1. Housing typeWhen it comes to choosing your housing, there are generally three options you can choose from: homestay families, student residences and apartments or hotels.
HomestayHomestay is recommended for students who wish to experience the way of life and culture of a new country. Living in a private home with a host family offers a warm and secure way to immerse yourself in the daily life of the country you are visiting. Living in a home with a family, you will often make more progress in your language skills because you get to practice the language in a real-life situation after your classes end. You will pick up expressions with greater ease, and your accent will sound more authentic. Homestay families usually offer affordable meal plans that allow you to sample the local cuisine and save a significant amount of money.
Be aware that host families are sometimes couples without children or even singles who have a room to rent. The quality of the housing among host families can vary greatly. If you realize upon arrival that you are unhappy with your housing, report it to your school and they will do their best to try to fix the problem. In some cases, students have to share rooms, so please read the description of the housing in the school profiles carefully.
Student residenceStudent residences are recommended for people who want maximum independence and more contact with other students during their stay. Many schools rent apartments or dormitories for students near the school. Usually you share common spaces like the bathroom and kitchen with about 3 to 6 other language students.
One problem with student residences is that students from the same country often connect with each other and tend to speak their common language. Some schools try to prevent this by pairing students with someone who is not from their country, but students should be aware of this language learning obstacle when considering a student residence.
Student residences very often do not include any meal plan, so you will likely have to buy your own meals. In cities with high cost of living, such as London and New York, food cost can be a significant portion of your budget.
Apartment or hotelIt is possible to stay in a rented apartment or hotel room during your study, but this option tends to be more expensive. Most apartments or flats include a kitchen, a bedroom and a private bathroom. Most schools provide some assistance with hotel reservations or you can reserve a hotel stay on your own.
2. Board typeBoard refers to the meals that go along with housing options. There are generally four options to choose from:
- Breakfast only
- Breakfast and dinner (half board)
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (full board)
- No meals (self-catering)