Housing options vary across the U.S., so some of the following options may not be available where you will intern or train. Consider how much you are willing to spend, if you wish to live alone or with others, and how far you are willing to commute each day. In addition to reading the following information, you can visit our website for more housing resources and guidance.
Renting an apartment by yourself will provide you with the most freedom; however, it can also be very expensive.
A cost-efficient way to live in a large city like New York is to share an apartment with other people. You agree to divide responsibilities and payment of rent and bills. You may have your own bedroom or a shared bedroom, depending on the share arrangement.
Subletting is when you take over an apartment lease from a tenant who leaves for a few months or longer. You assume the responsibilities of paying rent and bills and the original tenant assumes all responsibilities under the lease. If considering a sublet, ask if the tenants have the legal right to sublet the apartment; if not, you may need to move earlier than intended.
Dormitory-style apartments and university housing have a greater sense of community and social interaction, typically requiring you to share a bedroom and bathroom with other individuals. Most dormitories also provide essential housing needs, such as furnished rooms, internet access, kitchen and laundry facilities, and, in some cases, even meals.
- Homestays offer the opportunity to improve language skills and sample American culture by living with a U.S. family. You will typically have your own bedroom and arrange to take an allotted number of meals with the family each week. Use a reputable homestay provider who has thoroughly vetted the homestay hosts.
- Hostels are great for temporary accommodation while you look for long-term housing. Hostels typically require you to share a bedroom and bathroom with other residents, but they also provide opportunities to meet other young people and make friends.
Start by talking to your host employer about the city or neighborhood where you will be working and the neighborhoods they recommend: What are the best websites, newspapers, or other resources people in the area use to find housing?
Refer to some of the websites we have compiled, which may help in your search.
Once you identify a potential apartment, schedule a viewing before signing anything, and remember to bring the Housing Checklist that was provided in your acceptance packet.
Finding Roommates: Roommates can be found through word of mouth once you arrive in the U.S. or through websites such as Roommates.com or Roomster.com. Craigslist.org also has a section specifically for rooms and shared apartments. This is a great place to look if you want to live with roommates or rent a room only and not search for your own apartment.
Roommate Agreement: Before finalizing your housing situation, it’s a good idea to sit down with your roommate(s) to discuss apartment/house rules and delegate responsibilities. Some examples include how space will be shared, costs of sharing household items and cable/internet, and rules about guests and boyfriends or girlfriends. Some roommates will write a "roommate contract." We recommend that you agree upon these types of decisions before signing a lease together.
Roommate Conflicts: Even if you get along well with your roommates and abide by your house rules, conflicts can always come up. It’s important to communicate with your roommates to avoid escalating a problem. You can also contact InterExchange for advice regarding a housing conflict.
There are a lot of housing scams, especially on the internet, so you must conduct your housing search carefully. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. If you absolutely must secure long-term housing before arriving in the U.S., it is recommended that you look for an established university or residence facility rather than an individual apartment owner.
Please make sure to read the instructions first about what to include in the report.
You can also visit the following websites for tips on avoiding fraud:
Know your rights and what you’ve agreed to - read your lease!
- U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
- HousingNYC.com and NYC.gov (specific to New York City)
Safety should be a high priority when looking for housing. It is recommended that you visit a neighborhood before moving there. You should also visit websites like City-Data for information on crime statistics, median income, and other factors.
- Is there easy access to public transit?
- Will you need a bike or are most things within walking distance?
- Will you need a car?
- Learn more about U.S. transportation options
Find out which utilities (heat, electricity, water, cooking gas, cable, internet, etc.) you are responsible for paying, as it will vary from apartment to apartment. You can get a list of local utility and cable companies from your landlord.
Cable, internet, and phone services can often be purchased together from one company. Assess what is most important to have at home before buying a monthly package, as they can be expensive. Ask your colleagues what is typical for your host city in terms of securing utilities.
Average monthly cost of housing really depends on location, the type of housing, and what is included (furniture, utilities, etc.).
A security deposit (equal to one month’s rent or more) as well as the first and sometimes the last month’s rent are due when you sign your lease.
Often, a one- or two-year lease is required when renting an apartment, but depending on your selected housing arrangement, you may be able to negotiate a shorter lease or a month-by-month lease. This is important in case you need to leave the U.S. early — there may be a fee for leaving before your lease ends, so be sure to discuss this before signing a lease or housing agreement.
You will be able to find both furnished and unfurnished housing options in the U.S. A furnished room or apartment will often be more expensive, but it can also help to reduce the costs of purchasing furniture and apartment necessities after you arrive.
If you need to furnish your apartment, you can find inexpensive furniture and kitchen supplies at places like Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea, K-Mart, and similar stores.
For more details, links, and frequently asked questions, please visit our housing guide.
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