Can I arrange my own housing abroad?
Housing varies by program and so does your ability to “opt out” or arrange your own. Please consider your decision carefully. Private accommodation means that you are choosing to find housing on your own, without the support of your program and that you will be working directly with a local landlord. If you make this choice, you won’t be able to rely on assistance from your program if there is a problem with your housing. There may also be considerable up-front costs.
How is housing abroad different? What should I expect?
Housing abroad is different from typical U.S. student housing in many ways. U.S. dorm style housing is rare and most study abroad students live in apartments or with a host family. Housing abroad tends to be in older buildings than homes in the U.S. with fewer amenities. For example, most Italian homes that have washing machines will not have dryers but will have drying racks or access to a clothesline. Additionally, meal plans are typically not offered outside of the United States. The norm is for students to prepare their own food, and you will have access to a kitchen space to do this. If you choose to live with a host family, your host will often provide some meals. Students who require ADA-compliant housing should work with the Student Disabilities Office at Cornell and inform their Global Learning Education Abroad advisor or host program advisor for assistance as soon as possible.
Can I request a roommate for my program abroad?
It depends on the program. Many programs do not allow students to request a specific roommate, because they want students to branch out and meet new people, rather than staying with a group of friends. If you do not see a space in your housing application to list a roommate request, then chances are it is not allowed. If you can request a roommate, make sure that your potential roommate requests you as well!
Why consider staying with a host family while I'm abroad?
Living with a host family can be one of the most enriching ways to learn about a new culture. Host families volunteer for the opportunity and are carefully vetted by your program, which pays them for your stay. Host families are genuinely interested in sharing their home and their culture—and often their language—with visiting students.
Your host family will expect you to share some meals and conversation with them, but they understand that you are an adult and will want time to see friends and travel. In the event of irreconcilable difficulties, students can be moved to another family. Host families are typically the most highly rated housing option by students because of the close relationship students can form with their hosts.