What to Expect
From the storage space your COST housing will include to the ideals and values of the culture surrounding you, the differences you’ll encounter living abroad exist at all levels.
Students participating in COST typically live with host families, thus gaining a priceless opportunity to become immersed in the local culture of the country in which they are placed. Even when students live elsewhere, (e.g., local apartments, bed and breakfast accommodations, university housing), they are intimately connected to the local culture.
COST Housing Policy
Housing and accommodation will be arranged by the Overseas Receiving Site Coordinator. Each placement site is different, and housing options will vary by site. Some coordinators have secured home stay arrangements while others may provide a list of apartments to choose from.
Regardless of the type of accommodation, all housing is vetted by our Coordinators and approved for COST participants. For your safety and the safety of our host families and Coordinators, COST stands strictly by our housing policy in addition to the expectations outlined below for each housing situation.
COST participants must stay in the COST arranged housing for the full duration of their COST placement. If traveling, participants must communicate the date(s), location(s) and accommodation contact information to the host family and/or Overseas Coordinator. COST must be able to get ahold of a student at any point in their placement.
Visitors must arrange their own accommodations. Under no circumstance may a guest stay in COST-arranged housing. COST students may stay with visitors in visitor-arranged accommodation only AFTER the last day of their COST placement. This is just one reason COST encourages family and friends to visit only at the END of student teaching placements.
Resize Your Expectations
When thinking of your housing abroad, think small. Rooms, closets, kitchens, etc. are smaller abroad than they are in North America, so be sure to take this into account when you’re packing.
- Additional storage might not exist for your luggage – expect to store your suitcase/s in the same place you keep your clothes. Pack light!
- Your bed most likely will be a single-sized bed – a bit smaller than the standard twin that you’re familiar with – and based on your destination, could be a bunk-bed.
- We’re serious when we say your bedroom/housing will be smaller. Internationally, gathering with friends takes place more commonly outside the home and as such, residences are smaller and more intimate.
International Standards | US Standards
The life you’ll discover abroad greatly differs from the life you’re used to back home – embrace this! Exploring new ways and paces of life is one of COST’s most beautiful attributes, as you truly experience what it’s like to be a local in a different country.
Some differences you’ll encounter:
- Dishwashers are not common, so prepare to wash by hand
- Clothes dryers are very rare – you’ll most likely be hanging your clothes to dry on a clothes line
- Air conditioning is not available in many housing options, markets, stores, etc.
- Hanging out with friends occurs more frequently in a city square or coffee shop rather than inside your residence
- Walking and using public transportation becomes a common activity in your everyday life
Be prepared to live outside of your comfort zone! It’s part of the fun and adventure of your entire experience, and although it may be challenging at times, it’s well worth it.
Don't Waste Resources
Just like here at home, it’s important to turn off water sources, lights, TVs and other electronics abroad when they are not in use. Rates for these utilities are higher abroad than in North America. Keep in mind, many cultures abroad tend to be much more mindful of wasted resources than back at home, so think green!