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Types of Housing

There are various types of housing options abroad. Most times, specific accommodations will be required as part of the program, but some may allow you to choose a preference.


A homestay will allow one of the greatest opportunities for immersion into a different culture. Although living with a family can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your experience abroad, it will require flexibility. You will be faced with cultural differences and may have rules and regulations that you need to accept and obey. These are not unreasonable and may remind you of the rules you had to follow when you were living with your parents.

Although families have been screened and most have had experience hosting U.S. students, you should allow some time for adjustment. Be sensitive to the cultural differences of your host country. Remember that you will go through some changes that are part of the process of understanding a different culture. Living with a family is a meaningful way to integrate into and gain firsthand experience in a different culture. Most times, you will be integrated into the family unit during a homestay, but there are times where you might be treated more like a renter. 

Living with a family is especially beneficial if you are trying to gain proficiency in a foreign language. You will socialize at a different level and will have the chance to meet local people. You may be by yourself in the homestay and need to develop certain skills to communicate more effectively.

Residence Hall/Dorm

This is one of the most common forms of student accommodations and is an excellent opportunity for you to live in a true student environment and get to know local students.

Alternatively, you may be surrounded by other U.S. students. This could limit your opportunities to meet locals and experience the everyday activities of living with a family or on your own.


Apartments may be a part of the arranged housing or you may choose to find one on your own, possibly sharing with other students.

Although you will enjoy the freedom, apartments tend to isolate students from interacting with the local people and culture. If you decide to rent a flat on your own, a deposit is usually required and you will be responsible for keeping the place in good shape until the day you move out.


Hotel accommodations are usually offered only on programs where extensive travel takes place. Hotels are otherwise avoided, since they reflect a tourist approach to the experience and provide limited integration with the local culture.


Only a few MSU programs utilize hostels as part of program accommodations. They vary in size from several hundred beds to a couple of rooms in a private house. Most hostels have dormitory-style sleeping areas (men and women may be assigned to different wings) and kitchen facilities. Some provide breakfast or dinner for an additional fee or you can do your own cooking in the kitchen. Pots, pans, dishes, silverware, blankets, and pillows are provided.

Keep in mind that hostels can provide storage facilities for your luggage, but may have limited security for those items left. It is not recommended to leave anything of value.

Release from MSU Residence Halls

If you live on campus and plan to participate in a semester-length education abroad program in the fall or spring, you will need to request a release from your housing contract. To apply for a contract release, download and print the Residence Hall/Apartment Contract/Lease Release Application found on the LiveOn webpage.

The Office for Education Abroad will send Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS) a list of names with students who have been accepted to a spring or fall education abroad programs so REHS can verify your status as an education abroad participant.

Resources for Off-campus Residents

If you live off-campus and want to sublease while you're abroad, or need housing when you return from abroad, visit MSU Off-Campus Housing or the MSU Student Housing Co-op for resources. You can also check out the MSU Housing Sublease & Roommates East Lansing Facebook page.

Program Housing Policies

Housing arrangements are made for all programs for the official program dates. You are expected to stay in the official program housing for the full length of the program and must vacate the accommodations on the morning of the last official day of the program.

If you intend to arrive earlier or stay later than the program dates, you are responsible for making your own housing arrangements and paying for these additional nights.

If circumstances require you to depart your program before the official last day, you must first obtain permission by notifying, in writing, the program director, the Office for Education Abroad, and any on-site personnel. No refund will be given for early departures.

Most housing options include all necessities such as sheets and pillows and you will normally have access to public laundry facilities.

If you intend to have friends or family members visit with you during the program, such visitors cannot stay in program-arranged housing. The university cannot provide any administrative support (transportation, housing, childcare, etc.) or assume any responsibility for accompanying non-participants. Accompanying non-participants cannot attend classes, field trips, or any other activities formally associated with the program. If such individuals become disruptive to the program, it may be grounds for your dismissal.

Through the Education Abroad Gender-Inclusive Housing policy, the Office for Education Abroad seeks to provide a living environment welcoming to all gender identities, internationally and domestically, contingent upon location and housing availability.

Issues with Program Housing

If you are dissatisfied with your housing, notify the program director or on-site personnel as soon as possible. Before making any changes in housing arrangements, you must consult with and/or inform your program director, the Office for Education Abroad, and/or local staff. Every attempt will be made to improve the situation. Reassignment of housing, if necessary, will be provided only once during the program.

Depending on the circumstances, you may not be financially responsible for a housing relocation; however, no housing refunds will be provided for additional moves. Furthermore, since housing payments are commonly done on a monthly basis, any moves made in the middle of the month will result in a forfeit of that month's rent. Payment to the new housing provider must follow the program's established program procedure.

With regards to homestays, you are not permitted to move to another home without permission, even if it is permissible by the new homestay family. Additionally, gifts given to the original host family cannot be reclaimed.

Infractions of Housing Policies

In the event of serious infractions of housing regulations, MSU personnel, in consultation with the MSU Office for Education Abroad and local university faculty or staff, will warn you in writing about possible expulsion from the housing facility or other consequences.

Repeat offenses or severe infractions of the housing rules and regulations as established by the local facilities may result in expulsion without notice from housing and expulsion from the education abroad program.

If you are removed from housing but remain in the program, you will be responsible for locating and paying for the alternative housing.

If alternative housing cannot be found, you must return to the U.S. and forfeit academic credit and any financial refund.

You will be held responsible for all damages you cause to the home, dormitory room, apartment, or classroom as well as any outstanding bills for phone use and the like. If you depart without having paid your bills, including the cost of breakage or damage, a charge will be put on your student account. If you shared a room or apartment with other participants and the Office for Education Abroad is unable to determine who is responsible for the unpaid bill, the bill will be divided evenly and all occupants will be charged the same amount.