Unhoused Students

To our students who have experienced housing insecurity, we recognize that you encounter a variety of challenges, obstacles, and issues related to pursuing higher education while lacking sufficient housing. We hope these obstacles do not stop you from pursuing additional educational opportunities that may help you achieve personal, academic, and professional goals. 

Housing Options Available through Global Learning Programs

Across our many different programs, there are as many different housing options to suit your needs. Some housing options are program-arranged, meaning the program administrator will assign you to a specific housing option, whereas other programs offer the option to self-arrange, meaning you are able to choose from a variety of housing options with the help of program staff. For any of these housing options, you can find more information on the program page. 


During a homestay, you live with a local family who has opened their doors to students studying in your host community. As such, during your homestay, you might be placed with other students in the same residence who are also studying abroad. Generally, students have a private bedroom (although some homestays may have multiple students per room with their own bed). You will share common spaces with your host family including the bathroom, kitchen, and other living areas. 

During a homestay, 1-3 meals are usually included (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a combination), which allows you to engage with your host family over home-cooked meals. Many homestay families may even allow you to buy your own groceries and cook, although you should ask your homestay family about their policy for using the kitchen.

In this type of accommodation, you are expected to follow the rules of the household. These rules may range from curfews to house guests, and policies for using household appliances.

While homestays are sometimes a more cost-friendly option, families may live quite a distance from your host university or learning facility, so you may have to spend additional time and money on local transportation. Overall, living with a host family is a great way to make meaningful local connections. Your hosts will have experience with students and can help you assimilate to the local culture. A homestay can also be an excellent way to learn the local language and engage in cultural immersion.


Living in an apartment while studying abroad or away allows you to enjoy more freedom and independence than staying in a dorm or living with a host family. Some apartment options are program-arranged so you don’t get to choose your location within the host community but others are self-arranged in which you will secure housing with more flexibility on the location with help of program staff. For some program-arranged apartments, you may be assigned to live with other students on your program. There is usually no meal plan, but you have access to a shared kitchen. Some programs offer single accommodations. Also, private apartments can be more expensive as you may need to pay for a deposit (which would be returned to you after your program ends pending any damage caused to the accommodation), rent, utilities, wifi, and other bills (including groceries). 

While living in an apartment grants you more freedom in your host community, depending on who you are living with, it may impede you from more meaningful cultural engagement and interactions with locals (unless you live with locals, of course). By living with a host family or even in dorms, you may have more of a community to help guide you through the cultural transitions you will experience abroad, but in an apartment, you may have to put in extra effort to learn about the host culture and build meaningful relationships.


By living in a dormitory, you will be able to not just engage with other international students, but also with local students. While not all programs offer this housing option to study abroad or exchange students, identifying a program that offers student dormitories is a great way to acclimate to campus life abroad or away and make new friends. 

The variety of dorm options varies widely. You may either have a private room or a shared room with other roommates. Typically, there are common areas in this type of accommodation such as study spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas that can serve as meeting places for you, your roommates, and classmates. 

Costs for dorms may also vary widely so be sure to inquire on the housing cost when considering this program option. Meal plans may also be provided by living in a dorm but are not guaranteed. 

Student Residences 

Some program options may allow you to stay in global student residences. Student residences are similar to dormitories because only enrolled students are allowed to stay in the accommodation, but they are usually located off-campus. Housing options for this type of accommodation may include a private residence or shared residence. They often come with many amenities including but not limited to indoor and outdoor common areas with games rooms and TV rooms, gyms, laundry rooms, kitchens, terraces, and even swimming pools. 

These accommodations may offer more modern buildings than those offered in dormitories. The student residence may even feature community activities such as game nights, walking tours, and much more. You can view an example student residence offered on our Psychology and Cognitive Science Global Internship program here.

Hotels and Hostels

Living at a hotel or hostel during a global learning program is not very common, but sometimes may occur due to the length of the program and the variety of locations you may travel to as part of the program. For example, if you are participating in a program that goes to various cities and locations within your host country, you may be placed in hotels and/or hostels since you will only be in a location for a short duration. You may choose to stay in this type of accommodation if you go on personal travel trips to other cities or countries during your program.

A hotel or hostel abroad or away may offer fully furnished workspaces, linens and towels, high-speed wifi, cleaning services, indoor and outdoor spaces, laundry facilities, gym, games area, bike rentals, and 24-hour onsite security. Rooms are often double occupancy, with two students sharing a room and bathroom, but it will depend on the program. Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.

UC Washington Center

If you participate in the UCDC Washington Program, you will stay at the UC Washington Center, a modern 11-story complex located near DuPont Circle, in the heart of Washington, D.C. 

The Center offers mostly-furnished suite accommodations for participating students. Each suite consists of two bedrooms and common areas (bathroom, kitchen, and living room). Students are assigned to share a bedroom with another student, and there are 4 students total in each residence. The suites come fully stocked with kitchen and cookware. The Center also hosts a fitness center, mailroom, computer lab, study rooms, lecture halls, recreational room, patio, and a lobby.

You can learn more about this accommodation by visiting our website here.

Housing options vary greatly and each housing type has variations. We encourage you to look at the housing information specific to the program you are interested in for more details.

Paying for Housing

Housing costs are usually included in a program budget. Please refer to your program budget to determine how much you will pay for housing during your program.

As a UC student, regardless of your housing situation, you have the financial resources and academic support to study abroad or away. Did you know that for UC study abroad or away programs, your financial aid package goes with you and is redesigned to meet program costs? What this means is that regardless of where you go in the world, under a UC study abroad or away program your financial aid will be packaged according to the cost of your program and you should receive the about same percentage of financial aid that you receive while attending UC Santa Cruz. You can request an estimate for how much aid you can expect to receive on a program before you even apply. Learn more on our website here. Once you receive an estimate, you can make a program budget to determine out-of-pocket costs and plan accordingly. There are many study abroad and away scholarships to apply to. Look for scholarships ahead of time, make note of deadlines, and apply to any and all scholarships that you qualify for!

Securing Housing After your Program

In planning your return to Santa Cruz, finding housing may be difficult, especially if you are returning during winter or spring quarters. To assist you in your housing search once you return to on-campus study, please see a list of resources below.

Learn more about the above and other resources on the Housing page of our website. 

Additional Resources:

From Instability at Home to Study Overseas Article from the NYT