Cultural Differences To Consider When Designing Student Accommodation

The UK carries a lot of weight in the global student market. Thanks to our quality of life, educational facilities and largely metropolitan outlook, there’s every reason to see why 19% of the British higher education system consists of international students.

What impact does this have on accommodation providers, both at a typical housing and a large-scale Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) level? We share some things in common, but it may be wrong to assume that every student, regardless of their nationality, wants the same treatment.

Student-Furniture have considered what the most reasonable changes might be, as evidenced by the Annual Trend Report 2018 from The Class of 2020…

Spanish and Italian students prefer home comforts

According to The Class of 2020’s findings – which polled 4,000 students from around the world – 56% of Spanish respondents, and 55% of Italians, said they lived at home. Each of these stats was a marked jump from the other nationalities surveyed.

We may therefore infer that a safe, homely environment is higher on the agenda for Spanish and Italian students who do come to live in Great Britain. Cultural décor that mimics the style of their home country in its paintings, wallpaper, furnishing design and colour choices has a better chance at appealing to residents from mainland Europe.

WiFi also needs to be fast and reliable, since online video calls are a vital link to family members. 86% of Spanish students said it was the most important amenity they could ask for.

British students want social spaces

It may come as little surprise that UK students like to drink, party and play sports. They are already used to the British way of life; accommodation must therefore be near to bars, nightclubs, travel links and the perks of urban existence.

Social spaces are what UK students desire most of all. By contemplating an open floor plan, with some shared entertainment or study centres on-site, developers, operators and landlords will meet these requirements.

Americans seek value for money

46% of Americans, on the other hand, cited financial issues as their leading factor in deciding where to pick for study. Accommodation providers should bear this in mind during the fit-out stage and choose furnishing partners – like Student-Furniture – that specialise in delivering high-quality, low-cost, on-trend solutions, on any scale.

Chinese students like convenience

In contrast to Americans, Chinese students – the fastest-growing international subset – were amongst those least bothered by money. They are more inclined to take a premier accommodation offer; luxury accommodation providers stand to benefit from targeting this demographic first.

91% of Chinese respondents also claimed they visit their student bar every week. It’s the opposite preference to British and European students, who like to venture further for their social activities. By building a bar, café or eating facility within the accommodation structure itself, PBSA projects can meet Chinese students’ demand for appealing areas to hang out in that are a short walk away from their flat.

There are several things you can do to make an international student feel at home. Partnering with Student-Furniture is one of them – we supply and install stylish, cost-effective furniture packages in line with your construction/refit strategy. See our catalogue for inspiration, or arrange a chat with a member of our team, to help you find a winning combination.


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