Finding Accommodation in the Rest of the World

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Are you planning on studying or working abroad in the next academic year? Here you can find some top tips and useful websites on finding accommodation across the world. This is not an exhaustive list of countries so if your destination isn’t included, email the Global Office intern for some advice and support!

N.B. For students studying at one of our partner institutions, you can find the most up-to-date and detailed information about halls and university residences on the host university’s webpages for exchange students. These links can be found on our “Where can I go?” pages in the ‘Living there’ sections of each university profile. Make note of accommodation application deadlines and please be aware that the University of St Andrews cannot guarantee accommodation at any of our partner institutions. These webpages are designed to assist with the search for private accommodation.

Email our Global Office Intern to get in touch with past Saints Abroad students to hear their experience of finding accommodation at [email protected].

Before you start searching, read our blog post for top tips on how to find accommodation and how to avoid scams! 

The following companies listed are independent, private businesses and are not owned or operated by the University of St Andrews. While the links below may have been used by students in previous years, they are not endorsed by the University. You should exercise caution when using any website or service to find housing.

It is your responsibility to make sure your private accommodation suits your needs. Any rental agreement or arrangement you enter into is strictly between you and the private accommodation provider. Ensure you know your tenancy rights in that country before signing a rental agreement and any services to help settle disputes. Prepare your paperwork well in advance, including visas, resident permits, national identity cards and numbers and make sure to register your accommodation with the local government and the University of St Andrews (via MySaint) when settled.

 General Sites

Read below for useful tips and links on the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • Uruguay
  • USA


With 42% of its population born overseas and an average age of just 37, Australia is a modern, vibrant and youthful society. Australia is famous for its quality of life, multi-cultural cities and incredible natural beauty so it often attracts international students and young professionals. Sydney remains the most expensive city, but a lot of other cities remain very affordable and offer many accommodation options. Remember to know your tenant’s rights and research your area well!

Tenant’s Rights Useful Links

Useful Links


Canada is an attractive place for any student or young professional given its mix of culture and diverse job market and academia. Despite cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver being slightly more expensive, finding housing should not be too difficult with the right preparation and research. Pay attention to what visas and healthcare plans are needed to avoid unnecessary costs and delays.

Canada encourages young workers from all over the world through ‘International Experience Canada’ so check out the resources and advice available here.

Tenant’s Rights Useful Links

Useful Links


China is a vast country with many vibrant cities and regions in which to work and study. As an incredibly affordable country, the rent in major cities averages just ¥3,403.55 per month, or even lower at ¥2,015.81 in the suburbs. The cost of living itself is equally inexpensive. However, prices for rent can vary massively within cities so make sure you pay attention to amenities, location and condition of apartment. Always check that your apartment is registered as a rental property on government sites.

Renmin University will consider allowing foreign students to live off campus, but you must inform the University beforehand and gain permission before looking. Some schools may have strict accommodation regulations for the sake of students’ safety so you may be required to complete some official forms to get permission for living off campus.

Average Rents for off-campus living

Depending on different cities, here is the general price for renting:

  • One-bedroom apartment: RMB 800-2500 per month
  • Two-bedroom apartment: RMB 1000-4500 per month
  • Three-bedroom apartment: RMB 1500-8000 per month

Key Terms

  • Realtor: 房地產经纪人
  • Deposit: 保證金
  • Lease: 出租
  • Furnished apartment: 带家具的公寓
  • Fees: 费用
  • Room: 间
  • Rent: 出租

Useful Links

Hong Kong

A global milieu of top-class education and economy, Hong Kong is a popular study and work choice for international students. Despite its allure, it’s no secret that finding affordable, available and livable housing can be quite the challenge. If on-campus accommodation isn’t an option, rent prices for off-campus accommodation could be in the range of HK$8,000–15,000 a month depending on the size, location and type of accommodation. Be well prepared, ask for the advice of your host university or company and get a colleague or University staff member to check over your lease before signing!

Useful Links


Renting in Japan is no easy feat, with language barriers, cultural differences and strong competition for housing. One aspect of Japanese rentals that may surprise foreign tenants is the number of initial fees. In addition to your security deposit (shikikin), you will have to pay ¨key money¨ (reikin) worth between one- and three-months’ rent. ¨Key money¨ is considered a show of gratitude to your landlord. Students are recommended to go through their universities’ advice service or a letting agency who can assist in English for ease and convenience. A guesthouse (or “gaijin house”, meaning “foreigner house”) is an inexpensive type of accommodation popular with students who are staying in Japan for one month or longer and who want to avoid the hassle and the expense of renting and furnishing a conventional apartment.

Useful Links


Qasid Centre provides a very detailed synopsis on accommodation choices in and around Amman. Qasid Housing is owned and run by the Centre and may be applied for via a group booking submitted by the Global Office. Independent Housing is also an option and we advise that you ask the Centre for guidance and attend their tours when searching. Do your research beforehand but don’t sign the lease until you see the property in person! As a point of reference, Qasid is located on University Street (Queen Rania Street), in Al-Madina Al-Riyadiya (Sport City). Nearby neighborhoods that are a short taxi ride away are Gardens Street, Shmeisani, and the University of Jordan. Neighborhoods with a café culture and an attractive “walkability” score include Jabal al-Weibdeh (also known simply as “Weibdeh”) and Rainbow Street. Upscale neighborhoods that include a mix of residential units and shops that cater to English-speakers include AbdounUmm UthainaRabia, and Sweifieh.

Useful Links


The Qalam wa Lawh Centre offers three different types of accommodation: university residences, homestays and studio apartments. Each option has its own unique perks so make sure you research each well and consider your budget when deciding. Please note that all host families are vetted by the Centre. Students who choose to live with a family may receive a more immersive language experience but are expected to respect household rules and local culture in every aspect. Meals may or may not be provided. Studio apartments and university residences offer less language immersion but more independence.

Useful Links

New Zealand

New Zealand attracts cultures from all over the world and its cities are bustling with friendly Kiwis. However, this can make renting in the big cities challenging and occasionally expensive but there are lots of services to help you out. Remember that when choosing between a house in the suburbs or a city apartment, houses in the suburbs are mostly unfurnished, and you will need to organise your own electricity and internet. City apartments can be more expensive but generally come furnished or available to sublet! Security deposits are called ‘bonds’ in New Zealand and can legally be up to the maximum of 4-weeks rent. Once paid to the agency or landlord, you and the landlord must fill out a bond lodgement form which must be sent to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment within 23 working days.

Tenants Rights & Services Useful Links

Useful Links


International Arabic for Non-Native Speakers program students can reserve a space at the University Residences. This costs QR. 800 per month (includes room with double occupancy, meals and bus transportation to and from campus).

Graduate students can reserve a room in student residences by paying QR. 2000 per month (includes single room, meals and bus transportation to and from campus). Limited spaces are available in the university dorms, subject to availability.

Students can also rent their own apartments in Doha and provide their own transportation. The estimated average cost to do so is $2000 per month, which usually covers accommodation and transportation. Please note that the provided cost is a rough estimate of the cost of living in Doha but rents in Doha can vary greatly based on location and level of finishing. In order to rent in Qatar, you’ll need your residence permit and Qatar ID.

Useful Links


Singapore is often considered the most expensive city in the world to live in, but it also offers high quality education and fantastic job opportunities. Be prepared to do your research and search for student-friendly options for the best results- there are lots of different housing types in Singapore. Renting a room in a house or hostel may be best for short-term students. Check out the government’s website to know your rights and offers on subsidized housing. Remember, before signing a lease in Singapore, you must express your interest in a property through a letter of intent (LOI) and send the landlord a good faith deposit which is different from a security deposit.

Useful Links


The Universidad de Montevideo does not provide on-campus housing. However, their Office of International Affairs sends out a housing list before the beginning of every semester with multiple choices of living situations such as international residences, house stays and independent rooms to rent.

It is strongly recommended to arrange your permanent housing in Montevideo once you have arrived. It is our suggestion that you book a hostel for the beginning of your stay so that you may search for appropriate housing during your first weeks there.

Useful Links


The US proves a popular choice for all international students for its world-famous institutions and job opportunities. Most universities provide on campus accommodation for students, but off-campus renting is also an option. Renting from state to state can vary greatly so make sure that you are aware of your state’s legal requirements from tenants and landlords. Your landlord may request to see a copy of your student visa (I-20) or work visa so have photocopies prepared in advance.

If you are not able to arrange for housing prior to your departure, plan to arrive several weeks in advance of the start of the term to visit rentals in person and meet with prospective roommates. However, bear in mind that immigration regulations allow you to arrive no more than 30 days before the start of the term. Landlords may require additional deposits from international students, but the general amount is one-month. As always, do not transfer money to an unknown account and always get a receipt of your deposit.

Please be aware that most apartments in the US come unfurnished. They will have a stove and refrigerator, but you may need to get your own bed, sofa, chairs, and other furniture. It is a good idea to invest in renter’s insurance which is relatively inexpensive but can help out in emergency situations.

Co-op living is a good option for students who need to keep housing costs low and are interested in being part of a community. Resident members contribute to the daily operations of the house by performing work-shifts that may include washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming common areas, weeding the garden, cooking meals, office work etc. Since co-operative living requires student participation, it may not be appropriate for all students.

Tenant’s Rights Useful Links

Useful Links


The Global Office hopes that you find this guide useful in your search for accommodation around the world. If you have any feedback, sites you found helpful on your year abroad or sites where you fell victim to scams, please let us know by emailing [email protected].

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