Study Abroad Reflections
Different study abroad programs offer different types of housing, which can be something to consider when choosing a program. To help you compare the various options, Northwestern students reflect on their housing experiences abroad.
"My homestay with a large family in Amman, Jordan was integral to gaining a deeper cultural experience during my study abroad experience. My family was a source of help for homework, regular community meals, and cultural wisdom that would have been impossible to find elsewhere. In between raising several children and cooking for ten, they found time in their routine to encourage my linguistic growth and cultural appreciation. Adapting to and learning from their lifestyle enabled me to feel like a part of the community, which was one of my ultimate goals for studying abroad."
"In my Northwestern program, I stayed with other Northwestern students in a college dormitory in Barcelona. I enjoyed the autonomy afforded to me by living in a college dormitory as opposed to a home-stay. That being said, I did have to be more intentional and direct about seeking friendships and connections with locals, as I didn't have a host (and thus immediate) connection to Spanish locals!"
"While studying abroad in Korea, I stayed in a goshiwon, which is basically a very small room that either includes a bathroom or has a communal one for the floor, because it was extremely inexpensive and very convenient for its location near campus. Staying at a goshiwon allowed me to meet people from all over the world and get tips on where to shop and places to go. I was also responsible for cooking my own meals, which has its own challenges, especially since many Korean homes do not have ovens and other appliances that are more common in America."
"It was not easy trying to find an apartment in Paris, especially with all the specific details we had in mind. We were trying to look for a reasonably priced apartment within walking distance from our school. We used Airbnb, and it was nice at first since we could look through the images and amenities. However, it’s important to keep in mind that hosts can cancel your booking if something comes up – which can get pretty stressful if you have to find another apartment last-minute. In terms of living on our own, it was nice because we could use the kitchen freely and explore things like farmers markets and local supermarkets."
"I like to think I had the best of both worlds: I lived in a Kollegium, which is a Danish dorm, full time with other Danish and international college students but I also had a visiting host family. This meant that I was able to experience the whole spectrum of cultural immersion from cooking in our shared kitchen with my Danish floor mates to visiting the zoo with my two younger host sisters. I developed an incredible group of friends while also having the support of the most welcoming, caring, and loving host family whenever I felt unsure or stressed."
"As we moved around Australia, we were in a new housing situation every few days, from ritzy, suite-style apartments in Sydney to old, ‘summer camp style’ cabins in the Daintree Rainforest. Living together the entire experience, we grew very close over our time there. All our travel and ‘unique’ housing led us to become a group of twenty best friends on the adventure of a lifetime."