Best Housing Choices for International Students in the US

    Updated on: 24 May 2022


    Once you make it to a university in the US, the biggest question that pops into your mind is about the place of living. Every student who secures admission to an American university starts searching for places of accommodation. The search for a place of accommodation in a foreign country is not an easy task. Thanks to the internet, the search has become much easier now than it used to be a decade back. Still, you need to ensure that they are not only getting an affordable but also safe place of accommodation. 
     
    Being a young student, it’s important to have all the safety measures in place before moving to a new country. The cost of accommodation is one of the biggest factors in the cost of living of an international student in the US. In a country like the US, the cost of accommodation can lead to a considerable difference in the expense. For most students, it can be a big differentiator and can have vast implications on your finances. We are giving you a complete guide to search for the best student accommodation in USA

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    How to Choose a Suitable Housing Option?

    In the US there is no dearth of accommodation facilities for students. Students can choose from a range of options available for accommodation, and it includes dorms to private apartments. Several factors affect student housing in the USA, and a student must consider all of them before choosing the place of accommodation. 

    Affordable Rent

    Rent varies from one place to another, and in rural areas, it is somewhere around $650 per month for a studio apartment. In urban centres, the rent can be considerably high, and it can go as high as $2500 per month for a studio apartment. The rent also tends to be on a higher side if the place of accommodation is near the campus. Most international students prefer living outside the campus as shared apartments are relatively cheaper than hostel accommodation within the campus. The average rent for an individual is around $400 per month in shared apartments. However, rent shouldn’t be the only factor that should be considered which brings us to the second factor in deciding the place of accommodation. 

    Safety of the Student

    The US has very good law and order but still not all the neighbourhoods are safe. There might be areas that aren’t good for students, especially international students who are alien to the American culture. Your safety should be the most important factor while deciding the place of accommodation. Even a safe neighbourhood is costing more, you should opt for that location than saving a few bucks, and risking your studies by getting into an unforeseen confrontation. 

    Availability of Rooms 

    There are certain locations near the university campuses that are reasonably affordable but gets filled pretty fast. It becomes important for students to book the housing facility well in advance since the rents tend to fill faster in peak admission sessions. The availability of room is not the same all the time, and you may end up paying more for a room which you could have rented earlier at a much lesser price. So, after getting the letter of acceptance you should start the search for rooms, and book it as soon as possible. 

    Finding Partners

    Try to find partners among the students studying at the same university. It will help you in getting an affordable place to stay, and also a reliable person. There are numerous social media groups for international students going to the US which helps them in connecting with other students who are looking for partners to live in shared apartments. You can also connect with Indian students studying over there who might have space to accommodate you in their apartment. 

    What are the Accommodation Options for International Students in the US?

    Students can choose a range of accommodation options which we have already discussed above, and now we will be discussing these options in detail. We will provide all the details about each accommodation option which will help you in choosing the best possible option. You should also consider the best possible option by considering above mentioned factors to make an informed choice about the place of accommodation. 

    University Dormitories 

    University Dormitories are considered as the best place for freshers in college as there are a lot of conveniences. On-campus accommodation helps students in getting a safe and hygienic place to live. Living among students from different countries will itself be a great feat for you as it will help you in building connections, meeting new people, learning new cultures, and a ton of other stuff which you would miss living outside the campus. Another great advantage of living on the campus is the proximity to the college which will help you participate in academic events, attend regular classes, and other events. 

    If you are planning to stay on the campus, you should apply for accommodation on the university website. In the US students are given various choices, and you can clearly state the preference. Students can opt for either catered or self-catered, private or shared washroom facilities, single-sex or mixed dorms, etc. The university chooses the best possible option for you, and after that, you can select a place of accommodation. 

    Rented Apartments 

    Shared apartments are also a great choice for students moving to the US for higher studies. Living in a rented apartment has its perks as you will neither be living alone nor will be disturbed by a crowd of friends. You will always have a private space in which nobody will intrude. It will be a great opportunity for you to understand the true American culture and way of living by residing with locals. Living in a shared apartment will also give you ample time to focus on studies without wasting time on gossip and roaming. 

    There are certain things that you should keep in mind while renting a shared apartment. Always choose a location that is in close proximity even if it means slightly higher rent. It will help you save a lot of time commuting, and also you can use a bicycle or public transport. In the US, the universities understand your concerns about finding a place of accommodation. The universities have liaison officers who would help you with information on possible housing options available for the students. It’s always advised to first talk with the officer, gather all the information, and then take the final call on the place of residence. Talking to the liaison officer will give you certainty about the safety and security aspects of the locality where you are planning to rent an apartment. At times the universities also give the option of looking at shared apartments for living from the official website itself which further guarantees the safety and security of students. 

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    Renting Details about the US Housing for International Students

    We all know how renting norms change from one city to another, and here we are talking about going to a new country. So, it becomes important for students to know all the details because, unlike India, the renting norms are pretty strict and clear in the US. Let’s see all the details that you need to know before finalising a place of accommodation in the US. 

    Security Deposits: The way you pay the security deposit in India, similarly you will have to pay a month’s rent or five weeks’ rent as advance. The security deposits might vary from one city to another but by and large, they are on these lines themselves. The security deposit has to be paid at the time of renting the apartment and will be refunded to you if the house remains in similar conditions. 

    Additional Fees: Before renting an apartment always ask for additional fees, if any. It will help you in saving money, and will not come to you as an unforeseen expense. At times property owners might put up an extra fee for something that might not be of any use to you. The additional fees could be for parking spaces, laundry facilities, etc. 

    Utilities Charge: Unless specifically stated, the charge for utilities isn’t included in the rent. The charge for electricity, internet, water, etc will be extra. So, when you are comparing the cost of accommodation, the utility charges must be factored in to calculate the actual cost. 

    Furnished Apartments: In most cases, you will get a furnished apartment. However, one should check all the required amenities before finalising the lease. The apartment should have basic amenities like a refrigerator, washing machine, etc. In the US, furniture renting is also pretty affordable, and you can also explore that option if you aren’t looking for an already furnished apartment. 

    Security Facilities: Students should always check that there are adequate safety facilities in the building premise, and also in the locality. Secured entry, CCTV cameras, security guards are some of the facilities that should be a part of the locality where you are planning to live. 

    These are some tips regarding accommodation for Indian students who are planning to move to the US for higher studies. Both on-campus and off-campus stay options have their own upside and downside. There is no hard and fast rule, and the best option can only be chosen by thoroughly analysing all the options. 

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