Accommodation for international students

Organising accommodation is one of the most important things to do before arriving in New Zealand.

Updated 5 April 2019

When to organise accommodation

It is best to organise accommodation before arriving in Christchurch so you know you have somewhere to stay when you get here.  The New Zealand Ready website provides useful information when preparing for your stay in New Zealand.

Halls of residence 

Ease your transition to New Zealand life by living in the Halls of residence.  Information on contract dates and fees are listed on individual hall pages.  Refer to UC IT Services for assistance with internet access.

Guaranteed Room Offer

An offer of accommodation is guaranteed for any single international student over 18 who applies for Ilam Student Accommodation for the 2023 Academic Year by 1 December 2022.  Applications are now open.  

Accommodation offer for study abroad or exchange students

If you are on an official Study Abroad or Exchange programme and planning to study at UC for one semester only, an offer of place is guaranteed at the self-catered Ilam Apartments providing your application is received by the due dates.  This is the easiest option as you can arrange your accommodation before you arrive and flat with Kiwi students on campus. Due to demand for 2023 accommodation, students may be offered Sonoda Christchurch Campus.

Accommodation offer for UC International College (UCIC) students

An accommodation package tailored specifiallly to UCIC semester dates is offered for students coming to study in February, June or October.  If you require accommodation outside these dates, for example, you have been living in a homestay, please be aware that accommodation will depend on availability and early applications are recommended.  This is the easiet option as you can arrange your accommodation before you arrive and live in a safe and supportive community on campus.

Accommodation for Postgraduate students

For postgraduate students arriving outside standard semester dates (February-June or July-November), UC offers a Postgraduate Flexi contract for a minimum stay of 16 weeks from your nominated start date.  A deposit is required to confirm your room with fortnightly payments thereafter.  Further information is available on our Postgraduate Students webpage.

Arriving in Christchurch

The UC campus is approximately 10 minutes' drive from Christchurch International Airport.  Options for transport to campus include the Purple Line BusNZ Look Shuttles, or Taxis and Shuttles

The halls of residence are located 2-15 minutes' walk away from campus facilities.  


Ensure your accommodation provider is expecting you.  Each hall of residence will have specific check-in times.  Temporary accommodation may be required depending on your flight arrival time.

Homestay and private board

Homestay and private board are popular choices with international, UCIC, and study abroad and exchange students when they first arrive in Christchurch. In a welcoming family environment, you will have your own room, meals with the family and the opportunity to practice your English every day.

Find out more about homestay and private board.

If you are under 18 when you start studying at UC, you are required to live in homestay accommodation, in a fully-catered hall of residence or with a designated caregiver until your 18th birthday. This is a requirement under the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 which came into effect on 1 January 2022.  Refer to our Pastoral Care webpage for further information.

Other accommodation options

If you are bringing your partner or family with you, or you are staying for less than a semester, then you will need to consider alternative options off campus, for example:

Please refer to our webpage for Couples and Families.

More information

Contact Accommodation Services/Te Ratonga Nohonga for more information and advice.