From the storage space your CEA housing will include to the ideals and values of the culture surrounding you, the differences you’ll encounter living abroad exist at all levels.
Resize Your Expectations
When thinking of your housing abroad, think small. Rooms, closets, kitchens, etc. are smaller abroad than they are in North America, so be sure to take this in account when you’re packing.
- No additional storage exists for your luggage – expect to store your suitcase/s in the same place you keep your clothes. Pack light!
- Your bed most likely will be a single-sized bed – a bit smaller than the standard twin that you’re familiar with – and based on your destination, could be a bunk-bed.
- We’re serious when we say your bedroom/housing will be smaller. Internationally, gathering with friends takes place more commonly outside the home and as such, residences are smaller and more intimate.
Don’t Waste Resources
Just like here at home, it’s important to turn off water sources, lights, TVs and other electronics abroad when they are not in use. Rates for these utilities are higher abroad than in North America. Keep in mind, many cultures abroad tend to be much more mindful of wasted resources than back at home, so think green!
International Standards ≠ U.S. & Canadian Standards
The life you’ll discover abroad greatly differs from the life you’re used to back home – embrace this! Exploring new ways and paces of life is one of study abroad’s most beautiful attributes, as you truly experience what it’s like to be a local in a different country.
Some differences you’ll encounter:
- Dishwashers are not common, so prepare to wash by hand
- Clothes dryers are very rare – you’ll most likely be hanging your clothes to dry on a clothes line
- Air conditioning is not available in many housing options, markets, stores, etc.
- Hanging out with friends occurs more frequently in a city square or coffee shop rather than inside your residence
- Walking and using public transportation becomes a common activity in your everyday life
Be prepared to live outside of your comfort zone! It’s part of the fun and adventure of your entire experience, and although it may be challenging at times, it’s well worth it.
Stay tuned for part two of Housing Uncovered: What to Expect When Living Abroad, available later this week. We're giving away answers to some of our most common FAQ's - you won't want to miss it!
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