Accommodation has understandably always been a concern for international students. Options of staying with a host family, in a dormitory, or off-campus housing tend to present much confusion for those seeking to start their education in the US. Below, we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you make an informed decision. 

In America, highschoolers must either stay at a host family or in a school dormitory to ensure their safety. Those going to college must live in an on-campus dorm for at least one year before having the option to move elsewhere during their later years.

1. Homestay


  • The host family can provide you with a wonderful and home-like experience, acting like your family away from home and is your point of contact for emergency situations
  • Homestay can help students and their families save much money when first living away from home, in addition to helping students know more about the culture and traditions of the host country. 
  • Students can significantly improve their language skills living with a host family
  • Living with a family means that students get much help in preparing meals, household chores, and transportation. Students are also expected to take on initiatives with household work.
  • Students also go on vacations and weekend trips with the host family


  • Language barriers may cause misunderstandings and prevent them from being clarified
  • Students staying with a host family needs to be active and assimilate to the family. When families have events and parties, students should participate and avoid closing themselves off. 
  • The host family may put pressure on students to follow strict household rules such as imposing a curfew or banning the use of the internet after a certain time. 
  • Besides the bedroom, students can rarely find other private corner in the house

2. Dormitory / Residence Hall


  • Staying in a dormitory makes it easier to make friends and connections with new people. Safety in a dormitory is also ensured.
  • The location of the dormitories is either on-campus or very close to campus; there are also laundry facilities and food halls
  • There should always be supervisors who support students and make sure that they are safe at all times
  • Staying in a dormitory can help you save money and time by living close to school
  • Students can also save on utilities and the internet
  • Students have easy access to schools’ clubs and activities


  • Dormitories can be expensive depending on its location 
  • Staying in a dormitory means that students have to follow many rules and regulations
  • Students will have to share different facilities and their rooms 
  • Living with friends can be fun, but it may also negatively affect your study

3. Apartment


  • A private apartment (or a private room) can provide students with much freedom compared to staying with a host family or in a dorm
  • You can cook your own meals and manage housework as you like
  • You can choose your roomates and set your own rules
  • You can choose where you live, either close to town center or away from the hustle and bustle of the city


  • This is probably the most expensive option of all three
  • In some cases, either you and your roommate become very close friends, or you really dislike one another; the latter can negatively affect your life, both academically and emotionally.
  •  You may have to rent or buy your own furniture

Source: Hotcourse Abroad


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