You know it from the American college films: the infamous student life in the USA. Even so, many international students still need information about where and how students actually live in the United States. What are the common forms of living and are they associated with certain country-specific features ? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of accommodation?
The following guidebook provides information on all aspects of accommodation for studying in the USA and is intended to help students prepare for their studies abroad or semester abroad in the USA.
United States dormitory accommodation
One of the most popular forms of accommodation for studying in the US is college dormitories. First-year students in particular prefer to live in residence halls and dormitories or dorms.
At some universities, it is mandatory that first-year or undergraduate students generally live on the campus. Master’s students usually have the choice of whether they want to live on or off campus.
Shared rooms in the USA
In the student dormitories, it is common to live in so-called shared rooms, i.e. to share the room with a second person.
Students usually do not know beforehand who they are living with in a room. Some colleges and universities in the United States are specifically trying to match international students with American students and to mix the rooms. This should lead to international students finding connection to the community more quickly and not staying among themselves. Learn more about USA and North America on commit4fitness.
At some universities there are so-called roommate matching forms. With the help of questionnaires, the universities try to find out something about the interests and personality of the students and to find suitable roommates. Some universities and colleges, it is also possible wishes for Roommates deliver. However, these cannot always be taken into account.
Types of college dorms in the US
Student residences are available in the US in various versions:
- Mixed student dormitories: Here men and women live in the same dormitory. However, the general rule in US student dormitories is that only students of the same gender share a room.
- Student residences separated by gender
- Themed student dormitories: Some universities have themed dormitories. For example, students live together who share academic interests or hobbies or who share the same mother tongue. There are more than 30 living learning communities at the University of Minnesota. There, students with the same interests live together in certain areas of the Residence Halls.
In addition, student dormitories in the USA can be distinguished in terms of their structure.
In so-called Hall Style Dorms, two students often live in a double room. Sometimes there are also rooms for three or four people. Usually the rooms have neither a kitchen nor a bathroom. The rooms border on a common hallway. There are one or more bathrooms that are shared by the students in the adjoining rooms.
In “ Suite Style Dorms ” too, there are mostly double rooms. In addition, single, triple or quadruple rooms are available at many universities. In contrast to “ Hall Style ” student dormitories, the rooms in Suite Style Dorms are usually attached to a common room. Often three or four rooms adjoin a larger room that serves as a common living room. Depending on the dormitory, either all students in a common room share a bathroom or each double room has a separate bathroom.
Apartments as accommodation for studying in the USA
More and more universities and colleges are offering apartments as an alternative to student dormitories as accommodation for studying in the USA. They are located on the university campus or near the campus and are often equipped with a communal kitchen and bathroom and are therefore designed for self-sufficiency. Since there are often less strict rules in the apartments than in the student residence and the students have more privacy, the demand is often very high.
In addition, more and more universities in the USA are switching students to privately owned apartments. Private operators rent and manage the apartments on behalf of the university.
In these apartment complexes it is often possible to live for a shorter period of time, which can be particularly attractive for international students. At CSU Fullerton, for example, there is the privately operated University Village, which is directly adjacent to the university campus. For example, international students can stay there during their semester abroad at the CSUF.
Important: In the USA there is no single rule regarding the furnishing of apartments. Some apartments are furnished and equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. Other apartments are unfurnished and are offered in combination with meal plans for the college’s dining halls. International students should therefore find out in advance exactly which conditions apply to the respective apartments.
Further housing options on campus
Some universities in the United States also offer special accommodation options for married students or students with children. There is for example at the UC Riverside, the Familiy Student Housing. These are 2- to 3-room apartments on campus that are rented to families on a monthly basis.