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The basics
THE USA: Student Accommodation

Accommodation tips: Choosing a residence hall

Learn what a residence hall is and what benefits it can have for international students as told by a U.S. accommodation expert

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Most prospective students would admit that finding a place to stay and the right sort of accommodation can be key to a successful study abroad experience. There are quite a number of options available, so you might feel a bit confused. Finding the best fit for you is important and with this in mind we went in search of some clarification, chatting to a student accommodation specialist in the U.S. 

Residence hall


When assessing what’s available on the accommodation front it’s important to evaluate your personal preferences regarding living arrangements. For example, a homestay option, where you stay with an American family, may not be the right fit for you if you’re looking for something a bit more independent and flexible. However, it would also mean that you wouldn’t have a schedule and as immersed in American culture


Perhaps you have considered renting, but have found the costs prohibitive, or wanted to stay on campus, but have found a place difficult to secure. The answer could lie in a residence hall, which is off-campus accommodation designed specifically for students. Residence halls are mostly run by independent accommodation suppliers who are accredited and endorsed by the university. This means you can be confident of both the quality and suitability of the accommodation. A residence hall will give you the opportunity to live alongside other students, which can be a great way to meet new friends. Living with your peers may mean finding a community who share your interests and challenges. 





Accommodation in a residence hall will usually consist of a fully-furnished private room that includes the main amenities that you will need. In some cases it’s possible to get a room with a private bathroom, but this can add an additional amount to the cost. It’s more common to have shared bathroom and kitchen facilities in a residence hall. You won’t have to be overly concerned about security either as residence halls have added measures, such as guards, CCTV and access control.  There are also protocols in place to report any security issues and living within a community often adds to a sense of wellbeing. In some cases a dedicated 24/7 helpline is set up, allowing you to access the help you need around the clock.  


You’ll also be able to report any difficulties, concerns or worries that you have to the residence advisor, who lives on site. Their role is to deal with the management of the facility, from residence welfare to building maintenance. There is an understanding that international students often require assistance with orientation and settling in to a new environment so help is made available, be it finding you way around a new city or homesickness. Choosing your accommodation option when studying overseas will depend on numerous factors including budget, availability and personal preference. Key to this is making sure you have thoroughly researched what is available, spoken to prospective universities and assessed your budget



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