So you’ve decided to study abroad and you’ve even selected the ideal program, but there’s one glaring issue: where will you live?
Most study abroad programs offer a variety of different housing options, though it depends on the college or university you’ve selected. Make sure to check with the international office or the admissions office so you know all your choices.
The three most common college housing options are on-campus, off-campus and host family. There are a few things to consider before making your selection.
What are your living habits?
Are you someone who constantly needs to be surrounded by people or do you seriously need some alone time? Are you eager to get away from your parents and family life or do you like that sense of home?
If you like having company, then you might want to consider on-campus or host family living, as this usually ensures you’ll have someone to talk to. If you need your space, dorm life might be a bit uncomfortable (especially if you’re studying abroad in your third or fourth year). In that case, you might want to consider finding housing off-campus.
What does your social life look like?
If you’re a social butterfly who’s constantly out and about, on-campus living makes it easy to connect with friends. Also, if you find that you’re somewhat shy, living in the dorms might be a great option. You’ll have an easier time meeting people than you would studying abroad and living off campus.
If you’re more of a homebody who enjoys a family dinner, then a host family might be the right fit. This is a great way to really immerse yourself in the culture.
But remember, when living with a family you’ll need to respect their quiet hours and routine. If you like to party till the wee hours and can get a little loud, this might not be the college housing for you.
How are your cooking skills?
This may seem silly, but if you can’t cook to save your life, you may face some serious challenges living off-campus. On-campus or dorm housing usually includes a meal plan, which is the perfect solution for anyone who either can’t cook or just doesn’t want to be bothered.
What are your study habits?
Do you like to sit in the common room with your roommates and chat while you work or do you tend to camp out in the library for days on end? Although studying abroad is about meeting new people and experiencing another culture, your academics are still important and you want to make sure you’ll have easy access to everything you need.
What’s the transportation situation?
Make sure you check out what the local transportation is before selecting your college housing. Are there buses that go on and off campus? Is there a shuttle service or bike path? It’s important to make sure you feel comfortable and safe while studying abroad, whatever your living situation.
Study abroad housing: It’s decision time.
Now that you’ve considered all of the above, you’re ready to make your final decision. No matter what studying abroad housing option you choose, just remember to relax, have some fun, and be yourself. After all, for the next semester or even year, it’s going to be your home away from home.