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Study Abroad Housing: Living in a Dorm or Student Residence

by AIFS Abroad
Two young women in a dorm room

After deciding where and when you want to study abroad, the next question you should ask yourself is “What is my preferred housing situation?” While some students really like to immerse themselves in the local culture by staying with a host family in a homestay, or the independence of shared apartments, if you’re a social butterfly, staying in a dorm is a great way to meet others who are studying abroad and local students attending your host institution. 

Read on to learn more about why you should choose to live in a dorm during your study abroad program: 


Late-night chats, snack runs, giggles, and making memories that’ll last a lifetime. Dorm living is where it is at. 🤩 What other housing options are there for studying or interning abroad? 🤔 Check this video out: @AIFS ABROAD or leave us a comment down below to chat! #studyabroad #internabroad #aifsabroad #collegestudents #travel #housingsituation #dorm #dormlife #studyabroadprograms

♬ Chill Vibes – Tollan Kim

First, what is the living situation in dorm life abroad? 

While studying abroad, dorms operate fairly similarly to the ones you’re used to on your home campus. The buildings are typically owned by your study abroad program, the university that you’re attending abroad, or a partner facility. It’s possible they offer a variety of room options, but you’ll likely be in a building full of only students, and odds are you’ll have roommates. 

Benefits of a Dorm 

There are so many amazing benefits of choosing a dorm for your study abroad housing. Dorms are a great option for students who are excited to socialize with others and meet new people. Between the students in your program and the ones who live in surrounding dorms, you’re going to make a lot of friends, which can be useful especially for finding places and activities people around your age like to do in your host city. 

You’ll also likely have access to typical communal areas such as common rooms and lounges, which not only gives you more opportunity to socialize, but more room and options for studying. And if you don’t want to skip your workout routine while you’re abroad, there’s a good chance you’ll have access to the building’s gym if they have one. 

You may also have a Resident Assistant or another housing staff member from your host institution in the building with you to help support you throughout your experience.

Depending on your program or host institution, a meal plan may be available to you, as well.

AIFS Abroad student Maddie shows us around her student residence in Athens, Greece

Don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Maddie W., an AIFS Abroad in Athens, Greece alum, said about her dorm experience abroad: 


“First of all, my kitchen came fully stocked with some pots and pans, plates, bowls, utensils, cups and more. This was really handy because we did not need to immediately go out to try to find and buy everything we needed when we first arrived in Athens.” 


“All of the closets in our residence came with hangers already in them! My closet had about 20, which was almost enough for all of my clothes.” 

Outdoor Space 

“In my residence, the two double rooms share a balcony, and the single room has a small balcony of its own. Balconies have a table and a few chairs. I have already spent many hours enjoying the weather and eating, doing homework, or just relaxing.” 

Gym & Laundry 

“In the basement of R1 there is a gym and the laundry rooms. Personally, I have not tried any of the equipment in the gym, but I know of a few people who use it often and enjoy it. 

The laundry rooms are right off of the workout area. The use of the washer and dryers are free for students; we just need to supply laundry detergent.” 

Pro-tip: Not all dorms are the same! Your dorm set-up and the features it has may differ depending on the host institution or location abroad you choose. 

Ready to meet your dorm besties? We offer dorms in program locations like: 

For study abroad experience designed to bond you with other exciting people from around the world, staying in a dorm is the way to go for your accommodations. 

What better way to spend time in a new country than with new friends? Not only will they be there for you, learning along with you, but you’ll still get to enjoy dorm life and not have FOMO on a classic part of college life. 

two young women walking into accommodations with text "study abroad housing: dorm" overlay
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