When considering studying abroad, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of living. What most students, especially those who are stepping out of their comfort zone for the first time, fail to realize is that choosing a suitable accommodation for oneself is a daunting task, with each type having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. To top it all off, the cost of living in, say, the United States is not cheap. According to the Economic Times, you spend approximately INR 9 Lakhs (US) per year on living expenses. Yes, the cost of living includes a variety of factors such as communication, transportation, and incidentals (subsidiary or accompanying expenses). However, one important component is accommodation in US.
Why are we dragging this out? Because making the wrong choice in terms of housing can not only make studying abroad inconvenient for you, but also costly. So, here’s a concise breakdown of the available housing options, as well as the pros and cons of each, to help you decide which housing option is best for you.
What are the Different Accommodation in US for Indian Students?
An Indian student studying in the United States can choose between two types of residences: on-campus and off-campus.
When a college provides a student with a hostel or dormitory, this is referred to as on-campus or campus housing. Some universities even provide apartments to married students, especially if they are pursuing a Master’s degree or higher. The dorm or flat is located on the school grounds.
Off-campus housing is when you look for a place to stay away from college. Off-campus student housing is situated away from the university. It is your responsibility to find a PG, house, or apartment.
Choosing a suitable residence in the United States (that fits your lifestyle and budget) is difficult because there are several factors to consider.
Do you want to be in charge of paying and maintaining the utilities? Do you want more privacy? Is it going to be difficult to get up and catch a bus to college for an early morning class?
Such inquiries make it difficult for Indian students to find suitable housing in the United States. Fortunately, a comparison between the two simplifies the process considerably.
In general, living off-campus is much less expensive. In a year, one can save up to USD 10,000 on living expenses (indicative, actual values depend upon the college). Looking at the expense breakdown at CMU, most students will undoubtedly prefer living off-campus to living on campus because the cost of living difference between the two types of housing for a year can be as much as USD 500 – USD 600.
However, there are additional factors to consider when looking for a residence outside of the campus in the United States. Is the basic rent inclusive of utilities such as internet access and water bills? Typically, rental homes do not have them. You pay for it out of your own pocket. This can bring the total cost of living off campus to the same level as on-campus housing. CMU provides an excellent checklist. It lists all of the “utilities, amenities, and services included with on-campus housing.” When looking for off-campus
apartments/flats/PG, find out how much each one costs, then compare the total to the cost of campus housing at the college you’ve chosen.
|Orientation Fee (fall semester only)||400||400|
|Rooms & Fees||9,210||0|
|Books/Supplies & Miscellaneous||2,400||2,400|
|Rent||US$5,175-48,000 per month||US$11,510-52550 per month|
|Food||US$2,994 per month||US$3,573 per month|
|Transport||US$41.25 per month||US$100 per month|
|Internet||US$45-50 per month||US$45-75 per month|
Many US universities require first-year students to live on campus because it makes the transition to college life more comfortable. It’s slim pickings for the rest of the students. In other words, dorms fill up quickly, so you must apply early.
Add to that the fact that campus housing applications are separate from the college admission form, and that some universities, such as CMU, use a randomly generated lottery number for housing, and the process becomes even more stringent.
Off-campus housing options are more plentiful than on-campus housing options, and students can apply for off-campus housing at any time that is convenient for them.
The majority of college campuses have security guards. There is some form of security available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, choosing campus housing provides you with the benefit of security and safety. An off-campus apartment, on the other hand, will necessitate one sacrifice. You can either find an affordable rental with no round-the-clock security or pay an arm and a leg to find one with.
When you consider that most campuses have at least basic medical services, they become even more secure.
On-campus living entails sharing a room with at least one other person. It is possible to have two or more. It also implies that you are always supervised by a RA (Resident Assistant). You must adhere to the dorm’s rules (read: curfew time) and work around the schedule of the communal bathroom.
Off-campus rooms or accommodation in US do not have these drawbacks. You have the option of not having a roommate. You can even have your own bathroom. There are no rules about how late you can stay out. This is useful if you have a part-time job. Furthermore, the flats are much quieter. In a nutshell, off-campus housing provides greater privacy.
When it comes to studying, the student decides which is better: on-campus or off-campus accommodation in US. If you prefer privacy and pin-drop silence, a rented room, flat, or house is the best option. If you learn better in groups, then campus housing is the better option.
Which is the best place for Indian students to stay in the United States?
The factors discussed above are the most important factors to consider when deciding between on-campus and off-campus housing, but two more things should be mentioned.
Because you live with friends and have no time constraints, social life is far more active in off-campus housing. Furthermore, living away from school allows you to develop into a capable adult. You are responsible for every household decision or chore. Yes, it adds a little more work to your plate, but it is a life lesson that will pay off exponentially in the future.
However, if you are receiving a scholarship or grant, chances are it will not cover off-campus housing costs (check with the entity providing the financial aid). Furthermore, if you are a freshman (first-time college student), the structure provided by on-campus residences is impressive. A dorm may be the best option for freshmen.
As a result, the suitability of a type of accommodation in US will differ from college to college and depending on your preferences. Because determining the best type of accommodation is difficult, we recommend that you choose the housing option that corresponds to the majority of your preferences.
At ForeignAdmits, we understand how important this decision is. We are here to help you every step of the way, from finding the right school to getting admitted and securing scholarships.
ForeignAdmits have a team of experienced counselors who can provide you with customized guidance based on your individual needs contact us today to get started. We look forward to helping you achieve your educational and career goals!