Finding a convenient and affordable accommodation is a primary concern for any student going to the US for higher studies. Due to difference in the value of the Rupee and the US dollar, Indian students have a hard time finding accommodation that suits their budget. They also cannot base their search solely on price as it might lead them to an apartment which is too far away from the College or University campus.
In this blog, we discuss the different types of accommodation, including their advantages and disadvantages, for international students going to the US for higher studies.
When it comes to accommodation, there are two options available to international students: On-campus accommodation and Off-campus accommodation.
It refers to student dormitories or hostels inside the college or university campus. They are built specifically to provide accommodation to students and mostly consist of rooms which are shared by two or three students. The main advantage of such dormitories is their proximity to the classrooms. Students don’t have to spend extra money on commuting; they can walk or use bicycle to reach to their classrooms. These dormitories are also situated near cafeteria or eateries so students don’t have to go far for having their meals. Students have all amenities close to their dwelling area.
Being located inside the campus, these hostels are very secure. Almost all hostels are monitored with CCTV cameras and some campuses even have their own private security guards. In addition to that, the on-campus accommodation also serves as local address in the university where students can receive their emails or parcels sent from home or other places.
However, on-campus accommodations have their downsides too.
These hostels or dormitories have their own rules and guidelines. And although they are not as restrictive as we commonly find in hostels across India, they nevertheless have to be followed by the students. Most on-campus accommodations have fixed rent and hence do not leave any room for students to bargain. Students also don’t have much choice when it comes to the type of food that they wish to eat as the food quality is standardized for mass consumption. There is also a lack of privacy as the student has to share his or her room with somebody else.
However, despite some of the disadvantages, on-campus accommodation is highly preferred by first year international students who are new to the country. This is because, in addition to what is already mentioned above, on-campus accommodation gives students an opportunity to interact and socialize with other students even after the classes are over. It also saves them from other inconveniences such as maintenance of rental homes etc.
It refers to private apartments situated outside the college or university campus. In the US, colleges and universities also allow students to stay in off-campus accommodation if they choose to do so. Students can either take a private apartment for themselves or in collaboration with fellow students which whom they can share the rent. Taking an apartment gives students personal privacy as well as an opportunity to live and eat as per their choice. They can also bargain the rent with the landlord.
However, while getting an apartment on rent, one must keep certain things in mind. First and foremost, they must ensure that the locality in which the apartment is situated is secure, especially for international students. Secondly, they must ensure that the apartment is not located too far away from their college or university. Otherwise commuting between campus and the apartment would not only consume valuable time but also cost a lot of money.
Before shifting to a private apartment, a student may be asked to sign an agreement. He or she might also have to deposit some amount as a security deposit. Students must go through the rent agreement thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.
We hope that this blog would help international students take an informed decision while deciding on the type of accommodation in the US.