A. Employer or University Provided Housing
The first step, prior to seeking accommodations on your own, is to reach out to your global employer or host university to ask if they provide housing. If they do not, ask if they have any recommendations for housing, knowledge of where previous Northeastern students have lived in prior terms, or have any resources on hand regarding what to look for or avoid in the housing search process. Keep in mind, it is likely that your employer or university will be more knowledgeable about the specific area than yourself (unless you are from this country!) or OCHSS. This is why you should utilize the organization or institution as a first resource!
If your employer or university does not provide housing or has very limited housing resources, there are other types of accommodations you can secure and resources you can use. Read more about in-country resources, how to be connected to Huskies who have had experiences in that country before, using third parties to find international housing, and the different types of housing to research.
C. Types of International Housing
A furnished or unfurnished apartment (sometimes referred to as a flat) is what you may be most familiar with. Keep in mind that when going abroad, a furnished apartment will likely be easiest to work with. It’s likely that you could have your own room (or a shared room), with shared common spaces such as a kitchen, living room, and/or bathroom.
Dorm-style student housing may be available, even if it’s not at the university you’re studying or co-oping at. There may be universities nearby that offer on-campus or off-campus accommodations, and OCHSS can help you find these. Northeastern University has affiliations with universities globally, and these universities may offer housing options for you while abroad. Additionally, there may be non-university affiliated student housing organizations as well.
Homestays are accommodations in which you live in the residence of a local “host” family. Homestays can be a helpful way to truly immerse yourself in the culture of the country, learn the native language, and meet people that know the area incredibly well. Homestays should only be arranged through a known and trusted homestay agency.
Hostels are inexpensive lodging facilities for travelers and typically have dormitory style sleeping arrangements, sometimes offering meals and planned activities. Hostels can be a budget-friendly option for temporary housing until you find more long-term arrangements, or for side trips that you may plan outside of your scheduled international program. Hostels are generally not recommended for long-term stays given the limited amount of private space and security.
Home sharing, such as Airbnb, is likely an option you’re familiar with as well. Through Airbnb, you can reserve another person’s place for a short period of time often for much less than a hotel. Airbnb also has options
to filter for sublets and long-term rentals that could be ideal for the length of your program. As always, read reviews, look for “Super Hosts,” know what’s included, and take note of the cancellation policy. Oftentimes, the accommodations through Airbnb are furnished apartments (though there are range of other types of accommodations, such as whole houses or single rooms). See below for special tips if you choose the home-sharing route:
|Planning to secure housing through a home sharing company (ie. Airbnb) while abroad? Use these tips!|
|BEFORE YOU BOOK
· Homesharing is NOT couch surfing. Even if you have friends in the country you’re headed to, securing your OWN space is the safest and most reliable option. Do NOT couch surf!
· Pay close attention to what is included and what is not in the rental. We recommend renting the entire apartment vs. sharing a home with someone you don’t know.
· Ask questions about the safety features of the home/room:
o Are there smoke/carbon monoxide detectors?
o Ask if the unit has an electronic lock and prioritize locations with electronic locks over those with residential lock and keys.
o Ask about exterior lighting, cameras, and security/front desk staff.
o Read prior reviews of the property with a focus on safety and security.
· Ask questions about the local area.
· Research local travel alerts and warnings using My Travel Plans.
· Read the cancellation policy carefully – they can vary tremendously.
· Look at the host’s profile verification and reviews. According to Airbnb, a “Super Host” is an “experienced host who provides a shining example for other hosts and extraordinary experiences for their guests.”
· Take a close look at the neighborhood and surrounding community on the internet (Google Earth is a great tool!), and ask yourself questions like:
o Is it located within a residential area?
o Is there a nearby grocery store or park where you can read reviews about safety considerations?
· If you have doubts about the location or concerns about the host’s reliability, trust your instincts and look for another alternative.
|AFTER YOU BOOK
· As always, enter these accommodations (and flights or other transportation to get there) into My Travel Plans on myNortheastern.
· Let family/an supervisor know exactly where you’ll be staying—including the address and the host’s name and contact information. Additionally, let them know when you plan to arrive. Once you arrive, let them know.
· If you schedule a meeting with the host, agree only to do so in a public place during daylight.
· Avoid arriving at the lodging initially late at night.
· Have a charged cell phone and know or have programmed in your phone the emergency telephone number for local law enforcement response.
· Once you have arrived at the apartment or lodging, take a look around with safety and security in mind. Look in the closets and adjoining rooms.