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Where will you live?

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I'm currently having a problem deciding where I'm going to live next year, while an International student. 


From what I can see, I have 3 options. All have their ups and downs, and I really can't decide, so I figured I'd ask what others are doing. Obviously not everyone's situations will be the same, but it'd be nice to see some input, and get a sense of what others are doing. 


1. Residence Halls - There are many private halls of residence in the city I'll likely be moving to. The cost of them varies, but it is possible to find ones which are the same price as the other options. These also have the plus of guaranteed being furnished, and not having to worry about extra utilities costs, and a lot of the places have ensuite bathrooms. Downside is they can also be much more expensive, and I might end up being the roommate of a bunch of freshman/freshers (but it might be possible to request not to be) or people who are not good roommates.


2. Sharing an apartment - This is the option I took while in my undergrad, until i was no longer able to find a roommate and moved into my own place. The plus is I will be living with people who already might know the city, and could be willing to show me around or whatever, and all costs are split.  Downside are I can't look at the apartment before getting there, so I could end up with a bad place (or homeless while I looked for accomodation), I could end up with crappy roommates (which have a whole other multitude of problems that aren't present in halls), or I might have an unfurnished place where I would need to buy furniture. 


3. Homestay - Third option is living with a family, renting a room from them. Pluses are cheaper and all utilities are covered, and sometimes a meal or two are included in the cost. Downsides include possible curfews, feeling like I can't make myself at home in their home (having to share a kitchen, bathroom and laundry with the people who actually own them), or renting from people with poor attitudes.


My explanations for ups and downs might not be super clear, so I can clarify if you want. I'm open to suggestions, or discussing why you chose what you chose. Thanks for your help everyone.

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When I started my MA in the US I decided, for the first year, to live in graduate student housing on campus. The university had a match-making service to find roommates and I ended up living with another international student (we became really good friends).


It is, however, my impression that on-campus/near campus living generally is more expensive. As an international student who can't visit the area and look at the apartments, it's a bit of an risky option to pick an unseen apartment off-campus though.

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The university I accepted has not on-campus graduate housing, I would have preferred that, at least for the first year. I opted for a university-owned privately-run apartment complex where you rent rooms in an apartment that you share with other students. For fitting in and getting used to the US culture and the first semester, it's great. 

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I did my MA in the UK as an international student and I chose to live in a university-owned house off-campus.  It was the best of both worlds; I had 10 roommates (it was a massive house) so while I had to share the kitchen and the bathrooms, I had some instant friends/people to hang out with.  It also meant having a Residential Advisor living with us who could give us advice about supermarkets, pubs, public transport etc etc.  The house was a five-minute train ride from campus so I didn't feel too far away from uni but far enough to feel like I was experiencing the city.  The uni also had a (semi-flexible, it turned out) policy about who could get into what accommodation.  The house I lived in was for postgrads. And it was furnished and cheap (it included all bills too).  It really was a fantastic experience.  So if your uni has something like that, I'd highly recommend it.   

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