There are a number of options when it comes to deciding where you will live when you are living and studying in the United States.
Once you are enrolled in a U.S. school, the Admissions Department or International Student Office will most likely send you a "pre-departure orientation" packet. Options for where to live are generally included in this information.
Some American schools offer accommodations for international students on-campus, or near the school's classrooms, libraries and other facilities. "Dormitories" are buildings with many rooms for sleeping and living, often with two or three people (of the same gender) per room. Dormitory residents typically share large bathrooms which include showers and toilets. Many first-year students prefer to live in on-campus dormitories because they are convenient to both academic and social activities. Another advantage is that it is not likely that you will need a car to commute to campus.
On-campus accommodations also offer close proximity to the cafeteria and other eating establishments. U.S. colleges and universities offer very flexible meal-plan programs, where you can choose to pay in advance for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On most campuses, you may also deposit a certain amount of money at the beginning of the semester for food that you may buy from designated places. Each item’s cost is deducted from the balance in your account throughout the semester. Again, your pre-departure orientation packet will probably detail your eating options.
Moving into a dormitory setting is relatively simple: utilities such as electricity and telephone connections will most likely be ready to use. Each U.S. college or university has its individual policy on paying for long-distance telephone charges; learn those policies soon after you arrive on campus.
Homestays are a viable option for students under the age of 18, especially those who are nervous about leaving home and living in a new country. In a homestay arrangement, you will be placed with an American family within 20 to 45 minutes from your campus. You will have your own room, and meals will be provided.
Living with an American family will allow you to fully immerse yourself in American culture as you adapt to the life of the family with whom you are living. You can benefit of the comforts of home and of a family life, even though you are far from home and in an entirely new country.
When choosing between these options, the most important aspect to keep in mind is safety. Make sure you read up on how to stay safe during your travels before you leave.