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Housing Uncovered: What to Expect When Living Abroad Part II

  The suspense is over! You can scoot back from the edge of your chair and give that finger nail biting a break, as part two of Housing Abroad: What to Expect When Living Abroad has finally arrived.

As promised, we've disclosed answers to some of our most common housing FAQ's that will surely alleviate any insecurities you may have about living abroad.

So without further ado, some tricky CEA housing queries to ponder:

Are housing options similar for every CEA destination?

  • Each CEA location has different housing options. To view the housing options for your program, follow these steps:
o    Hover over the “Explore Program” tab in the top, left corner
o    Click on your city of interest
o    Select “Housing” on the left-hand menu
Q. Do all housing options have the same style?
Most likely, no. CEA houses students in different buildings and in different neighborhoods of the city. The housing is carefully chosen and is suitable for students; however, each apartment and each building will have its own particular style, features, and ambiance.
Q. How are housing roommates selected?
  • When completing your housing application, you’ll be able to browse other program participants of the same gender as potential roommates
  • You can request to live with other students who you’re interested in living with – either someone you know or someone you don’t
  • If you don’t know anyone going abroad, that’s okay! Our housing application asks you questions about your lifestyle, interests and personality, and our international staff will work to match like-minded students together
  • Housing Insider’s Tip: If you don’t know anyone going abroad on your program, it’s better to leave the roommate matching to international staff. General feedback from past programs reveals that students enjoy their roommates when left up to staff – they get along well!

Q. I don’t know anyone and I am nervous I will feel alone. How do I meet other CEA students?

  • Many CEA students travel abroad without knowing anyone; you are not alone! There are many ways to meet other CEA students, including orientations and tours during the first week, weekly cultural activities, sporting events, and other local events our students are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Check out the “Cultural Activities” and “Local Secrets” tabs on our website city pages.
Q. What will my commute to class be like?
  • All of our housing options are both safe and well-articulated to public transportation
  • Expect a commute time of anywhere from 20-50 minutes to get to class. (Exact timing depends on location and method of transportation)
  • For most CEA locations, transportation costs are not included in the program price. Be sure to budget accordingly.
  • There are several reasons why students commute:
    • Unlike American universities, most foreign universities do not have “on-campus” living. It is common for local students to live at home and commute to campus each day.
    • Housing near your host university is competitive and is rarely available for CEA to rent.
    • Many CEA housing options are scattered throughout the cities to help students have a cultural experience abroad and live like locals!
Q. Does my CEA housing have Internet?
  • Yes, Internet is provided in CEA housing, but the bandwidth, connection speed and connection methods may be different or more limited than you’re used to. Internet strength and speed differ between and within housing options. For example, in some apartments, you’ll have Internet access from your common living area but not from your bedroom. Take note, wireless Internet might not be as readily available in all locations.
Q. What are the different kitchen types and what are their differences?
  •  Equipped:a fully-equipped kitchen with a sink, pots, pans, cups, dishes, utensils, a stove, in most cases an oven, a refrigerator and storage space.
o    Although you can expect to have kitchen supplies comparable to North American standards, kitchen space is limited, appliances tend to be smaller and cookware is very basic
  •  Kitchenette:a small space with a sink, some dishes, cups and utensils, either a microwave, mini-oven or hot plate, small storage area and in most cases a small refrigerator
  • Limited:a small space with perhaps a sink, some dishes, cups and utensils. In homestays or residencias, there may be limited hours/resources available to students as the host family may be providing some of the meals
Q. What do I do if I have a maintenance request in my housing?
Let your local CEA staff know as soon as possible – email them or stop by the local CEA office. Your CEA Site Specialist in the U.S. can do a lot of things, but fixing appliances in say, Shanghai is not one of them. But your local CEA staff is there to help you when you encounter any speed bumps, and will try to get things fixed as soon as possible
Keep in mind that there are peak times, like shortly after all students arrive for the new semester, when the local staff may be handling many requests, so please be patient. While the processes for repairs differ by housing option and by city, remember CEA staff is always there to support you through any necessary repairs during your time abroad.
Q. What kind of safety precautions can I take when living in my housing abroad?
Most cities in which CEA has programs have lower crime rates than the U.S., often much lower. However, crime exists everywhere, even in nice residential neighborhoods. Your best resource and aid in keeping safe is having common sense. 
  • Remember to keep your doors locked at all times
  • Don’t let strangers into your building
  • Be observant and aware of your surroundings
Following tips like these will help you to have a safe and enjoyable study abroad experience. Keep in mind, health and safety is an integral component of your on-site orientation, and topics specific to your city will be discussed in more depth.
Q. How do I indicate my housing preferences? 
  • All students are required to complete the online housing application (or paper application as determined by the program) no later than the application closure date.
  • On the online housing application students will answer personality/lifestyle questions, request roommates, and indicate any special requests.
  • While CEA tries their best to honor housing preferences, CEA cannot promise or guarantee preferences.
  • After the Housing Application closure date, housing preferences are final.
Q.   Are single rooms available?
  • Sometimes, CEA housing includes single bedrooms. However, single rooms are rare and may be available upon request in the housing application (additional charges may apply).
  • If you have a medical condition that warrants a single bedroom, please notify your CEA Site Specialist immediately and indicate this request in the housing application.

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