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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


08 Jun 2018 865 Book icon 3 mins Share

Homestay or Dormitory or Apartment – which one you should choose for your stay while studying abroad

There are various stay options to choose from while heading to a different country as an international student. But how will you decide which one will work best for you?

08 Jun 2018 865 Book icon 3 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
Where to stay when you are studying abroad?

You reach your university, a day before you were supposed to, and head straight towards your room at one of the dormitories (dorms) or residence halls, which you have chosen, since you are dog-tired from the long flight. You enter into the room and find that this is not what you had imagined it to be – the room doesn’t have a breathing space, and the bed, which is worse than a couch, is not fit for sleeping. What would your reaction be?

Or let’s say you have made up your mind to stay with a host family, who sounded warm and hospitable over calls. But once you reach and greet the family, the relationship between you and them starts to change. You find them extremely curious, occasionally prying on you and asking questions that not even any of your family members would have dared to. They start advising you how to keep your things arranged and, slowly, forcing down the meal menu on you, which sounds like an ordeal.  

We aren’t trying to puzzle you here. These are just some scenarios!

So if you could just go back to the time when you decided on your stay abroad, would you like to change anything?

Perhaps you can make use of some really handy tips and decide between dorms, apartments and homestays for your living options in a different country where you are heading to study:



  1. A host family can offer you a wonderful experience, and like your family pay proper attention, helping you with anything that you need during any emergency.
  2. Homestays could prove to be cost-effective, plus offer you the homely comfort and opportunities to know more about the culture and traditions of a different group of people.
  3. Living with a host family can be a boon for you, especially when you want to improve your language skills be it English language or any other foreign language that piques your interest, which is also spoken by your hosts.
  4. One of the advantages of living with a host is you don’t have to do any household chores, unless you want to.


  1. The languages spoken by your host family might be different, which sometimes might put you off when you struggle to make them understand what you want and don’t want. Though we are living amongst digital tools like Google translate, it shouldn’t be a big problem, but you might feel getting slightly misunderstood at times. This lack of proper communication, though it’s harmless, can lead to an uneasy situation for both you and your host.  
  2. The host family can put you in strange situations by asking you to join family gatherings and parties. And this could sound like a plague in your happiness when all you want is to focus on your studies and just be with yourself.
  3. A host family can pressurise you to follow house rules, and stick to their timings for things like staying out or talking over the phone (if you are using theirs).
  4. Besides your own room, you may not find any other place in your host’s house that has privacy.



  1. An apartment gives you a lot more freedom to move around. And you don’t have any curfew to follow or rules to abide by.
  2. Also, you can cook your own food and manage the house the way you like.
  3. One of the major advantages of living in an apartment is you can choose to have a roommate and share the rent, and also lay down certain rules that you both agree to follow.
  4. You can choose an apartment that’s close to your institution or away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


  1. A private apartment could be pricey.
  2. When you share an apartment with someone, you might chance upon a roommate who is poles apart from you. And this can disturb you mentally and emotionally.
  3. In highly unlikely situations, you would have to buy or rent your own furniture if the apartment is unfurnished.

Dormitory or residence hall


  1. Dorms or residence halls are private spaces, though you’ll be living amongst classmates and friends, where you can either get an entire room for yourself or share it with a roommate.
  2. Halls come with food and laundry services often, and are based on the campus of your university.
  3. Usually, university support teams help students in finding the right kind of on-campus accommodations.
  4. You can save a lot of money and time travelling when you live on campus.
  5. You can also save money on utilities and Internet that are included in your tuition fees mostly.
  6. Another advantage of living in halls is you get to access various clubs and societies and be part of the union.


  1. University halls or dorms could be quite expensive at times. Make sure you ask for a proper breakup when you decide on your stay at your university campus.
  2. Living on campus comes with a lot of rules to follow, giving you less privacy.
  3. You may be required to share many facilities like kitchen and bathroom with other peers.
  4. Though you get to meet a lot of different people on campus, they could be a source of distraction for you during crucial times like projects and exams. 

The best source of information for accommodations would be a university prospectus that will give you loads of information on where to stay during your studies and how much it would cost you. Why don’t you pick one prospectus and read through it?

So I’ll leave you with this question to think over – which stay option should you pick – dormitories or homestays or apartments? Which one do you think can give you a secure stay during your studies abroad? Let us know if you have any questions related to your overseas education. We can help you with your admissions and study visas besides offering advice on your stay and travel.

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Indrani Sinha Indrani Sinha,
IDP Expert
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