Finding accommodation in NSW can be a challenge even for locals, but there are plenty of options available for overseas students.
In terms of accommodation costs, Sydney is one of the world's most expensive cities to live in, with many Sydneysiders devoting a third to half their income to rent or mortgage repayments.
Fortunately, there are lower-cost options available for students, especially on the fringes of or outside Sydney. Many TAFEs, especially the larger campuses such as TAFE NSW, have experience sourcing safe, convenient and reasonably priced accommodation for foreign students, so don't hesitate to find out if this service is offered when enrolling in a course.
Many international students choose to stay in a hostel for a short period after arriving in Australia. While some students live in a hostel for the duration for their stay, they're more targeted towards backpackers and others needing short-term lodgings. You can book a bed or room in a NSW hostel for $40 to $150 a night online at YHA or Hostels.com.
If you're not keen on sharing a dormitory and are willing to spend $150 or more a night, you can also book a short-stay apartment or hotel room at Getaroom.com.au or Wotif.
If you want to practise your English and learn about Australian culture, you can opt for homestay accommodation, which involves moving in with an Australian family. Your host family will provide you with a single furnished bedroom, somewhere quiet to study, three meals a day and the opportunity, if you wish, to participate in the family's activities. Homestay costs $110 to $270 a week, plus a deposit equivalent to four week's rent. For more information go to Homestay Network.
While there are a range of other accommodation options such as staying in a motel, caravan park or bed and breakfast, most overseas students in Australia move into some form of share housing, which involves two or more people living in a flat or house and splitting the rent, bond and utility costs.
The cost of share housing varies depending on the nature of the property, where it's located and how many people are living there. However, as a general guide, you can expect to pay between $70 and $250 a week. You can find ads for shared housing at Gumtree, Domain and Flatmates.com.au.