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Program housing

Housing arrangements are made for all programs, but only for the official program dates. If you intend to arrive earlier or stay later than the program dates, you must make your own housing arrangements and be prepared to pay on your own for these additional nights. Neither Office for Education Abroad staff, nor your program leader, nor your host family can make special arrangements regarding your early arrival or late departure.

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 circumstances require you to leave early, you must first obtain permission by notifying, in writing, the program leader, OEA, and on-site personnel. No refund will be given for early departures.

Your program housing may be in a home with a host family, in a university residence hall, in an apartment, or at a modestly priced hotel. In some locations, students have the option of arranging their own housing. In others, participation in program-arranged housing is mandatory. This is particularly applicable to programs with homestays sicne being with a family is a critical part of the academics and foreign langauge acquisition. If you choose to arrange your own housing at a site where this is allowed, you must notify the Office for Education Abroad of your intent when you apply and provide the staff with your address and phone number abroad as soon as possible.In keeping with MSU policy, arranged housing will not allow unmarried members of the opposite sex to sleep in the same unit. In most programs, housing includes all necessities such as sheets and pillows and you will normally have access to public laundry facilities.

If you are dissatisfied with your housing, notify the program leader or on-site MSU personnel. You must consult with and/or inform your program leader, OEA, and/or local staff before making any changes in housing arrangements. 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. You are not permitted to move to another home without permission, even if it is permissible by the new homestay family. Additionally, in the case of homestays, gifts given to the original host family cannot be reclaimed.

In the event of serious infractions of housing regulations, MSU personnel, in consultation with the MSU Office for Education Abroad and local university faculty members or staff, will warn students in writing about possible expulsion from the housing facility or other consequences. Repeated 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 study abroad program. If a student is removed from housing but remains in the program, the student will be responsible for locating and paying for the alternative housing. If alternative housing cannot be found, the student 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.

Types of Housing


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 study abroad experience, 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 obey 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.

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

This is one of the most common forms of student accommodations.

This may be 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 students may choose to find their own accommodations and share a flat 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.


Originally built for cyclists, hostels (which are open to all ages), are usually situated about 30 miles apart, outside of major metropolitan areas. 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. You have to bring your own sheets or sheet sleeping sack.

Hostels are usually closed during the day, have limited security for left items, and the usual limit for a stay is three overnights, but a longer stay may be arranged. Most provide storage facilities for your luggage.

Couch surfing

Couch surfing is a worldwide network in which hosts open their homes to visitors at no cost. Although the price tag makes this appealing, OEA discourages students from making such arrangements.

Guests and Visitors

If you intend to have friends or family members visit with you during the program, contact your Education Abroad Program Coordinator for possible resources. You are reminded that the university cannot provide any administrative support (transportation, housing, childcare, etc.) or assume any responsibility for accompanying non-participants.Such visitors cannot stay in program-arranged housing.

Accompanying non-participants are not part of the program and therefore 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.

MSU Housing Release

To assist students who live in MSU campus residence halls and who wish to study abroad during spring semester, the Office of Study Abroad will send the names of accepted students to University Housing. However, this does not automatically apply to students in University Village. If you wish to request a housing release from University Village, you will need to contact OEA. This needs to be done by December 10th.

Once OEA provides University Housing with your name, it is your responsibility to request release from your spring semester hall contract. Students studying abroad during other semesters will have ample opportunity to make provision for their housing needs.

If you desire to sublease your apartment while you're abroad, you may wish to contact MSU Off-campus Housing at (517) 355-8303. If you are returning to East Lansing and looking for summer housing, co-operative housing options are available through the MSU Student Housing Cooperative.

NOTE: Students living in university-owned apartments (Spartan Village or University Village) must contact University Apartments at (517) 355-7457 for information regarding the termination of your lease.