Visa Crunch

How to find suitable living accommodation while studying in the US

Once an international student arrives in the US, the student doesn’t get to stay in a dorm room immediately. If the student has reached quite in advance, he needs to make arrangements for a temporary stay till a dorm is allotted to him. Majority of the student prefer deciding on choosing their accommodation once they have seen the house or room personally. 

Finding temporary accommodation in a short period is not easy and renting a room at a hotel or motel can be very costly. We have listed down cheaper alternatives for you – 

Temporary Accommodations 

Several institutions will provide a provisional place to stay for international students who arrive before the semester begins. You will have to ask the housing office or foreign student advisor for temporary housing information.

Most cities in the United States have a Council for International Visitors or such similar organizations to help international students and visitors. These organizations can arrange for you to stay with a local family for a few days. Although, such arrangements must be made well in advance to find a suitable family upon your arrival. Also, search for their information in the phone book or ask at the Traveler’s Aid counter when you land at the airport. All major airports, bus stations, and train stations have a Traveler’s Aid desk for your support.

Many cities have youth hostels as well which provide value for money accommodation. 

Hostels are good places to stay for a few days while you look for a permanent place to live at. They provide dorm-style accommodations, with bunk beds in large rooms. The cost could range from $5 to $25 a night. Students will be able to stay at the youth hostel at a lower cost if he is a member of the International Youth Hostel Federation, where a one-year membership is $25.

If you are unable to find any of the above options suitable, you can always stay in a hotel or motel. This is the most expensive option out of all the others, and you will need to make a reservation with a credit card to book a room. Parking is usually expensive at hotels, and there is often an additional cost on long-distance phone calls placed from your room.

Permanent Accommodations

Majority of the university students in the US live on or near the campus. Students who live off-premises generally find a place a couple of miles away as it is much cheaper and it is convenient for getting to and from campus. 

If the college offers on-campus housing for international students, you should consider living on-campus at least for the first year as this will probably be your first trip to the US and on-campus housing will help with the transition to life in the US. Once you become more familiar with the neighbourhood you can think of living off-campus. 

Renting a house is normally the only option if you will be sharing it with other flatmates. The cost of renting an apartment varies a lot depending on the area of the country, the locality you have chosen among a lot of other factors which also affect the rent. The college’s financial aid office or housing office can provide you with an estimate of the cost of renting an off-campus apartment.

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