever may be the reason, once out of luck, better start looking for private accommodation in earnest when studying in UK. When looking for off-campus student accommodation in UK, you need to exercise caution though as there are scamsters waiting for you to trick you. There are a number of independent organizations that offer student accommodation. They also have independent pricing structure which makes it difficult to quote a specific price for a particular type of accommodation.  In addition, the city and borough you stay may have its influence in how much you have to pay.

 

Here we take a few private accommodation service providers and try to give you some idea.

Service Provider

Region served

Properties in London

Price range

Facilties

CRM Arcade

Provides accommodation in London and across the UK

Pure Hammersmith, Grand Felda House, The Curve, Paris Gardens

£147 -£250 per week

Games room, 24/7 security, Free on-site gym, secure bike storage

 

Service Provider

Region served

Types of Accommodation

Price range

Facilities

Ducane Housing Association 

Provides accommodation in London

  • Single en suite room for student

 

 

  • 1-bedroom flat for student couple

 

 

 

  • 3-bedroom flat for student family

Rent £610.34 per month

Deposit £800

 

 

Rent £1,086.19 per month

Deposit £1,200

 

 

 

Rent £1,419.23 per month

Deposit £1,600

single bed, study desk and chair, bookcase and tub chair

 

double bed, wardrobe, table, chairs, oven, hob, sofa and fridge freezer

 

double bed, wardrobe, table, chairs, oven, hob, sofa and fridge freezer

If you look at the chart, you find that while prices can be as low as £147, it can go up to more than £300. It means the more creature comforts you insist on, the fatter will be the bills. Considering students frequently have a hard time managing funds to study in UK, it is a wise idea to spend your money judiciously. Accepted that if you have a scholarship supporting your study in UK, you may take a few liberties, but still saving a penny here and a penny there would go a long way in keeping financial troubles away. The idea then is to not go for extravagant living but rather keep things simple and under control.

 

GradPad: Another popular student accommodation in UK for foreign students, GradPad are properties purpose built for postgraduate living. Essentially they are halls, and are spread over three locations in London, not very far off from South Kensington Campus and the Imperial West Campus. GradPad serves postgraduate students in the London area, where many of the top universities in UK are located. Price at a GradPad accommodation starts from around £210 per week and can go up to as much as £389 per week depending on the facilities you choose. 

 

Try part-time jobs to offset accommodation costs: If you are staying in a private accommodation, more often than not your weekly accommodation expenses will be over £200, whereas you pay max £150 for an En-suite twin or Standard twin on-campus accommodation. What is more you will also spend a lot on commuting and other miscellaneous items that otherwise you wouldn’t, which again will push up expenses. To meet the rising cost many students take up part-time jobs, something you must definitely give a thought to if you haven’t already. To put things into perspective, earn while you study  in UK is really catching on.

 

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