When you decided to study abroad, there’s an important decision awaiting you. Choosing the type of accommodation can be crucial especially if you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Selecting something where you feel safe and comfortable is essential especially in the early days whilst you become used to your new environment.
What’s the best kind of student-accommodation?
There three basic options for students living-abroad are: Home stay programs, dormitories, or apartments.
In a home stay program you will stay with a family chosen by the school. They will provide some or all of your meals for you, and in general, do their best to provide you with a comfortable environment for your studying. The daily interactions with your host-family can also be a great chance to practice your conversational skills.
Dormitories are large, shared residences for students. They are usually located on the university campus itself, although they are sometimes found at the larger “private” language-schools as well. Your meals may be provided. Shared accommodation like this is usually cheaper, and there is almost no traveling involved in getting to school! There are always lots of people around to talk with and develop your
Choosing to live in an apartment or other form of private housing gives you the most freedom, but can be much more expensive than the other options. You will have to do your own cooking, of course! The biggest problem is likely to be finding housing like this, however – it is much easier after you are already living in the country, and can then look for an apartment in person. Assistance may be available from the institute you are applying to; information regarding accommodation at specific schools is also available online.
What are host families like?
From old couples who’ve just recently retired, to young couples who’ve just gotten married, or even single mothers – many different kinds of people offer home stay services. They are all under contract to the school, however, and many already have experience with hosting international students. They may know what kind of troubles international students frequently have, and so they will be able to offer help. Of course, each family will be different; you should be prepared to live by their rules while you stay with them. Remember to check things that are important to you before you choose, things like internet access can be important for people living abroad for example. Especially to keep in contact with home when you might even need a residential IP service as well,
I have heard that some host families are not nice, is that true?
Before joining the home stay program, every host family has had an interview with the school involved, so there shouldn’t be any problems. Sometimes you may have difficulties because of differences in culture, but most host families are sensitive to these issues, and know how to deal with such problems. However, it is true that sometimes things just don’t work out, just as with any family! If you do need a change, you should request it as soon as possible, as it is most important that your trip is a positive experience for you. You can always talk to your school counselor or us, and a better arrangement will be found, if possible.
Will I have “hostmates” if I am on a home stay program?
Some host families have many rooms for international students.
Depending on the program, it may be possible for you to request a home stay with or without other students.
Is it possible to change the length of my home stay after a few months?
Yes, it is possible. Many students live with a host family for the first few months, and when they get used to life in a foreign country they move to an apartment or dormitory. Staff in charge of housing may be able to assist students in finding new accommodation. If you wish to move, however, you should let your host family or school know at least one month in advance. As well, you may have to pay an accommodation fee again.
When can I get information about my host family?
Your home stay placement is not decided until about ten days before your course starts. We will send you the information about your host family as soon as we receive it from the school. Usually, we also get the host family’s name, address and phone number, so we recommend that you send a letter with your picture before you leave, if you’d like to introduce yourself ahead of time.
I would like to stay in a dormitory. Are meals included?
It depends on the particular school, so please check the right-side of the dormitory fee section in the school-information table. In some dormitories you can choose “with meals” or “no meals,” which will also affect the cost, of course.
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