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Types of Housing Abroad


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.


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.