Moving to another country and living on your own is a big step for every international student. Choosing suitable accommodation for yourself will make your student life much more comfortable and enjoyable. So, how to pick a new home for yourself when you have decided to study in Graz, Austria?
Types of student accomodation
Graz really is a student city, so finding accommodation will not be a problem. But first you should ask yourself how would you like to live? Most of the students in Graz choose one of three options: student dormitories, shared apartments (WGs) or single apartments. It is up to you what you prefer; there is something for every taste.
Dorms in Graz
Dorms in Graz are mostly nice and well equipped, so you will not need to worry about getting furniture or a bed. Meeting other students will be easy as will finding someone to advise you about your studies and living in Graz. There is also less paperwork, and in contrast to other accommodation options, everything is usually already included in the price. All you need to do is file the papers – but be careful about deadlines.
Students must register for student dormitories one semester before they begin to study at university. Pay attention to the deadlines.
WGs are shared apartments. You will share a bigger flat with usually two to three roommates. Typically, each tenant has their own room. If you are going to move in with other people, chances are they already went through the legal procedures so they will be able to help you. Be aware that you will be sharing the apartment with others so you will need to make some compromises. Rooms inWGs are not always furnished, but if they are, you will often have to pay for the furniture you inherit. It is important to note that there are different types of contracts (tenancy or rental agreements). Also, try to meet your potential roommates before moving in.
It is important to note that there are different types of contracts. So read your contract carefully.
An apartment is the best choice if you want to live on your own. I believe they are best suited to students that are finishing their studies and need more peace and for couples that seek more privacy. This comes at a price since apartments are more expensive than the options mentioned earlier. The process of getting an apartment is also very stressful. You will need to do everything on your own. Inform yourself about the terms and conditions along with all the costs from your landlord. Keep in mind you will need to purchase various equipment or furniture from the previous tenant or get your own.
My advice for your first student accommodation is to go for a student dormitory or a shared apartment. I believe that as an international student you are probably also looking forward to meeting new people, so a dormitory or a shared apartment are a great way of getting to know other students. This way you will not be alone when resolving all the legal matters, and you will always have an option of asking someone for advice, since there is a good chance one of your potential roommates already went through the same procedure.
My first student accommodation in Graz was a shared apartment as well, and I am grateful to my roommates who helped me navigate through my first months in Graz. (Veronika Novak)
Find accomodation in Graz
Now that you know what your options are, it is time to find proper accommodation for yourself. I would suggest that you start looking as soon as possible, so you can compare different offers, see what works for you and what does not. Have a look for yourself, ask questions, compare prices.
You can check out the leaflet "Accommodation in Graz" on the TU Graz website "Accomodation". I would also suggest you looking at "HTU Graz campusboard". There are a lot of other sites where you can find student accommodation in Graz; here is a list which might be helpful:
- Dormitories: Studiversum, OeaD student housing
- Shared Apartments and Apartments: WG-gesucht, on Facebook (Wohnungen in Graz – ohne Markler, Wohnungen Graz – provisionsfrei, etc.)
Prices for student’s rooms are usually between 150 and 400 euros. If you decide to live on your own, the rent will of course be higher. You should also note that sometimes apartment ads list only “cold rent”, which does not include operating costs, heating or electricity. No matter which accommodation you choose, you will have to pay a deposit for your room or apartment which is normally the equivalent of 3 months rent.
What to consider before choosing your accomodation
Now I would like you to imagine your everyday life in Graz. What is important to you? Would you like to live near the University? Maybe it is a good idea to have a bus or tram station near you, some grocery shops possibly or something uniquely relevant to you? Also, how much are you prepared to pay for accommodation?
Make a list, consider all the factors that are important to you and then make a choice. This will help you to make a better decision. (Veronika Novak)
After you have found your accommodation and signed the contract, you need to register your residence at the relevant registry office within three days after moving into your accommodation in Austria. For more detailed information about registration, download the leaflet “Registration with the City of Graz – Meldezettel” published by the Welcome Center of TU Graz. If you are from the EU or Switzerland and plan to stay in Austria for more than three months, you are required to get a registration certificate.
The Welcome Center of TU Graz supports international degree-seeking students in matters of visa, entry and residence permits accommodation and furthermore organises networking and integration events.
Matters to be expecially careful of
Before signing a tenancy agreement, you should carefully inspect all the terms and conditions listed in the contract. Be especially careful of the minimum required duration of stay, which is usually one year, and the cancellation period, which is usually three months. If you decide to rent an apartment through a real estate agency, you will most likely have to pay commission (Provision in German) to the agent. If you meet certain conditions, you can apply for housing benefit from the Province of Styria. Keep in mind that you should not pay any commission, deposit, or advance payment before you have signed the tenancy agreement.
I sincerely hope that this blogpost will answer all your questions related to finding your first accommodation, and if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I am looking forward to you becoming a part of our international community in Graz.