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How To Choose Student Housing

Updated on January 23, 2010

Type of Student Housing

For some International Students finding a place to stay during the new semester or their new year in college is the most important thing. Many Asian students will go to USA, Europe, Australia, and other Asian countries to start their new class this year, so here are some of student housing that you may consider :

1. Dormitory

Most of International Universities have their own student dormitory. This is the most simple place to find if you'd like to study abroad. The dormitory's place inside the college teritory and it will cut the transportation cost a lot. You may pay the dormitory's bill weekly with a single bathroom, share bathroom, or outside. There some dormitory that supply the meal for students but some allow the students to cook their own meal, or catering. They have many different facility but usually there are free internet connection, laundry mat, phone booths, and fans.
To save the cost, you have to find cheap college students essentials like basic school supplies, bedding, or mini refrigerator to store your food. Search them in some garage sale that used to hold in summer garage sale or go to bargain market. You may search for things in craiglist, eBay or some "used stuff" sites from internet. Don't waste money to search for expensive things because you only live there for about 4 to 5 years to study.

If you like to cook in your dormitory please keep safety first. Try to cook simple and easy meal and keep the dormitory room clean because you have to share it with your roomate that usually from other country too. Avoid cook some exotic meals like one of Indonesian food "ikan asin" or fermented fish or fermented anchovy.

2. House rental, apartment, or flat

There are three type of apartment or flat or house for rent :
a. Fully furnished
b. Partly furnished
c. Unfurnished

You may choose share accomodation too, it's the most common way to get the place to stay. You will share with 2 or 3 friends and more. Or rent a trailer. Trailer is much more cheaper than apartments or flats.
The most important thing for student if you'd like to choose apartment or flat is the accredited landlords. This type of landlord offers you a lot more security than those who are not. Especially in terms about deposits, if you'd just in case like to get your deposits back at the end of the tenancy. Some of International students might experience difficulty to get their deposits back in some circumstances, therefore choose the accredited landlord is important.
You may contact your local council in the area for advice about the accreditation. 

Pros and cons living in apartment or flat for students :
There are many reasons to choose living in a dorm and many other reasons to choose an apartment. Cost, convenience and social aspects of living should all be considered; the ultimate decision rests should depend on each student's own preferences.

If you choose apartment, you may find many hidden costs like electricity, water, trash, phone bills and many more.  Apartment that located near the college is used to be more expensive, but if you choose the apartment located a few miles away, you have to consider the transportation costs and the driving time or transportation time. Stay in dorm is definitely save cost for transportation but the dorm's meal usually more expensive.
Dorm life can be a great experience, a money-saver and a time-saver, but apartments off campus have greater privacy and independence. Weigh pros and cons before deciding.

3. Homestay

Homestay could be mean as living together with foreign family in their house and it could be an advantage for international students. You may learn about local culture and languange in a very fast way. You may interact with local family and learn how to live in the country. There are many kinds of homestay, there is one which provide just a room and the other called fullboard, it means beside room, you may have meals. You could choose single room for yourself or share with others.
You will experience stay with local family, try local family food that usually more hygiene and healthy, and a comfortable living area. But you have to consider about privacy, you definitely have to share with your "family" especially about the phone and internet connection and obey their rules. 

4. Farmstay

It's not so familiar though for international students but you may try it. You will live in a farm area and the cost is almost the same with homestay. But you won't find it in every state in USA. If you're a farm lover and your college is near the area, you may choose this type of housing. It's fun and refreshing.

Choose a Student Housing

The decision to take a place to stay during your study is depend on the college is placed. If you choose to study in USA, the living cost is depend on the city you live. If you stay in LA, New York or Boston the costs are much higher than in Texas or Oregon for instance. For transportation if you are not stay in dormitory, choose subway or bicycle. Range costs USD 600 to 1,000 per month.

Europe, as far as I know, living cost in Europe is the highest. But it depend on which country  you live and how to manage your own finance. In UK for instance, living cost vary from GBP 350 to GBP 650 per month. You may save the costs with cook for yourself. In Germany, the living cost vary from EUR 250 to EUR 390 and may be more.

Switzerland has the most highest living cost, some of their food products are 40% higher than other countries. Just for meal costs you may need about CHF 900 per month or about USD 630 per month (not include transportation and accommodation costs)

The most important thing if you choose student housing is the safety. You have to avoid dangerous situations. For instance, if you have to travel, please do not travel alone, specially in a new country, travel in groups are more safe. Choose the routes to classes or dormitories that are well traveled and well lit. Make sure that public transportation you've taken is used at night time.
Avoid friends with drug and make sure to pair up with a trusted fellow. Carrying a self protective device is okay I think, specially for girls.

You have to always aware with your new surroundings. Do not wear to much jewelries or bring much money. You may ask your friend that already go to the college abroad and happy studying.


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    • profile image

      kathryn bell 6 years ago

      i prefer dormitories but it would not hurt to have a rental apartment with great system with regards to utilities' billing. not much more of a hassle. thanks for this article though. very useful. ;))

    • profile image

      kathryn bell 6 years ago

      i prefer dormitories but it would not hurt to have a rental apartment with great system with regards to utilities' billing. not much more of a hassle. thanks for this article though. very useful. ;))

    • profile image

      End of Tenancy Cleaning London 7 years ago

      I think that the best way is apartment rental. It's helpful for the student to learn how to handle by himself.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Carl, thank you for visiting!

    • profile image

      Carl Madison 7 years ago

      I prefer a furnished flat or apartment with a private bathroom. Especially if it's anything longer than a month.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      hello,hello thank you, I hope this may help International students who'd like to study abroad :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A very informative and thank you for your help.