Housing Options

Housing Options on ASA Programs

ASA endeavors to offer our students the best possible student housing arrangements in their host city, while giving utmost consideration to location, accessibility to your host institution, and safety. Here you will find a list of the housing options available with each of our program locations and a description of each.

We always try to house our students as close to their host institution as possible! Most students can walk to class (or in larger cities, take the subway or bus). The average commute from home to school is typically about 15-30 minutes, with the exception of our University of the Arts London program, where the commute is usually longer.

There are three housing options (availability varies by city). These three options are: 1) Host Family, 2) Residence Hall, 3) Shared Apartment.  Internet is provided in all ASA housing.

We take great care to ensure that students are happy with their living arrangements, and we encourage you to talk to us at any time if you have any concerns about housing!

Host Family – Available in Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cuzco, Lima, Madrid, Paris, San Jose, Sevilla, Sorrento and Vina del Mar.

Living with a host family is a terrific way to get even more out of your study abroad experience by being immersed in the language and culture! Many students who lived with a host family say it was the best part of their study abroad experience and stay in touch with their host family long after returning home. Living with local people can help you become a cultural insider! The nuances of local culture you can glean from your host family add depth to your study abroad experience and to your understanding of your host country, and the funny moments and connections you can share with a host family will live in your memory for years to come. In addition, being immersed in the language can help you improve your conversation and comprehension skills in ways that would not have been possible had you lived in an English-speaking environment. Finally, living with a host family can provide an additional element of safety, since you’ll have someone at home looking out for you.

All of ASA’s host families are carefully screened before being permitted to host our students. In fact, the majority of host families we work with have been hosting international students for several years or more. Although the host families do not speak English, they are very accustomed to having students in their home who don’t know their language. You would be surprised how effective hand gestures can be, and that most students will quickly pick up the language once they have to use it.

Students who are accepted to a program that offers host family housing will fill out a Housing Questionnaire after being accepted. You can note any needs, preferences, medical conditions, allergies, etc. on this form. We also ask you some questions about yourself and your personality, which will help us in matching you with a host family.

Your host family will prepare some or all meals for you, depending on how many are included with your particular program. (You can find out how many meals are included by viewing our What’s Included page.) The meals prepared for you will be typical of your host country’s diet and served at the normal mealtime in your host country (which may be later than in the U.S.). It is important for you to be honest about what foods you like and do not like; if you tell your host mom you like something, chances are she will make it for you again, so if you don’t like something, say so, but politely. We expect that you be served a variety of foods – if you find that you are eating the same thing over and over again or that you are not getting enough food, please let your ASA Site Director know right away, and we’ll be happy to address it with the family immediately. If you have any allergies or special dietary needs, your host family will be notified ahead of time, to ensure they are able to accommodate you. On that note, it may be useful to mention that while vegetarian students can be accommodated without a problem, vegan students are encouraged to consider alternative housing options and to discuss their needs with us during the application process. The vegan diet is difficult for most host families to accommodate, as they aren’t used to cooking vegan meals, and food items for a vegan diet tend to be more expensive. Gluten-free diets can usually be accommodated but may require a supplemental charge for food, as gluten-free products in other countries, such as bread and pasta, are often much more expensive than “regular” products. Students are not permitted to use the kitchen to prepare their own meals. One load of laundry per week, done for you by the host family, is typically provided.  Students may not use the family’s washing machine.

Some students are initially unsure about living with a host family, which we completely understand and have counselled numerous students on. You might be nervous about living in someone else’s home, you might be concerned about losing your independence, or maybe you know someone who had a negative experience with a host family. One of the advantages of choosing to study abroad with a small organization such as ASA is that we are able to maintain a very high level of quality control; a bad host family experience is among the minority! We carefully select our host families and check in with students periodically during their stay to ensure all is well. In the rare case that a host family is not working out, we will arrange for you to move to a different family as soon as possible.

One of the most common concerns students have is about independence. It is reassuring to most students to hear that host families do not impose curfews – they are used to students coming and going as they please and certainly don’t expect you to be at home all the time! They will not have a problem if you come home late; we just ask that you be quiet if you return home late at night. Since you are living in someone’s home, there are a few other reasonable guidelines we ask students to follow, such as keeping your room tidy out of respect for the family, and if you are going to miss a meal, please give your host family a quick call or text so food doesn’t go to waste. Apart from guidelines such as these, you can still have a good amount of independence even while living with a host family. Please note: overnight guests are not allowed under any circumstance when you are living with a host family.

Another common question asked by students is, “What kind of people will I be living with?” Host families can come from any social millieu and be any of the following configurations: a couple without children; a couple with children; a single parent with children; an older lady who may be widowed or retired and enjoys taking students into her home. We encourage you to remain open to any possibility, as the concept of “family” can come in so many shapes and sizes. While most families do host students at least partially as a way to earn extra income, we work hard to ensure that this is not their primary motivation. We look for host families who are friendly, open and want to share their lives and their culture with you!

If you’re thinking about living with a host family but have concerns or questions, we completely understand and are always happy to talk to you about the host family experience in more detail.

Residence Hall – Available in Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London and Oxford.

If your program includes housing in a Residence Hall, it will be along the lines of what a residence hall is in the U.S. – a building that offers a standardized housing concept, where most or all of the rooms and amenities are the same for everyone. The one main difference between a residence hall in the U.S. and one abroad is that living spaces are smaller in other countries, as compared to the U.S., so your bedroom and other living spaces may be smaller than you are used to. But, we can assure you that you will soon adjust; plus, you will only have a couple suitcases worth of things with you! Meals are not included with residence hall housing, but you’ll have kitchen access.

Especially in the UK and Ireland, residence halls are divided into flats (apartments). Each flat has a set number of single or double bedrooms (usually 4-8 occupants per flat), and all the “flatmates” share a kitchen and common area. In some cases, bedrooms are “en suite,” meaning each one has a small, private bathroom “pod,” while in other cases the bathroom(s) may be shared. Internet is provided.

In a residence hall, your flatmates could be from anywhere in the world! You may be living with other ASA students, with international students, or with degree-seeking students who attend your host institution. As you might expect, your residence hall will have certain regulations and policies regarding safety, noise, parties, what you can have in your room, logging visitors, and the like. For example, overnight guests may be allowed but limited to a certain number of nights in a row, and permission may need to be requested in advance.

Shared Apartment – Available in Barcelona, Buenos Aires (semester only), Florence, Sevilla and Sorrento.

The main difference between a residence hall and a shared apartment is that every apartment is different. Unlike a residence hall, shared apartments are not all located in one building. The apartments are located in different buildings, on different streets, but still centrally located in your host city. You will not be in a building full of students, but rather will live in a building where the other flats are occupied by local people. Meals are not included.

The shared student apartments have certain basic amenities, such as a kitchen, basic cooking items and dishes, Internet, and common area (sometimes a combined kitchen + common area). It is important to note that each apartment will vary in overall size, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and the size of the rooms. One apartment might be on the second floor and another on the top floor; one building might have an elevator and another might not; one apartment might have a balcony and another might not. These “quirks” make every apartment unique! Each apartment should be viewed as its own “slice of life” in your host country. Because living spaces are generally smaller in other countries than in the U.S., your apartment or bedroom may seem smaller than what you’re used to, but not to worry, you will adjust in no time.

There are certain policies that students living in an apartment must follow; these will be described in your pre-departure guide or during on-site orientation. For example, there may be standards regarding noise levels, cleanliness and trash removal. There may be restrictions on having parties and alcohol in your apartment. Overnight guests are not allowed under any circumstance while living in a shared apartment.

Dorm – Available in Cuzco and Sorrento.

If your program includes housing in a Dorm, housing will be very similar to a standard hall-style dormitory in the U.S. Rooms are typically double or triple occupancy. The one main difference between a dorm in the U.S. and one abroad is that living spaces are smaller in other countries, as compared to the U.S., so your bedroom and other living spaces may be smaller than you are used to. But, we can assure you that you will soon adjust; plus, you will only have a couple suitcases worth of things with you! Meals are not included with dorm housing, but you’ll have kitchen access.

In a dorm, your neighbors could be from anywhere in the world! You may be living with other ASA students, with international students, or with degree-seeking students who attend your host institution. As you might expect, your dorm will have certain regulations and policies regarding safety, noise, parties, what you can have in your room, logging visitors, and the like. For example, overnight guests may be allowed but limited to a certain number of nights in a row, and permission may need to be requested in advance.

Housing Options by Program

As mentioned above, all ASA housing is located within a reasonable distance from school and in a safe neighborhood. Most students are able to walk to school (or in larger cities, take the subway or bus). On average, students have a commute of about 15-30 minutes – sometimes even less. In addition, in all ASA housing, Internet is provided.

Aix-en-Provence – All students live with French host families who provide daily breakfast and 6 dinners per week. Rooms may be double or single occupancy. Host families generally host 1-2 students a time. Internet is provided..
Barcelona – Choose between a Spanish host family (3 meals a day included) or a shared apartment (meals not included). Rooms are typically single occupancy, or in rare cases, double occupancy. Apartments are shared with other ASA students. Apartments may be coed; typically 4-6 students per apartment. The majority of host families host 1-2 students at a time, or in rare cases perhaps 1-2 more, depending on how large their flat is. Both housing options include Internet.
Buenos Aires – Semester students may choose between an Argentine host family (daily breakfast and dinner included) or a shared apartment (meals not included). Summer students and those attending the February intensive month as a stand-alone program will live with Argentine host families.  Rooms are typically single occupancy, or in rare cases, double occupancy. Apartments may be shared with other ASA students, international students, Argentine students, or young people who work. Apartments may be coed; typically 3-6 students per apartment. The majority of host families host 1-2 students at a time, or in rare cases perhaps 1-2 more, depending on how large their flat is. Both housing options include Internet.
Cuzco – Choose between a Peruvian host family (includes 3 meals a day) or a dorm (daily breakfast included). Rooms are double occupancy; Internet is provided. The dorm has a kitchen students can use, as well as a restaurant where students may purchase meals.
Cambridge – All students live in Anglia Ruskin University residence halls which consist of cluster flats, each with 3-10 single occupancy bedrooms, shared kitchen, and Internet access. Meals are not included. The residence hall is approximately a 15 minute walk from campus.
Dublin (Griffith College) – All students live on campus in the Griffith Halls of Residence (meals not included). Flats are composed of 2 bedrooms with 2 students per bedroom (4 students per flat). Flats are shared with other ASA students and/or other students who are also studying abroad at Griffith College. While the residence hall is coed, flats are single sex. Each flat has a kitchen and common area shared by the 4 flatmates, as well as Internet. Since the residence hall is on campus, students are never more than a few minutes’ walk from class.
Dublin (Maynooth University) – All students live on campus in one of the Maynooth University halls of residence (meals not included, except during the summer program, which includes lunch Mon-Fri). Flats are typically composed of 4-8 single occupancy bedrooms and are shared with other international students or degree-seeking students at Maynooth University. Each flat has a kitchen and common area shared by all flatmates, as well as Internet. Flats are usually coed. Since the residence halls are all on campus, students are never more than a few minutes’ walk from class.
Edinburgh – All students live in a residence hall (meals not included). The residence hall has kitchen facilities and Internet; rooms are single occupancy.
Florence – All students live in shared apartments (meals not included). Rooms are double or triple occupancy and are shared with other ASA students and/or students who are also studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts. Each apartment has a kitchen/common area shared by all occupants, as well as Internet. Apartments are single sex; typically 4-6 students per apartment.
Lima - All students live with Peruvian host families (includes daily breakfast and dinner). Rooms are double occupancy; Internet is provided.
London (London South Bank University) – All students live in residence halls (meals not included). Flats are typically composed of 4-8 single occupancy bedrooms and are shared with other international students or degree-seeking students at LSBU. In some cases, each bedroom has its own bathroom “pod,” and in other cases, bathrooms are shared.  Each flat has a kitchen and common area shared by all flatmates, as well as Internet. Flats are usually coed.
London (University of the Arts London) - Semester students live in one of the UAL halls of residence (meals not included). Flats are typically composed of 4-8 single occupancy bedrooms and are shared with other international students or degree-seeking students at UAL. In some cases, each bedroom has its own bathroom “pod,” and in other cases, bathrooms are shared.  Each flat has a kitchen and common area shared by all flatmates, as well as Internet. Flats are usually coed. University of the Arts London has residence halls and campuses located in various parts of London; therefore, students usually have to take the Tube to and from class, and the commute may be 45 minutes, depending on how far your residence hall is from your campus. (In a city the size of London, 45 minutes is a normal commute.) Summer students at UAL may live in a student residence or in a shared apartment (rooms may be shared).
Madrid - Students live with Spanish host families (daily breakfast and dinner included). Rooms are single or double occupancy. Host families usually host 1-3 students at a time. Internet is provided.
Oxford - All students live on campus in one of the Oxford Brookes University halls of residence (meals not included). Flats are typically composed of 4-8 single occupancy bedrooms and are shared with other international students or degree-seeking students at Oxford Brookes University. Each flat has a kitchen and common area shared by all flatmates, as well as Internet. Flats are usually coed. Since the residence halls are all on campus, students are usually just a few minutes’ walk from class; or, if you have classes on a different Oxford Brookes campus, it’s just a short ride on the university’s BrookesBus.
Paris – Students live with French host families (daily breakfast and dinner included, except on Sundays). Rooms are single or double occupancy. Host families usually host 1-3 students at a time.  Internet is provided.
San José - All students live with Costa Rican host families (includes 2 meals a day on weekdays and 3 meals a day on weekends and holidays). Rooms are single occupancy, and the host families typically host 1 student at a time. Internet is provided.
Sevilla - Choose between a Spanish host family (3 meals a day included) or a shared apartment (meals not included). Rooms are single occupancy. Apartments are shared with other ASA students, international students or Spanish students. Apartments may be coed; typically 4-6 students per apartment. The host families typically host 1-2 students at a time. Both housing options include Internet access.
Sorrento - Choose between an Italian host family or an on-campus dorm/off-campus shared student apartment. Homestay accommodation includes daily breakfast and dinner. Dorm/apartment accommodation does not include meals, but you will have kitchen access.  Students who choose dorm/apartment housing will be housed in the dorm until it is filled to capacity; once it is full, students will be placed off campus in shared apartments.  Rooms are double or triple occupancy.  Host families typically host 2-3 students at a time, or in rare cases perhaps 1-2 more, depending on how large their flat is. The on-campus dorm/off-campus apartment may be co-ed, but bedrooms are single sex. Both housing options include Internet access.
Viña del Mar - All students live with Chilean host families (includes 3 meals a day and Internet). Rooms are single occupancy. Host families typically host 2-3 students at a time.

Housing FAQ

Can I room with a friend?
Please keep in mind that if you request to live with a friend, in most cases he/she must be the same sex as you. If your program offers the option to room with a friend (see below), you will usually complete a Housing Questionnaire after being accepted to the program. On this form, there is a blank where you can fill in the name of the person you want to room with. (All requests must be mutual.)

  • Spain, France, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Italy (Sorrento) and Argentina – You may request to live with a friend by noting this on your Housing Questionnaire, and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you’ve both requested a host family, and there is no major difference in your housing needs, then it should not be a problem to place you and your friend with the same family! However, if your housing needs differ (for example, if one of you is a vegetarian and the other is not), then we may not be able to place you with the same host family. If you and your friend have requested a shared apartment (available in Barcelona, Sevilla, and Buenos Aires), it should not be a problem to put you in the same apartment together if you are both of the same sex.  However, if you and your friend are of different sexes, we cannot guarantee we can put you in the same apartment. If you wish to live with an opposite-sex friend, please call us at 888-845-4272 and we may be able to provide further details.
  • London & Oxford, England – The following information applies to London South Bank University, Oxford Brookes University and University of the Arts London. ASA London students may request to live with a friend by emailing ASA. However, being a large university, your host institution is responsible for hall allocations and cannot guarantee that you will be placed in the same apartment or hall of residence as your friend. You will meet your roommates upon arrival; they could be from the U.S., the UK, or other countries.
  • Dublin, Ireland – Students attending Griffith College may request to room with a same-sex friend by emailing ASA, and this can usually be accommodated (but cannot be guaranteed). ASA students at Griffith College who have not requested to live with a friend will be placed with roommates from the ASA program, from another American study abroad program, or with international students. Students attending Maynooth University may also request to room with a friend by emailing ASA. However, because Maynooth University is a large university, they are responsible for hall allocations and we cannot guarantee that you’ll be placed in the same apartment or hall of residence as your friend.
  • Florence, Italy – You may request to live with a friend by noting this on your Housing Questionnaire, and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you and your friend are of the same sex, it should not be a problem to put you in the same apartment together.  However, if you and your friend are of different sexes, we cannot guarantee we can put you in the same apartment. If you wish to live with an opposite-sex friend, please call us at 888-845-4272 and we may be able to provide further details.

 

When will I find out where I’ll be living?
ASA will notify you of your living arrangements via email approximately 1-2 weeks before the start of your program.

What if I don’t like my host family?
If it is a problem with the family and not a language or cultural misunderstanding, ASA will move you to a different family right away. We have on-site staff in every city who are there to help students with any issues they encounter while abroad, and who check in periodically with students throughout their stay to ensure all is well.

Will my host family speak English?
No, but there’s no need to worry! Living with a family is the best way for you to learn Spanish, French or Italian, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will improve. Also, don’t forget that your host family has hosted American students before, so they understand that you are there to learn their language and want to help you.

Will I have a roommate?
Some programs include housing in a single rooms and some do not. Please see the “Housing Options by Program” section above for further details.

What should I bring with me?
A detailed list of what to bring (and what not to bring) will be included in your ASA pre-departure packet, which will be emailed to you about a month before your program begins. Students living with a host family may want to bring a small gift, such as a candle, kitchen towel, chocolates, etc.

What is the food like?
The food is great and will be typical of each host country. Be prepared to try new things!

Is a Damage Deposit required?
Yes, some programs do require a Damage Deposit, as follows. Damage Deposits are refundable after the end of the program, as long as nothing is missing or damaged in your living space. Please note: Damage Deposits cannot be deferred with financial aid.

  • Florence, Italy: $350, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina: $250, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure
  • Sevilla and Barcelona, Spain: $500, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure (applicable only to students who choose to live in a shared apartment)
  • Edinburgh, Scotland: $250, in the form of a credit card authorization upon arrival
  • Sorrento, Italy: $250, paid to ASA by the Forms & Payment Deadline
  • London (University of the Arts London only): $350, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure