Foreign students face many difficulties when deciding to get higher education in the States. After the initial sequence with universities and applications, it is time to start looking for accommodation. The task may seem easy at first, but there are many details to the issue to ponder about.
Without further ado, let’s look at what students have to sort out.
First of all, a student coming to study in the USA has to conduct proper research on the accommodation offers and look through everything available. There are several different ways to settle down in the country during studies.
The first type of accommodation is offered by a university itself. These are the regular dormitories that are present at any educational institution. This is the easiest and one of the cheapest types of student housing in the U.S. During your correspondence with the university, you can apply for a room in a dormitory and be sure to get settled as international students are usually the top priority.
Dormitories have a number of benefits that any student appreciates. One of them is the proximity to all classes. Basically, you are always on campus and don’t have to rush through city traffic not to be late for classes. Also, freshmen get to meet new people and learn more about college life, subjects, and professors. This is a great socializing “tool.” However, there is a certain downside to these cheap university apartments and rooms that comes from the same communal nature. You cannot have time when you are alone and everything is constantly buzzing around you. If you are the one who loves solitude and peace, dormitories are not the best option.
Another option that foreign students choose is private housing. Of course, in most cases, renting an apartment house alone is too expensive, so, a roommate is necessary. Usually, people pair with their friends, get acquainted online and share the rent and living space. This option is full of possibilities that are limited only by a student’s budget.
In most cases, you can ask a university for a liaison officer who will help you to choose the right accommodation options. At least, they will be able to tell what neighborhoods are the most suitable and which ones are too criminal for a young freshman.
There is an option of hosting families that is especially popular in exchange programs. Some families agree to host a foreign student, sometimes for free, sometimes for payment. You only need a proper housing application. This is a good option for the inexperienced youth who will have adults nearby in case they need help. Besides, living with an American family makes you a part of it and you see how the real life in the country look like. It shows a student the real culture of the U.S. and the peculiarities of its citizens. A guest will not be lonely missing their home as the family will always be there to help. Such accommodation gives a student a new family.
It is easy to get lost in the variety of housing options, especially when looking off campus. Dormitories are easier to understand as they are practically the same and a university doesn’t have many options to offer. Stepping a foot into the city is a bit different. A foreign student always should consult with the locals on where it is best to look for and live.
So, here are a few details that every student should keep in mind.
Ask for help! Don’t shy ways from a university’s officials who want to help you or other people generous enough to share their knowledge with you. Comparing the advice of several locals is even better as you get a full look at the picture and will not be influenced by somebody’s prejudice. Reading all available information online is useful background research, but you will never find all the details there.
Carefully read leases for any details that may be uncomfortable or strange for you. Even if a landlord does not warn a student about certain aspects and rules, they should know them anyway as they are written down in the contract. Usually, leases on all those apartments for rent are made for 1 year and require a new contract after that.
The main pay is always just for a flat. All utilities are considered extra and have to be covered by students additionally. Some fancier apartment complexes have a few other service fees that are not covered by the standard payment.
Be picky and set priorities. Consider your finances and stick to them instead of certain commodities you wish to have. Choose what is most necessary and what can be changed later.
Student apartments with furniture are always preferable, especially for foreigners who have no need to buy extra stuff for a flat without an opportunity to take it back home.
Try to choose an ideal balance between price and comfort. Don’t look for something too far away from campus as the saved money will be spent on the commute and your time anyway.
When you go to a foreign country with a friend or already know somebody there, finding a roommate is easier than ever. However, students who come without any kind of backup have to be sure in the people they are going to live with just as much as the student housing company they are dealing with. There are bad and annoying people everywhere and it is easy to stumble upon them when looking for a roommate. Do not agree to share a flat with those people whom you do not know well enough, who seem to be shady, or simply have an awful character. Meet a few times and spend some time to get to know each other.
Then, together, look for a place near campus where most students are settled. When you are already enrolled, you have little chance of choosing, except for a neighborhood. However, some students think about accommodation way early and base their choice of an establishment on accommodation offers.
So, these are a few locations claimed to be the best homes for students to live in: Berkeley, Baltimore, Houston, Washington D.C.