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Kangaroo Point

Moving to Brisbane, Australia

How to choose your home away from home
Uni life
Published 15 Aug, 2023  ·  4-minute read

You’ve chosen your university and program. Now it’s time to decide between living on campus vs off campus after you move to Brisbane.

Once you’ve been accepted into your program at The University of Queensland, your next thought is likely to be: “where am I going to live?”

You’ll be excited to explore your new home city after moving to Brisbane, Australia. You’ll want to make sure you’re living somewhere close to university and all the action. Brisbane is a thriving, modern city and there are so many areas to choose from.

These tips will help you decide where to live and understand the benefits of each option available to you.

Is it better to live on or off campus?

There are 4 broad options for international student accommodation in Brisbane:

  1. on-campus colleges
  2. UQ Res
  3. off-campus student accommodation
  4. private housing.

Paola from Mexico was one of the many students who had to make this decision while moving to Brisbane.

"Before coming to Australia, I read a lot about accommodation options. There are heaps of options to choose from. You have the classic ones, renting a flat or a house and sharing it with random mates, renting your own room/studio, or sharing a small room. After doing the math and weighing the pros and cons of the options that were the most appealing to me, I applied for a spot in a residential college."

Living on campus

Four students socialising on the rooftop of Kev Carmody House

Living in student accommodation means you'll have plenty of opportunities to socialise.

There are 10 on-campus colleges to choose from at UQ St Lucia, as well as UQ Res, independent student accommodation exclusively for those studying at The University of Queensland. For agriculture and veterinary students, UQ’s rural Gatton campus is home to the Halls of Residence.

All on-campus options provide an immersive university experience. There’s a fantastic student community and plenty of chances to meet new people through regular social events – plus your meals and utilities such as internet are included in your fees. If you're an international student, you'll even have the option to apply through UQ Guaranteed Accommodation, so you can secure your room prior to moving to Brisbane for peace of mind.

If you’re arriving as an international student at UQ, you’ll even get free transport to your new home from Brisbane Airport.

Living off campus

If you’d prefer to live off-campus, UQ has approved a variety of student accommodation providers that offer studios, single-bedroom apartments and rooms in student communities throughout Brisbane. You’ll still get to book a room before you arrive, but you’ll also have the flexibility of cooking your own meals and choosing your location.

Students getting together in a common area of one of Brisbane's many private student accommodation providers.

If independent inner-city living is for you, UQ has many approved accommodation providers. Image courtesy of Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

If you are a Study Abroad or Exchange student here for only one or two semesters, you may find it more convenient to book your stay at dedicated student accommodation.

Private housing

Alternatively, you may wish to be more independent and potentially save money by sharing a house or apartment with other people.

The Brisbane rental market offers everything from low-cost share houses to high-rise apartments. Gatton, as a more rural town, is generally cheaper – you can enjoy a house with a garden for a similar price to a Brisbane inner-city unit.

You don’t always need to find people to live with before you move in; many rental real estate agencies and websites like offer the option of renting a room in an already established house or apartment. The people you live with may quickly become friends who can show you around Brisbane and help you feel more connected with your new city.

Choosing a home close to public transport will likely be important to you. One of the best views of Brisbane is from a CityCat – a ferry service that runs along the river from UQ’s St Lucia campus to the city and the riverside suburb of Hamilton. Brisbane also has an extensive bus and train network that makes it easy to get around, and a student ‘go card’ will allow you to travel on all public transport at discounted prices.

When considering accommodation choices, ensure you have easy access to public transport to reach UQ and other areas of the city. Of course, if you live on campus at either St Lucia or Gatton, you’ll be able to walk to all your classes.

Brisbane's public CitycCat catamaran running on the Brisbane River.

Skip the traffic jams and travel in style on Brisbane’s inner-city ferry service, the CityCat.

Settling in after moving to Brisbane

Now that you’ve chosen where to live, it’s time to get comfortable.

Rest assured UQ and your accommodation provider – if you choose to live in student accommodation – will do everything possible to help you settle into life at UQ and in Brisbane.

We understand it can be challenging to become accustomed to a new city, and you may feel homesick sometimes. UQ's Get Set is a program that allows you to meet new friends and connect with like-minded students that share your interests through chat groups and facilitated on-campus and off-campus meet-ups. Whether you’re into food, drinks, arts, culture, fitness, games or study, find your circle at Get Set.

UQ racing team standing behind their formula style car.

If motor sports is your thing, there’s a club for that.

If you’d rather connect with others over a common interest such as a hobby or sport, we’ve got you covered too.

  • UQ Sport at St Lucia has a massive 35 sporting clubs to choose from.
  • UQ Gatton has its own Equestrian Club and Netball Club.
  • You can also join one of the 220+ clubs and societies at UQ that cover a wide range of hobbies and special interests from astronomy to chess, from video games to language exchange.

If you’ve chosen to live at a residential college, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet new people. You’ll see your neighbours in the hallways, dining halls and classes, so it’s easy to get to know them. Colleges also host dinners, movie nights, networking events and social outings, so you’ll have plenty of time to create new friendships.

Planning your accommodation and putting some thought into ways to meet people and make friends will ensure you feel like you’re settled in and at home in no time.

Still not sure what accommodation is right for you? Our accommodation team can help you. 

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