Homestay Programme: Why you should opt for a Homestay Programme when in the USA
Updated on Mar 20, 2015 - 2:03 p.m. IST by Himani Kothari

Planning to go abroad and study in one of the best universities of the world is a courageous decision. While a student’s major concern is to get into a good university, the next issue that she/he is confronted with the accommodation options for students in USA; the options that let you live the American dream and not burn a hole in your pocket. One of the problems that comes with the swelling enrollments in the US universities is an alarming increase in the cost of accommodation in USA. And for studying in a famously expensive country, it is debatable whether the whopping amount spent on the lodging expenses is worth bearing.


The thought of having to live in an alien country all by yourself can be quite scary. And that’s what makes Homestay a popular choice. For a home like experience, far from home, stay with an American family and explore the diverse facets of their culture. It will not only improve your language proficiency but will give you access to basic facilities, making you as well connected as a native in no time.


What is Homestay Programme in USA?


Homestay is an arrangement between a native family and a migrant, where the former opens its doors for the latter. This arrangement for accommodation is typically for a short or a medium time period where your involvement with the host family will be as much or as little as you desire.

Homestay accommodation is the best way to get the holistic experience of what real America is like. These families not only provide shelter and food but also companionship and friendship, which are of crucial importance in a foreign country. While it is the most preferred option, make sure your homestay does not come as a bank balance shocker to you. An ideal arrangement includes the cost of a room along with two to three meals a day. Ask locals for the typical cost of living, then do your mathematics and avoid getting fleeced. Also while signing a contract with the host family, make sure if elements like laundry, internet, telephone, television etc. are included in the rent agreement or not. No matter how trivial the details might sound, all these expenses, if not covered in the rent, can make your total expenditure come to an alarmingly high amount

Once you have made up your mind to opt for a homestay programme in USA, know your options before zeroing in on a family:


USA Universities offering homestay programme



Many universities take the responsibility of connecting their international students to the host families, willing to keep the students on a homestay programme, upon themselves. The main motive behind offering a homestay programme is to ensure that students don’t have any trouble adjusting to a new place. Mentioned below are some universities in the USA that offer homestay programmes:

Oregon State UniversityOregon State University

Oregon State University is a co-educational, public research university located in Corvallis, Oregon, USA. To be able to benefit from the Oregon State University homestay programme, the applicant must be a student at the university. International students once admitted to OSU need to fill out the online Homestay Application, which will then be followed by a visit by the Homestay Programme Coordinator to discuss homestay options.


University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside, is a public research university that is consistently ranked as one of the most economically and ethnically diverse universities in the USA. They have a programme called The American Family Homestay where fully furnished homestays are provided to students in the home of an American family in the Riverside area.

Homestay fee includes a double-occupancy room, three meals per day, and transportation to and from school. These rates are per person.

Placement FeeShort-term (One to nine weeks)Room + Meals (Weekly)Long-term (10 weeks or more)Room + Meals (Monthly)






University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is an American private research university that offers homestay programmes for its English Language Program students. The Homestay cost is $ 30 per night and a non-refundable placement fee of $275 due at the time of application.


Look for local connections or do online research

The chances of your university / school not offering a homsestay programme, however, are very bright for only a selected few offer this facility apart from the aforementioned universities. There is no need to lose heart in that case, though. Here’s how you should proceed.


Look for friends or friends of friends who already stay in the city. Being familiar with the place, they will prove to be of great help. Go by their recommendations but not blindly. Verify the family once yourself.


If you do not have any local connections in the place, do an online research and prefer the one with maximum number of positive reviews. You might also like to connect with the reviewer through social networking websites, in order to be double sure. Although, it is wise to keep this option only as the last resort and look for local connections, if possible.


USA Homestay Cost

The cost of a homestay programme in USA varies from state to state. Homestay owners in USA have a set price for various kinds of arrangements. The cost for arrangement with meals included goes up 100-200 USD higher than the one without any meals. For an average arrangement without any meals, the approximate monthly cost is anywhere between 600 USD to 1500 USD and more. The families also request for a security deposit, which is refundable.


Give the research some time so that you get hold of a homestay family that will enrich your study abroad experience beyond regular proportions.


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