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Accommodation for studying in the USA

You know it from the American college films: the infamous student life in the USA. Even so, many international students still need information about where and how students actually live in the United States. Which are they common forms of living and are they with certain country-specific features connected? Which Advantages and disadvantages does each type of accommodation bring with it?

The following guidebook provides information on all aspects of accommodation for studying in the USA and is intended to help students prepare for their studies abroad or semester abroad in the USA.

United States dormitory accommodation

© Maylin W.

Living where others go on vacation: Many students are specifically looking for apartments with a pool and other amenities when studying in the USA.

One of the most popular forms of accommodation for studying in the US is college dorms. First-year students in particular prefer to be in Residence Halls and Dormitories respectively Dorms to live.

At some universities, it is mandatory that first-year or undergraduate students generally live on the campus. Masters students usually have a choice of whether to On- or Off-campus want to live.

Shared rooms in the USA

It is common in the student dormitories common, in so-called Shared rooms to live, i.e. to share the room with a second person.
Students usually do not know beforehand who they are living with in a room. Some colleges and universities in the United States are specifically trying to match international students with American students and to mix things up. This should lead to international students finding connection to the community more quickly and not staying among themselves.

At some universities there are so-called Roommate Matching Forms. With the help of questionnaires, the universities try to find out something about the interests and personality of the students and find suitable ones Roommates to find. At some universities and colleges it is also possible Wishes for Roommates submit. However, these cannot always be taken into account.

Types of college dorms in the US

There are a variety of student dormitories in the United States variants:

  • Mixed student dormitories: Here men and women live in the same dormitory. However, the general rule in US student dormitories is that only students of the same gender share a room.
  • Student residences separated by gender
  • Thematic oriented student residences: Some universities have thematic dormitories. For example, students live together who share academic interests or hobbies or who share the same mother tongue. There are more than 30 at the University of Minnesota Living learning communities. There are students living there with the same interests in certain areas of the Residence Halls together.

In addition, student dormitories in the USA can be distinguished in terms of their structure.

Hall style

In so-called Hall Style Dorms Often two students live in a double room. Sometimes there are also rooms for three or four people. Usually the rooms have neither a kitchen nor a bathroom. The Rooms border on a common hallway. There are one or more bathroomsshared by the students in the adjoining rooms.

Suite style

Also in Suite Style Dorms there are mostly double rooms. In addition, single, triple or quadruple rooms are available at many universities. In contrast to student dormitories according to "Hall style“Kind are those Spaces in Suite Style Dorms most of time attached to a common room. Often three or four rooms adjoin a larger room that serves as a common living room. Depending on the dormitory, either all students in a common room share a bathroom or each double room has a separate bathroom.

Apartments as accommodation for studying in the USA

© Stefan W.

Privately run apartment complexes such as the CSUF University Village are among the most popular accommodation options for studying in the USA.

More and more universities and colleges are offering apartments as an alternative to student dormitories as accommodation for studying in the USA. You are on the university campus or near the campus and are common with shared kitchen and bathroom equipped and therefore designed for self-sufficiency. Since there are often less strict rules in the apartments than in the student residence and the students have more privacy, the demand is often very high.

In addition, more and more universities in the US are starting to address students privately run apartments to convey. Private operators rent and manage the apartments on behalf of the university.

It is often in these apartment complexes possible to live for a shorter period of timewhich can be particularly attractive for international students. At the CSU Fullerton, for example, there is the privately operated University Village, which borders directly on the university campus. International students can, for example, find accommodation there during their semester abroad at the CSUF.

Important: In the US there is no uniform rule with regard to the furnishing of apartments. Some apartments are furnished and equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. Other apartments are unfurnished and are combined with Meal plans for the Dining halls offered by the university. International students should therefore find out in advance exactly which conditions apply to the respective apartments. Student counseling centers such as College Contact support you in finding suitable accommodation.

Further housing options on campus

Some colleges in the US also offer special accommodation options for married students orStudents with children. For example, there is that at UC Riverside Family student housing. These are 2- to 3-room apartments on campus that are rented to families on a monthly basis.

US student dormitory costs

At first glance, the costs for a room in the dormitory appear to be quite high compared to other forms of living. Fall on average US $ 900 - 1100 in rental costs per month in addition to tuition fees in the US. However, it is hardly possible to make any statements about the actual rental costs. They depend, among other things, on the university, the location of the dormitory and the room category.

Dormitory living in the US is usually at one Meal plan bound that often already included in the rental costs is. It enables students to be in the Dining halls of the university to eat free of charge or to use the other catering offers on campus - sometimes as often as required, sometimes a certain number of meals per week are served by the Meal plan covered.

Also, students must be in the dormitory usually no additional costs pay, for example for electricity, gas and water consumption. The costs of using the Internet are also mostly included in the price. The bottom line is that the cost of living in a student residence in the US can be even lower than that of other types of housing.

Advantages and disadvantages of student dormitories as accommodation while studying in the USA

© Cal State LA

In a student residence hall in the USA, international students can quickly find a connection and experience typical US campus life up close.

Experience campus life in the USA once and the incomparable Community spirit at an American university - for many international students this is one of the most important reasons for studying in the USA. The best way to do that Get to know all facets of campus life, offers dormitory accommodation.

In addition, living in a student dormitory has other advantages. There are also some arguments in favor of other forms of housing and thus against a student residence as accommodation for studying in the USA.

Greater planning security, as accommodation can be organized before starting your studiesLess privacy than in a shared apartment or your own apartment
Faster establishment of social contacts and thus easier entryHigh demand requires early application
Good equipment: Most of the dormitories not only offer washing machines and dryers, but also in-house leisure rooms such as billiard rooms and fitness studios or computer rooms.Lots of rules of conduct and regulations: In the United States, it is not allowed to consume alcohol on campus. In general, the legal ban on alcohol applies up to the age of 21.
Best possible use of the services offered by the universitiesRelatively high rental costs
More flexibility in spending free time, as students are "right in the middle of the action"Often no short-term rental contracts possible (less than one academic year)
Often resident assistants as permanent contact persons for the residents of the student residenceSometimes rooms are not rented out during the semester break
Usually no self-sufficiency is necessary due to a meal plan
Mostly fully furnished rooms so that there are no costs for furniture
High security, as many universities in the USA have an extra security service for the dormitories

Accommodation in an apartment or shared flat in the USA

While student dormitories are widespread in the US, there are too Universities without their own dormitories. In addition, some students prefer to live alone because they are so independent.

Private apartments be in the US often rented unfurnished. Purchasing furniture is usually not worthwhile, especially for semester stays, due to the manageable period of time. Therefore, many international students are looking for a room in a shared apartment. In addition, only a few landlords are willing to rent apartments for shorter rental periods (Short term) for rent. Typically, leases in the US are for one year.

For a Bachelor's, Master's or MBA degree in the USA, on the other hand, it can be worthwhile to move into an apartment. Small apartments can be found in the USA under the keywords Studios, Bachelor Apartments or Efficiency (Apartments). It is usually 1-room apartments with bathroom, in which the living, sleeping and cooking areas are in one room. Studios are often slightly larger than Efficiency Apartments and some have a separate kitchen.

Possible contact points when looking for accommodation in the USA

© Christian L.

In a shared flat in the USA, students enjoy more privacy and are more independent than in a student residence.

If you are looking for an apartment or flat share in the USA on your own, it can be more difficult at the beginning of your studies. Many students start that Finding accommodation only on site and start looking for a place to stay in a hotel, hostel or guesthouse in the USA. On internet portals like Airbnb can be researched from home for accommodation for the transition. There, local hosts offer individual rooms or apartments for a limited period of time.

Many colleges and universities in the US are helping international students find private accommodation to study in the US. Some universities provide students Lists of available apartments near the campus to disposal. Others post current apartment offers and advertisements for vacant rooms in a shared apartment on the notice board.

In addition, many students use the free internet platform when looking for accommodation in the USA craigslist.com back. Here students not only find vacant apartments and rooms in shared flats, but can also purchase furniture and used cars. In addition, helpful ones can often be found Tips in the numerous field reports on studying in the USA published by former exchange students for College Contact.

Basically, it is advisable to look at apartments or rooms in shared accommodation in the USA and to sign the rental agreement only on site. Under no circumstances should students agree to transfer deposit payments or the first month's rent in advance. Also should Read rental agreements carefully become. Some universities offer support.

Flat share and apartment costs in the US

When it comes to rents in the US, there are big differences from state to state and even within individual cities.

While the average rental cost for a studio in Minneapolis is around US $ 750, tenants in San Diego pay around double that (US $ 1500). In general, the average costs for the United States are as follows:

  • 1 bedroom apartment in the city center: around US $ 1200 per month
  • 1-room apartment outside: around US $ 900 per month

In addition come Additional costs for gas, electricity and water. US $ 150 per month apply as a guideline for a 85m² big apartment. In addition, the cost of food, internet and, if necessary, transport must be included in the cost calculation. Since apartments in the USA are usually unfurnished, there are also costs for purchasing furniture. It is also common practice in the US to include a deposit to be paid in the amount of one month's rent.

A Shared room as accommodation for studying in the USA is the cheapest form of living in terms of rent. The average rental costs are monthly at US $ 450 - 600 per person. Here, too, there are additional costs as well as costs for the Internet connection, which are, however, shared among the flat-share residents.

Advantages and disadvantages of an apartment or a shared flat as accommodation for studying in the USA

Rental costs for rooms in shared apartments lowest on averageIn some cases greater distance from the campus and therefore higher transport costs
More privacy and tranquility than in the dormitoryLess flexibility due to the distance to the campus
Greater independence: no rules and regulations like in a student residence or with a host familyLess planning security and possibly stressful looking for an apartment right after arrival
Possibility to choose the roommates yourselfRisk of hidden additional costs
Flat share as a good starting point to get to know different parts of the cityApartments mostly unfurnished
Chance to find American roommatesNo fixed contact persons like in the Studentenwonheim or with a host family
Partly greater mobility for roommates with a carSometimes no short-term rental agreements are possible
Looking for an apartment on site is possible with better local knowledgeIt may be more difficult to contact you, especially with students who live alone

Accommodation with a host family while studying in the USA

Homestay-Programs are explicitly aimed at international students and offer the opportunity to live with a host family while studying in the USA. Such programs will be often used by teenagers and younger students, for example in the course of an academic gap year or a semester stay in the USA. For many younger students, this is their first long stay abroad without parents. Therefore, they feel more comfortable in a family environment than in a student residence or a shared apartment.

Some colleges bid in the US own HomestayPrograms and refer interested students to families in the area. For example, semester students at CSU Fullerton can apply for the Cultural Homestay Program register and one of several Meal plans choose. You can choose from one to three meals a day with the family. In addition, there is a no-board program that gives students more flexibility when it comes to meal times.

Further possible contact points for HomestayPrograms are in the US Internet portals howhomestay.com. There is also one in numerous US cities Council for International Visitors. In many cases, they offer support in finding local host families.

Homestay cost in the US

The price for Homestay- Programs in the US vary from provider to provider and depend on where you live and what type of company you are Meal plans from. Generally counts however, accommodation with a host family to the cheaper accommodation options in the USA. This is due to the fact that students usually do not incur any additional costs such as ancillary costs or internet costs. At HomestayPrograms with Meal plan there are also no costs for daily meals. As a guideline for HomestayPrograms apply in the US US $ 550-1000 per month.

Advantages and disadvantages of a host family as accommodation for studying in the USA

Best and easiest way to immerse yourself in American culturePossible additional travel costs due to the distance to the campus
Daily practice of the English languageLess independence than in a shared apartment or in a student residence
Usually cheaper living than in a student residence (internet and ancillary costs are usually included in the price)Uncertainty about the host family in advance
On request, complete catering by the host familyInvolvement in student life on campus is not always guaranteed
Partly driving service to the university included in the all-inclusive price
Secure accommodation before starting your studies
Chance to get to know life outside of university