Are you considering studying abroad but are vaguely worried that you might end up homeless? Relax! Every city is different, and some may have housing shortages making a roof over your head a little bit more challenging, but international students can always find a way.
1. Check with the international/study abroad department
International student advisers are, as a rule, quite nice and helpful. Give them a call, or send an email asking what percentage of their students live on campus, and live off campus. They should be more than willing to help you find a dormitory (if that’s what you would like), or recommend nearby neighborhoods that are popular with students.
2. Join Facebook groups where other students might look for housing
The incoming class as well as international students will have probably have active Facebook groups where people search for roommates, compare rent prices, and share links to local apartment listings.
3. Use any existing network in your study-abroad country
If you are lucky enough to have some connections already in the city you’re going to study, ask them if they know anyone who is renting, or if they could reach out to their social network on your behalf. If this works out, you have the benefit of renting from the friend-of-a-friend and might get a good rate, and generally friendlier experience since you’re not such a stranger.
4. Consider living with a host-family
A host-family can offer an amazing opportunity to learn the language, and get immersed in local culture and delicious homemade food. If you have your heart set on a wild partying experience, that’s not going to work for the majority of families, but if you’re studying abroad to truly immerse yourself, a host-family offers every advantage. Your study-abroad university might have a host-family program they can enroll you in, or might be able to refer you to local language schools who could set up an arrangement. Make sure to tell them your expectations in advance – perhaps you’re uncomfortable in a staunchly religious household, or would hate living in the suburbs. Ask lots of questions and go with your gut to find the right host-family.
5. Stay at a hostel and find an apartment when you get there
Although this strategy will lead to some extra pressure on your arrival to the city, you could arrive early, do a bit of neighborhood sightseeing, and interview potential landlords to find a living situation and roommates that you really like. If you’re studying in a country where you don’t know the language, it’s still possible to employ this strategy, but you’re going to want to find a buddy who speaks the language and will help you avoid getting ripped off by an opportunistic landlord.