In India we call homestay as “paying guest” accommodation,when u rent a room in a persons house for a limited period of time.The other is dormitory rooms or in other words “hostel”.the dormitory rooms are located on the campus,and in most cases are shared rooms,with two people sharing a single room.Its an average sized room,but the advantage is that it is very close to where the lectures are being held,so there is no need to go outside the campus.If you opt for this ,then most colleges also provide a food coupon system along wit hyour monthly billing for the dormitory room.and this food coupon is usually 3 times a day,whereby u can eat 3 meals a day at the cafeteria.The food is good,the spread is exhaustive, and the meal wholesome,something like a buffet system we have,with all types of burgers,pizzas,sandwiches,pastas,,u name it,,its there.A good section for vegetarians too this will cost you around 700-800$ a month.so this comes wit the dormitory accommodation.
Now for the homestay or “off campus” side.Alot of students prefer this too,because for one,it is definitely cheaper.Other advantages include the liberty that u have,u can do what u want,when u want,the freedom is great.most homestays let you cook youre own meals, and if youre not hungry don’t eat anything,whras on the campus arrangement,if u don’t eat on a particular day,you might feel guilty that you let your coupon goto waste! So here there is no wastage,you pay for what u eat,you don’t pay for what u don’t eat.For girls,most parents worry about safety concerns of an off campus home,and fel more secure inside the college walls.The trick is to scan thourgh classifieds and house rentals on local websites before and contact the advertiser to hold the place for you.A single room homestay will cost you around 300-400 $ depending on the size of the room etc.You will havot fill out a sort of agreement or lease for certain amount of months,say 6 months in most cases.but you need to pay for only two at a time,just like here in India,its one months rent,one months deposit.The lease agreement is beneficial for you too,because that means the landlady/landlord is obliged to be hospitable in every way to you,and depending on the terms of the agreement,things like electricity and heating may not be charged separately.Its best to look for a warm and friendly landlord with whom you might feelat home with,because after al you will be spending the next few years living wit thier family.I suggest you look for “asian” homes first,by that I mean,homeowners who are of Chinese,Korean,Vietnamese,Indian origin,because the cultures are similar and you will feel comfortable here,next would be a Hispanic/Spanish homeowner,and lastly a white person,and only because wh nyou first go there,it will be hard to get along with the customs and traditions of a “firang” as we call it,their ways of talking,walking ,living and just about everything are wuite different,so initially when youre just getting setup,it will take you harder to get used to,and you might just get homesick,even though many white families are very kind and adjusting,it would just seem to be a good idea to keep them last on your list,unless you have been arounhd them before and wont feel like an alien in their home !! J