Housing & Living Abroad
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Housing and Your Well-being
While you’ll spend a lot of time abroad exploring new cities, searching for the best cafes, and immersing yourself in local culture, you're probably looking forward to having a home base through your CEA CAPA housing. As you start planning for your time abroad, it’s important to consider how your living environment abroad may differ from what you’re used to, and how that intersects with your wellbeing. Below are question prompts to get you thinking about your living environment abroad:
- What is your current living situation? Do you live with your family, with roommates, on campus, or by yourself? How might your living situation abroad differ?
- What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate with respect to your housing abroad? How will you adapt to having roommates, living with a host family, or living by yourself?
- Think about how your health and well-being needs influence your living environment, such as allergies, dietary restrictions, or religious observations. Do you receive housing services or accommodations through your home campus’ accessibility office?
What to Expect: Housing, Commute, and Community
Student housing abroad typically looks different than what you may be used to in the U.S. Unlike most college campuses, CEA CAPA does not own or manage student housing. We work within local housing networks to carefully identify housing partners, vendors, and host families that can offer students an authentic living experience. This means that in many locations, you have a unique opportunity to live like a local! Housing options may include:
- Residence Halls & Residencias
- Foyers & Studios
- Extended Stay Hotels
Here are some things you can anticipate with CEA CAPA housing:
- Apartment sizes, layouts, and amenities will vary. An authentic living experience likely means downsizing. Like any major city, space is at a premium. This means, bedroom size, living space, kitchen, and even washing machine may be smaller than you're used to.
- Example: many on-campus housing facilities use similar layouts for each of their room types. Each type (as listed above) will have its own distinct features, layouts, and amenities.
- Whether you’re living in your own studio, staying with a host family, or sharing an apartment with your CEA CAPA peers, you’ll encounter new people on a regular basis throughout your time abroad. Your neighbors, host family, or flat mates may have different lifestyles, values, racial or ethnic backgrounds, religious customs, or gender identities. Being part of the CEA CAPA community means embracing diversity and individuals of all backgrounds and identities.
- Meal plans, where available, may offer less variety in options, or less flexibility to be adapted for specific dietary needs.
- Example: In the U.S., certain dietary needs have become commonplace, leading to alternative food options being readily available. This may not be the case abroad. If you have specific needs, consider these when identifying your housing preferences and contact your CEA CAPA Advisor if you have questions about whether your needs can be accommodated in your preferred housing.
- Remember to share any health-related dietary needs on your Health Information Form and/or in your housing application.
Climate and Weather
- Living abroad may mean living in a different climate and experiencing different social norms for responding to that climate.
- Example: Some CEA CAPA destinations are prone to periods of high humidity. However, air conditioning isn't common given most of the year has cooler months. Although public spaces may have air conditioning, you shouldn't expect this in your program housing.
Commute and Community
- CEA CAPA insists that all individuals are treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity and does not discriminate against any individual.
- Your housing is an important part of your experience studying abroad, and we encourage you to embrace these differences as a unique opportunity to live like a local! And of course, you’ll have access to support through the CEA CAPA onsite team should you have any housing concerns during your time abroad.
- Commuting to classes or your internship abroad may take up to 60 minutes, and at the majority of CEA CAPA destinations, it isn't uncommon to rely on public transportation or pedestrian commuter routes.
For more specific information about the housing options available in your program location, check out your program’s webpage, the online portal, or contact your advisor. If you'd like to know more about what to expect in your program housing, or if you have specific requests or accommodations that you'd like considered, please reach out to your CEA CAPA Advisor as early as possible so we can discuss this with you. While we can never guarantee housing preferences or accommodation requests, the sooner we know what you need, the more support and guidance we can provide.
Community Guidelines and Participant Policies
It is the responsibility of each participant to review the CEA CAPA Participant Policies and Community Guidelines for the most current information as policies are subject to change. To participate in a CEA CAPA program, you must agree to follow the CEA CAPA policies.
Accommodation Requests and Dietary Needs
- Participants can request specific residential life accommodations during the pre-departure process. You will be provided with a form, upon request, which you will need to complete and submit along with the required documentation to support the request. CEA CAPA is committed to investigating reasonable accommodations in a program location; however, we cannot guarantee accommodations will be available or met in the same way as on your campus.
- Participants are responsible for their own dietary needs and are strongly encouraged to share those, and any allergies, with CEA CAPA on the Health Information Form and/or housing application.
- Reach out to your CEA CAPA Advisor to discuss the accommodation you receive on your home campus and/or to connect with a member of the Health, Safety and Student Affairs Team.
Cultural Adaptation and Engagement
- CEA CAPA provides helpful pre-departure information and comprehensive orientations upon arrival. At orientations participants will meet CEA CAPA onsite staff, other program participants, and receive important information on the host culture.
- Engaging with the culture in your “home away from home” is one of the most enjoyable but sometimes challenging aspects of living in a new culture. CEA CAPA offers a variety of activities and events that can aid in your connection to the host city and culture. Whether attending a ballet performance in Rome or Volunteering at an organic farm in San José, there's something for all interests.
- From volunteer placements that last the duration of the program to one-off opportunities, there's no shortage of ways to get involved in a cause you're passionate about or help others in need.
Cultural Engagement Activities
- Cooking workshops, fútbol matches, museum exhibits, and hiking are just some of the possible experiences that help participants engage with and absorb the culture of their new city.
- From daytrips to nearby destinations like castles, wineries, coffee farms, and quaint towns, to overnight trips to more distant locations, participants may choose to engage in an excursion planned by CEA CAPA staff to gain a more holistic perspective of the local culture and program destination.
CEA CAPA believes participant success studying abroad is predicated on a participants academic, emotional, and logistical preparation. As mentioned previously, CEA CAPA offers a variety of resources and assistance including comprehensive orientations prior to departure. If at any time you need assistance while abroad, onsite staff are available to support. You should never hesitate to reach out to CEA CAPA for yourself or on behalf of your peers.