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Your Housing Options

There is no standard way for international programs to handle student housing. Your study abroad program may provide one type of living situation for all students or allow you to choose among several housing options. 

We recommend choosing one of the options offered by your program, but some programs also allow students to find private accommodations. Here are some common housing options:

  • Homestay with a host family
  • On- or off-campus apartment with other students in the program or local students
  • Dedicated student residence hall
  • Hostel or hotel (short-term programs)

Be sure to check out our tips about handling your Ithaca housing.

What should I expect from housing abroad?

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 with a host family or in apartments. Housing tends to be in older buildings with fewer amenities than homes in the U.S. For example, most Italian homes that have washing machines do not have dryers, but instead have drying racks or access to a clothesline. Meal plans are typically not offered. The norm is for students to prepare their own food. 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.

If you require ADA-compliant housing, work with Student Disabilities Services and inform your Education Abroad advisor or program advisor as soon as possible.

Should I consider a homestay?

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. Homestays with host families are typically the most highly rated housing option by students because of the close relationship students often form with their hosts.

Can I arrange my own housing?

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. You will be making arrangements 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.

Can I request a roommate for my program abroad?

It depends on your 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!
man moving in with suitcases

Moving In and Out

suitcase unpacking

Your program will provide information about when you can move in to your housing and when you should plan to move out. Plan your flights around these dates. 

If you arrive before your housing check-in or decide to stay abroad beyond the move-out date, you are responsible for finding and paying for other accommodations during that extra time.

Your program may or may not provide arrival transportation from the airport to your housing. Pack lightly enough to manage your own luggage without help. Be prepared to use public transportation in case there is no provided transportation or you miss your ride.

Your Responsibilities

As a student abroad, you are expected to keep your rooms and shared spaces clean. You must follow all rules set by your program or housing manager during your time abroad.

You will be held responsible and financially liable for any damage to the property during your stay. Students who violate housing regulations may face consequences ranging from verbal warnings to eviction. If you are evicted, you will be responsible for finding new housing at an additional cost.

While You're Abroad: Your Ithaca Housing

You may have concerns about how to handle your housing at Cornell—particularly if you live off campus. Cornell has resources to help! Start your planning by visiting Housing and Residential Life's FAQ for study abroad students.

A single-semester campus housing assignment can be convenient if you're planning a semester abroad. Find out how to apply for housing on campus. If you have off-campus housing, you may be able to sublet your place while you're away.

Next Up: Your Time Abroad