Where am I going to stay there? Here are a few keys to make your first steps in France easier.

In the case your host institution has not provided you any accomodation, it can be useful to find a temporary accomodation (friends, hostel, host family) upon arrival for a few days, as it is easier to figure where you want to live when you are already arrived.

Before beginning your housing search, it is important to decide on the type of housing you’re looking for. Your financial resources, the length of your stay and the nature of your programme should shape your decision.

The cost of housing varies widely, but international students, like French students, are eligible for housing assistance. If possible make housing arrangements before leaving for France. You may be able to secure a room in a university residence managed by CROUS or the international office of your home institution, the regional student-service agency, or contact an institution that maintains its own student residences.

Searching for housing from outside the country can be difficult, as you won't be able to visit properties and make informed decisions. It may also be difficult to persuade a property owner to let you sign a rental contract or convince him or her that you have someone who will guarantee payment of your rent. For these reasons, many international students choose to find temporary housing for their first few weeks in France. They use that time to look for a more permanent arrangement.
You could also get help from Malaysian students (through the association of Malaysian students in France for example), who are already settled in France and who could provide tips on how to search for housing.

Accommodation expenses in towns, especially for private lodgings, vary from €200 to €750 per month. In university halls of residence, the expenses range from €150 to €350 per month.

Housing allowance
In France, students of all nationalities may apply for government housing allowance. France is the only country in Europe to offer this benefit.  Just like French students, international students are eligible to apply for housing assistance under a system set up to deal with the relatively high cost of housing in France. Allowance amounts are computed case by case, based on the rental amount and the student's resources. The benefit is not automatic or assured.

If you intend to apply for student housing allowance, make sure you meet the following conditions:
·    you have already found lodgings and can provide your address and the amount of your rent
·    you are enrolled in the mandatory student health insurance plan
·    you have a bank account in France, as housing allowance is deposited directly into beneficiaries' bank accounts.
If you are sharing a house or apartment with a group of students, all members of the group may apply for assistance, provided their names appear on the rental contract (lease). Each student must apply individually. Married couples only submit one application.

Applications for housing allowance must be submitted through the website of the Caisses d'Allocations Familiales (CAF) family assistance fund within three months of moving into your lodgings.

University residences
University residences in France are managed by regional student service agencies, known as CROUS. The residences may be located on campus or in town. Spaces are made available according to stringent social criteria. CROUS residences are the most affordable form of student housing. Monthly rent varies from €120 for a single room to €350 for a studio apartment. Most of the spaces allocated for international students are reserved for recipients of French government grants.
Many universities have agreements with CROUS to reserve rooms for international students participating in exchange programmes, often under the umbrella of foreign assistance. Some institutions also reserve rooms for international students enrolled in the second year of a Master's programme or in a doctoral programme. If you fall into any of those categories, you should ask your institution or the organisation that manages your grant whether reserved housing is available.
Although it isn’t easy to find a place in a CROUS building, you may still wish to submit a request once you arrive as places do open up in the course of the year.

Basic facts about university housing
Monthly rent: €150 to €350 (depending on the accommodation)
Security deposit: One month
Co-signer/guarantor    : The guarantor can be the university
Temporary/short-term housing: Not available. Rental contracts extend over nine months (for a room) or 12 months (for a studio), except during the summer.
Pre-arrival rentals: Not available.

Other student residences
The Grandes Ecoles and some private institutions maintain their own on-campus student residences. These institutions make an effort to reserve housing for the international students they admit. The rent is generally between €250 to €350 per month.
For full information, consult the institutions you are considering. Reserve your room as soon as you receive your offer of admission.
Private buildings designed for students are found in most university cities in France. Most are quite comfortable and offer a variety of amenities, such as a staffed front desk, room-to-room telephone services, common rooms, cafeterias, laundry facilities, maid services and garage spaces. Such buildings are generally located close to campus.

Basic facts about private student buildings
Monthly rent: €600 to €700 in Paris and €300 to €700 in other university cities
Security deposit: One month
Co-signer/guarantor: Students must have a guarantor living in France
Temporary/short-term housing: Sometimes available, but usually not between September and March.
Pre-arrival rentals: If you make your rental arrangements from abroad, you can expect to be asked to pay a security deposit equal to two month's rent.

For short-term lodging, living in the home of a host family is one of the best options. University residences managed by CROUS sometimes offer short-term room rentals during the summer. To find out, contact CROUS in the city where you intend to stay. Similarly, many private student buildings offer short-term rentals.