As you land in a foreign land for your studies after the longest flight known to man, you can only think of one thing: rest.
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve sorted some sort of temporary hotel to stay in or have arranged some more permanent digs, such as on-site campus housing. University-provided accommodation can be the ideal choice for the fresh-faced first-year student – everything’s close and available, and you’re in the safe cocoon of your school’s perimeters.
If you’ve yet to pick a place to stay or are already in your 2nd year and beyond, there’s a great alternative for international students looking to build their home-away-from-home: off-campus housing.
As the name implies, this refers to accommodation located outside of campus borders. Here are some reasons why you should consider this option…
1. It’s more local
This means you get to really immerse yourself in the local culture of the town and city you’re living in. How can you know more about the many minorities that make the American West Coast so diverse?
Living in the heart of the city means you’ll likely make new friends and neighbours who are not from your course or university, too – perfect for practice in the local language and creating amazing memories.
2. Rent is likely to be cheaper
This may not apply across the board but on-campus student houses are notoriously expensive, thanks to the many perks that comes along with it. As always, doing a little research beforehand will let you know which option offers a better deal.
If your school is located in a smaller city, it’s likely that off-campus housing will turn out cheaper than on-campus costs. And getting a couple of friends to rent along with you could make costs cheaper still.
3. It teaches you independence
There are two sides to this coin: while there are no rules to follow off-campus (beyond those agreed between you, your landlord and housemates), you’ll also be left on your own to fend for yourself. That means figuring out what to do if a pipe leaks or the electricity goes off without having a warden on hand to help.
Be mindful that these responsibilities are twice as intense for international students, as your parents and support system might be several time zones away.
The upside to this is you’ll learn the ropes of independent living quicker than your mates living on campus. Also, it offers important real-life experience you can build on as you move into post-graduate life.
4. Expect more privacy
As a student in the US, it’s likely that you’ll be sharing a dorm with a roommate or two. While some may deem this a more sociable arrangement, this will mean that your home-away-from-home will always have a stranger in it 24/7.
Bathrooms will have to be shared too, and there will definitely be noise if someone throws a party. Naturally, your privacy could be pretty minimal if you decide to live on-campus. If this is something you hold dear, you best start researching all those off-campus options!