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Types of Housing

On-Campus vs Off-Campus

Advantages - The biggest advantage of living in on-campus housing is the accessibility to the schoolfs on-campus facilities and activities. For example, a student living on-campus can easily walk to and make use of classroom buildings, computer labs, libraries, sports facilities, student centers, and cafeterias at their own convenience. Additionally, students who live on-campus are directly exposed to many different social activities through constant interaction with other students.

Disadvantages - The disadvantage of living in on-campus housing is a comparatively less amount of privacy. Although each school's facilities are different, some students living on-campus may find themselves sharing a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with one or more roommates. In this intimately shared living environment, it may be difficult to find private time for oneself or to entertain guests. Students with families may find this housing option to be especially inconvenient.

Advantages - The biggest advantages of living in off-campus housing are the independence and opportunities for cultural exploration. Living away from campus allows students to separate themselves from the academic environment and directly participate in the host country's culture and society. For example, students living on a homestay will have more direct exposure into the host country's culture through daily interaction with the host family. Students living in other types of off-campus housing will also have opportunities for independent cultural exploration, without the guidance of a host family.

Disadvantages - Although the off-campus housing facilities for each school are different, the possible disadvantages of off-campus living are a lack of constant interaction with fellow students, lengthy commuting distance to school, and comparatively higher expenses.

Homestay / Host Family

What is a Homestay?
This is the most popular housing option of students living abroad. On a homestay, you will have the opportunity to experience life with a native family and experience first-hand the culture of the country where you are studying.

Depending on the location and availability of your school, home stay families provide international students with either a private or a shared bedroom with another family member. Most host families accept one international student at a time while others accept more. The members of your host family will vary in ages. There are some families with children, some without, and others with elderly members. Different host families also differ in religious background.

Benefits of a Homestay
Living together with a family native to your host country is the epitome of the study abroad experience. You will have the opportunity to actively participate in your host country's everyday lifestyle as a family member.

Through the homestay experience you can build a trusting relationship with your host family, who are equally as excited to communicate and learn with you as you are with them. Through daily interaction you will be able to practice what you have learned at school and further improve your English abilities. Homestay families will also teach you about the culture of your host country, which is invaluable in making the most out of your study abroad experience.

What is Life with a Host Family?
Homestay families are usually selected after careful consideration by the school. They are friendly and welcoming of international students. Many host families have a member that had a good homestay experience abroad when they were younger and wish to return the courtesy. Host families are excited to learn about another culture and put forth great efforts to provide an environment that is comfortable for the student.

Living together with a host family includes the same type of responsibilities that are found in any respectful relationship. You may ask your family for assistance just as they may ask of you. Students usually find this exchange to be very beneficial. The homestay is often the start of a relationship that will continue even after the student has moved out. The host family will willingly assist you in making your study abroad experience a memorable one.

Changing your Homestay Family
Schools select the homestay families very carefully so that students will have positive experiences. However, if you wish to change your family it is definitely possible. Arrangements can be made by informing your school's housing counselor. Some students wish to live on their own in a private apartment after first living with a homestay family and successfully adjusting to the new surroundings.

Dormitory / Residence Hall

Dormitories are large housing facilities that are owned by schools and are specifically for student use. Most ESL schools located on university campuses as well as some of the larger private institutions make this type of housing available to students.
Dormitories, also called "dorms", are a popular housing option because they are comparatively inexpensive and are located very near the school, if not directly on campus. Students living in dormitories can either have a private room (called a "single") or a room shared with other students ("double" for two people, "triple" for three).
Usually there are common facilities such as laundry machines, television lounges, and internet accessible computers located in dormitories that can be used by all students who reside there. There are also dormitories that have cafeterias where students can eat together. Other dormitories provide kitchen areas that students can use to cook and prepare meals.
Some schools have more than one dormitory available where each one has slightly different characteristics. For this reason it would be better to inquire about the specifics of each available dormitory before making the decision of in which one to live.

Apartment / Residence

Students living in apartments have a great deal of freedom as well as responsibility in deciding their own personal lifestyle. Some apartments are for one person while others can be shared by many.

"Residence" is a housing facility arranged by schools. You can either have a private room or a room shared with other students. Some provides meals and some do not.

Since it takes time to adjust to a new apartment, this type of living is more appropriate for students who will be living there for an extended period of time. Compared to the two other housing options, living in an apartment or a residence is the most expensive, making it necessary to know your personal finances. Creating a budget is a good idea. Although some apartments are furnished, some apartments are completely empty when you move in. In this case, you will have to pay for furniture, in addition to telephone installation, gas, electricity, and your own food.