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Student accommodation in the post-pandemic era: viewpoints from Chinese international students

Young Chinese students comprise 40% of the international students across the world studying abroad. Unfortunately, in the current Covid affected world, these student’s lives have been altered by the global pandemic.

Photo: iStock

Some 81.7% of the North America-based Chinese students said they planned to return to school in the fall of 2021

In the light of this, we researched how Covid-19 has impacted the Chinese international students’ accommodation behaviour patterns.

In August 2021, we surveyed a total of 428 Chinese students studying abroad (both existing and new students). The study drew some interesting findings.

Undergraduates Outnumbered Graduate Students

One of the study’s interesting findings was the ratio between undergraduate and graduate students – 56.1% to 43.9%, respectively. Moreover, the figures were consistent across regions surveyed, demonstrating a trend of younger Chinese students opting for studies abroad.

Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

We found during the survey that because of Covid-19, 65% of Chinese students returned to China and only 32% of them were in their country of study.

Some 81.7% of the North America-based Chinese students said they planned to return to school in the fall of 2021. However, the figure drops to 12.7% with Chinese students from Australian schools, with 42.4% saying they were still unsure whether they’d be returning to campus due to tightened border rules in Australia.

Preferred types of Accommodation

The survey also revealed that apartments that combine general public and student occupancy were by far the most popular choice. Almost two-thirds (65%) of students surveyed called it their preferred accommodation choice. The single house was far less popular, with only 14% calling it a preferred option.

Finally, only 1% of respondents said that homestay was their preference.

What sources do students use to find out about housing?

Arguably, the survey’s most interesting aspect is the current sources that students use to find suitable accommodation.

“Most students ranked friends and peers as their primary source of housing information”

We asked the students to rank the sources they rely on to get information about housing. Most students ranked friends and peers as their primary source of housing information. While less influential than informal information from fellow students, specialised student accommodation booking platforms were ranked as the second most effective channel than local sources such as local web adverts. This suggests that student accommodation platforms have a prominent influence on students looking for accommodation.

What do students find important when looking for accommodation?

The topmost problem cited was misleading adverts that provided inaccurate facts about the property (76.81%). Other concerns included the potential for fraud and the lack of low-cost and convenient payment methods.

We also asked the students what aspects of student accommodation booking services are important to them. Students expressed that the most important factors for them while looking for accommodation were being supplied with ample and accurate information about housing options, simple and easy payment methods, as well as flexible cancellation policies and move-in dates.

To get insights about Chinese students’ accommodation trends, join us for an interactive webinar on August 24. Please visit here to register.

This is a sponsored post from Geoswift.

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