WHERE WILL YOU LIVE?

One of the first practical matters you’ll have to deal with after you arrive in the United States is finding a place to live. It’s great to have a helping hand, and your host organization will be happy to assist in your housing search – so be sure to ask! The organization can help by:

  • Asking team members if they know of any apartments that might be available
  • Answering questions about local housing
  • Connecting you with local real estate agents and/or housing owners
  • Providing links to local websites that list housing options
  • Checking “For Rent” sections of local newspapers and sharing what they find
  • Offering advice on which areas of town to focus on

Finding a place of your own

Finances

Having your own place to live will make you part of the local population and give you a sense of belonging to a community. Travel around the area and try to get a feel for various neighborhoods – someplace where you feel safe, that’s convenient to shopping and transit, and where it will be enjoyable to spend your off-work hours. And, of course, you’ll want to pay attention to how long it will take to get to your workplace and how much rent will cost.

Some CIEE interns rent their own apartments. Others share with one or more roommates – a good way to save money, make new friends, and share experiences. It’s even possible that a colleague might be looking for a roommate.

Don’t put down a deposit before you’ve actually seen the apartment. Once you’ve decided on a suitable place, it’s important to sign a rental agreement, which defines the terms of the lease, including rent amount and dates, and protects the tenant and landlord. Only written information on a rental agreement signed by both tenant and landlord makes an official legal contract.

Resources for apartment seekers

There are many websites available for apartment hunters, including:

  • Apartmentlist.com
    Searches by neighborhood, with lots of filtering options
  • Apartments.com
    Apartment listings by state and city; this service also has apps for iPhone and Android devices
  • Roommates.com
    Connects people who are looking for roommates; it’s likely that the roommate will be an American, and this is a great way to enhance cultural exchange
  • Airbnb.com
    Mostly offers short-term stays in private apartments, but it also lists monthly rentals
  • Facebook.com
    CIEE Internship USA on Facebook can help you find other interns looking for roommates

The internet makes it easy to find apartments, but beware of housing scams that involve suspiciously low rents, wiring money, or giving cash to strangers. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Other resources:

University bulletin boards

Many campuses have bulletin boards where students post notices looking for roommates.

Newspaper classifieds

Sunday editions usually have the most listings.