Studying abroad was already challenging enough, but the pandemic has made things even tougher for international students. Many countries are yet to open their borders, and others have travel restrictions in place. Universities are running on hybrid models, and it means that you will need to switch between online and on-campus more often than you can imagine. As if things aren’t complex enough, the next big question relates to finding a safe accommodation when you eventually reach your dream destination.

It will happen sooner or later, so it makes sense to have a plan of action in place because you will not want to compromise with safety, whether you choose on-campus accommodation or rent one nearby. Fortunately, university dorms and property firms are doing their bit to attract international student rental opportunities and make up for the loss of income during the last academic year. But you have to take the right measure to stay a step ahead of personal safety. Here are a few things you must know about the new normal in international student accommodation before going ahead.


Student housing witnessed a massive dip during the last year, and the only way to recovery is by winning back the trust of potential occupants. Since the pandemic will be around for the foreseeable future, universities and student housing providers can consider housing design alterations for curbing the spread of the virus. These include having easy-to-sanitise surfaces in high-traffic spaces such as communal kitchens, common dining halls, and shared bathrooms. More stringent health protocols are likely to be in place, wherever you choose to stay. You may have to wear protective masks and shields in common areas, while crowding will be prohibited.


You can expect to see more technology in housing premises to improve safety for the residents. Dorms and student accommodations can invest in infrared body temperature sensors for contactless temperature checks for anyone who enters the facility. Placing them in main doorways and entrances is a good idea as they can alert the staff right away when someone is sick. Smart hand sanitisers near high-traffic zones are another essential investment. Residents can be asked to download an app that monitors their health metrics in real-time to ensure that any problem is detected at the earliest.


Sharing rooms is a part of the dorm experience, and you may actually save up a lot of money by doing it in private accommodations. While it is something international students have always done happily, shared rooms should be off your checklist as long as the pandemic is around. To protect returning students and rental opportunities, owners may consider phasing out the shared rooms and provide more single occupancy options. Parents will prefer to send their children to private housing alternative rather than university dorms.


Uncertainty is the biggest challenge that international students face today. There is no assurance about the timelines for universities opening up and how long they will continue to operate online, considering the emergence of new strains and repeated resurgences. Look for flexibility as you book accommodations because you may have to cancel or postpone at any point. Further, long-term rental contracts aren’t the best alternative because you can never be too sure about staying for the long term. Flexibility also extends to property showing, as owners and managers will need to invest in virtual solutions to showcase the accommodations and drive online bookings.

Universities and private housing providers can go the extra mile by having a protocol to support the students if they do get infected during their stay. It must include quarantine facilities, medical assistance, and guidance till they recover. Meanwhile, they must ensure the safety of all others housed inside the same building. It is vital for students to verify all these facts while booking accommodations abroad, while dorms and housing owners should step up with their safety initiatives to welcome the students back.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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