Housing Resources

Housing Options through Global Learning 

There are several types of housing arrangements available across our programs to best suit your needs.  Some options are arranged by your program, meaning that a specific housing option will be assigned to you, while other programs might offer the option to choose from a variety of housing options that can be arranged with the help of program staff. You can find more information about the housing options available for specific programs on the Programs tab. 

Depending on your program, housing options might include any of the types listed below.


During a homestay, you live with a local family who has opened their doors to students studying in your host community. As such, you might be placed with other students in the same residence who are also studying abroad. Generally, students have a private bedroom, although it’s possible that there may be multiple students per room with their own bed in your homestay arrangement. Common spaces are shared with your host family, including the bathroom, kitchen, and other living areas. 

One to three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a combination) may be included in a homestay arrangement, 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 host family about their policy for using the kitchen.

Your host family will expect you to follow the rules of the household. These rules may range from curfews to house guests, and policies for using household appliances as well as expectations for cleanliness.

While homestays are sometimes a more economical 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 arranged through your program so that you don’t get to choose your location within the host community. Other programs may allow you to secure your own apartment with the help of program staff, allowing more flexibility on the location. 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 as well. Note that private apartments can be more expensive as you may need to pay for a refundable damage deposit which will be returned at the end of the program, provided that no damage has been caused to the accommodation. Other expenses may include rent, utilities, wifi, and other bills (including groceries). 

While living in an apartment grants you more freedom in your host community, it may impede you from more meaningful cultural engagement and interactions with locals if you are sharing it with other foreign students. 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.


Living in a dormitory might permit you 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 type of dorm options varies widely. You may have either 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 available when 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 game rooms, TV rooms, gyms, laundry rooms, kitchens, terraces, and even swimming pools. 

These accommodations may offer more modern buildings than those offered with dormitories. A student residence may even feature community activities such as game nights, walking tours, and other social activities. 

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. In these cases, hotel or hostel costs are not included in the program fee.

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, gyms, game areas, bike rentals, and 24-hour onsite security. Rooms are usually double occupancy, with two students sharing a room and bathroom, but this 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 four students total in each residence. The suites come fully stocked with kitchen appliances and cookware. The Center also hosts a fitness center, mailroom, computer lab, study rooms, lecture halls, recreational room, patio, and a lobby.

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 the 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 access to 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 global learning program your financial aid will be packaged according to the cost of your program. 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. The UCSC Student Housing and Community Rentals web pages provide information about finding and securing housing upon returning to Santa Cruz. We encourage you to reach out to discuss what your housing will look like when you return from your program!

Outside of the official channels, some students have had success subleasing through the following social media channels: 

Additional Resources:

Why a Homestay May Be The Best Decision Ever

Tips for Your First European Hostel Stay

Last modified: Feb 21, 2024