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Santa Clara University

Housing While Abroad

It can be expensive and stressful to move, but with ample time and planning, you can reduce your costs and stress. Be sure to craft your housing plan for before and after you study abroad early to avoid feeling pressure to continue to pay for rent here at home. Program fees only cover housing abroad, so if you do anticipate that rent at home will be an additional expense for you, be sure to account for domestic rent costs in your budget. If the option is available to you, consider living with family or friends short-term before you leave, or upon your return to save money.

SCU On-Campus Housing: 

The opportunity to study abroad is an awesome experience. That being said, the downside is not having priority to having a favored accommodation or roommate upon return to Santa Clara. Students going abroad have the option to have an "anchor" on campus whilst abroad.  Anchors are only optional in double rooms. The human who stays for the quarter the student is abroad pays for the room at the single rate and SCU Housing places the abroad resident in the space as "HELD".

SCU Housing reaches out to students periodically via email to see if they are still interested in on-campus housing. Be sure to keep an eye out for their communications and respond accordingly, especially if you anticipate that you are studying abroad. 

If you have any questions about housing at SCU while you are studying abroad, please contact housing: 

SCU Off-Campus Housing: 

If you plan to live in off-campus housing, be sure that your future lease agreement will allow for a sublet. Many off-campus housing options start pre-leasing for Fall as early as Mid-March. There are Off-Campus Housing resources to connect with the Santa Clara University community to explore housing options.

Need to find someone to sublease your room?

We suggest connecting on Facebook via the Student Facebook Housing Group early on to begin promoting your subleasing opportunity. In this Facebook group, you will be able to post your inquiry to the wider Santa Clara University community, which will reach students beyond just the study abroad student population and increase your chances of finding someone to sublease your room. You may also create a flyer and send it to for us to promote to study abroad students in our newsletter, or chat with other study abroad students at our Region Meet N Greet events.

Housing Options While Abroad: 

Santa Clara University requires study abroad students to reside in housing provided by program providers and host institutions as detailed in the housing section of their program's SCU Digital Brochure, unless specified otherwise (some programs do require students to arrange their own housing).

Housing Options: Housing options abroad vary from program to program, but generally will either include shared apartments, residence halls, or home-stays. Students may utilize the program contact list if they have any questions about the housing options on a program. 

Housing Costs: Basic housing accommodations are included in the program fees for all SCU-approved study or intern abroad programs. If students select non-standard accommodations or fail to submit a housing application by the deadline, they are responsible for paying the difference in cost out of pocket.

Housing Stipends: For students studying abroad on programs that require them to arrange their own housing, their housing costs will be covered in the form of a stipend. The student will receive a credit to their Bursar’s account, not in the form of a check, to cover the cost of housing abroad. Stipends are based on the average cost of standard housing in the specific program and location.

Pros & Cons of Different Housing Options Abroad


If you go abroad to study language or if you are interested in the culture of the country you are studying in then host family is an excellent option. You have your own room but share bathrooms and other spaces with family members. Breakfast and dinner are often included, so you save both time and money and get the chance to try the local food. You can practice your language skills at dinner, and through the family, it is easier to get to know the locals. 

Pros of staying in a homestay

  • You get a better insight into the local culture
  • You can improve your language skills by talking to your family
  • You get a social context in your new country where the family can introduce you to people
  • You get food, so you do not have to cook yourself or budget as much for food costs

Cons of staying in a homestay

  • You must show consideration for your family. For example, let them know in advance if you can not come home for dinner and be quiet if you come home late in the evening.
  • If you are studying in a centrally located school in a big city, you may have to commute since some host families may not live in the city center.

A student residence hall or dormitory often consist of corridors with more or less identical rooms where many other students live. Usually, you have your own lockable room, and sometimes you also have a private bathroom. Otherwise, you share a kitchen, bathroom and other common areas with other students.

Pros of staying in a dormitory

  • Dormitories are usually located on campus
  • You have more privacy than in a shared apartment (unless you share a room with another student), but it is easy to meet friends in the common areas

Cons of staying in a student residence

  • Dormitories sometimes have a curfew
  • You are usually not allowed to have guests staying in your room

A shared apartment or shared house is a popular type of student accommodation. It is offered by many language schools and colleges around the world. You live in a furnished apartment with several bedrooms. You either have your own room or share a room with another student. Then you share bathroom, kitchen and other common areas with the other students who live in the apartment.

Pros of staying in a shared apartment

  • It is easy to make new friends and get to know the people you live with
  • There are usually not so many rules when you live in a shared apartment

Cons of staying in a shared apartment

  • There is a risk that you don’t get along with the people that you share the apartment with
  • There is not always a lock on the individual rooms, and you will have less privacy than in most other accommodation options