Most GEO programs include housing as part of the program fee. Also, most programs have pre-arranged housing and do not offer students a choice in the type of housing they may receive. The most typical types of housing arrangements include: home-stays with a host family, apartments, residence halls, and/or hostels. Some programs include a certain number of meals per day if the student lives with a host family. In other programs, students may be responsible for some or all of their meals. Please refer to the housing description and budget of the program page on our website geo.uoregon.edu for more specific information about the housing options available for each individual program.
For apartments, the same standards of courtesy and responsibility apply in a foreign country as they do in the U.S. You are renting from a local landlord, and thus, you are expected to abide by the apartment complex rules. Apartments often have multiple rooms and up to 4-5 tenants. If your program has this housing arrangement, you will likely be responsible for the preparation of your own meals.
There are some GEO programs and some exchange programs that offer this form of housing. Residence Halls are typically within close proximity to a local university. In exchange programs in particular, it is possible for you to have roommates from the local host country. For other programs, residence hall may be single occupancy, or they may be double occupancy and reserved only for students on the GEO program. Review the information on the program page for specific details or consult with your GEO advisor. In terms of meals, some residence halls may have an optional meal plan and a cafeteria, whereas other programs with residence halls may not include any meals.
Living with a host family is common for language and cultural immersion programs. Building a relationship with your host family can be a very important part of your study abroad experience. The composition of host families varies from family to family. Host families provide you with an opportunity to see daily life close up and to increase your language proficiency and cultural immersion through daily conversations and practice.
Your host family’s home may be different from what you are accustomed to in the U.S. Try not to form preconceived notions about what to expect, and be open to the situation in which you are placed.
Host families usually live within reasonable distance from your school or learning center. They will provide you with a private room with study facilities, bed linens, and meals where appropriate. It is important to respect your host family’s rules and to be courteous to their requests.
Try to reach an early understanding with your hosts regarding the rules and customs of their home, especially with regard to such things as the use of hot water, helping with meals, and inviting guests. It is important to be conscious of cultural differences that exist. A gracious attitude toward your hosts will go a long way in overcoming cultural misunderstandings. A small gift at the beginning of your stay is a kind way to express gratitude to your host family for opening up their home to you. Pictures of your family and school life are also good icebreakers and help your hosts to know you better.