Finding Housing for Your Internship

If you’ve never lived anywhere else, finding housing for your internship in America can seem daunting. But if you plan ahead, the process can actually be fun and exciting. Searching through hundreds of listings to find the best place can create a sense of freedom within you.

Most major cities in America have a host of housing options. Before you begin your search, take a moment to determine what you want, and don’t want, out of your living space.

Most common housing options for interns

Most cities offer a range of housing accommodations for long-term visitors. Your budget, needs, and desires will help determine which housing option is best. Before you begin your search, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of each housing type.

Apartments and Efficiencies

Apartments are most commonly equipped with a kitchen, full bathroom, and ample living space. They can have anywhere from one to four bedrooms. Some luxury apartments include a laundry room or added storage closets.

Efficiencies are smaller living spaces with very few walls. They are perfect for those on a budget or for anyone who doesn’t spend a lot of time indoors. While many apartment buildings offer an ‘efficiency’ style living space (also called a ‘studio’ apartment), you can also find efficiencies in other places. Many people are happy to rent out the room above their garage, attic, or basement.

Whether you opt for an apartment or efficiency, your tenant lease is with one person- the landlord. You will sign a contract agreeing to pay a set amount of money each month. While most apartments have a standard contract, if you decide to rent an efficiency with a private citizen, be sure to read your agreement very carefully.  

University Housing

If the university in your city has availability, living in a college dormitory can save you money. Single rooms, double rooms, and apartment-style rooms are available on most campuses. If you choose a double room, you will have a roommate and potentially a life-long friend. Apartment style dormitories are set up to have common living, kitchen, and dining areas with individual sleeping quarters.


Hostels offer low-priced shared accommodations. Rooms can be co-ed or single-gendered, however, some hostels offer private rooms. It is not common to stay in a hostel for more than a few weeks. Therefore, when it comes to finding housing for your internship, hostels should be looked at as a temporary solution until you can find more permanent accommodation.

Steps to finding the right housing

Once you have an idea of the type of housing available during your internship, you need to narrow your options. There are several factors that go into finding housing for your internship that will meet your needs.

Calculate a Budget

Before you can find a place to live, you need to know how much you can afford. Sit with your family to create a budget. Write every known expense down and include a few lines for unexpected expenses.

Major budget factors include:

  • Rent
  • Utility expenses
    • Some lodging options include utilities in the rent
    • This should also include money for laundry services
  • Phone and internet
    • Include international calling
  • Food expenses
    • Eating out will cost more than making food at home
  • Transportation expenses
    • Will you use public transportation?
    • How much is a rental a car?
    • Will you use a ride share company such as Uber or Lyft?
  • Spending money
    • Don’t forget to give yourself a little spending money each week.
  • Saving money
    • For unexpected expenses.
Make a list of needs

Make a list of must-haves and would like-to-haves for your living space. Keep in mind, your budget and city may not be able to meet every item on your list. Write down what is most important first.

Must-haves and like-to-haves may include:

  • How do you feel about a roommate?
    • This may not be optional if you are on a tight budget. But having a roommate is a great way to have an instant friend in a new country.
  •  Are you looking for a multi-room apartment, efficiency, or University housing?
  •  Do you want laundry facilities inside your apartment, onsite, or are you comfortable washing clothes at a nearby laundromat?
  •  Are you looking for a place with a full kitchen or a simple kitchenette?
  •  Do you want a fully furnished apartment or will you find pieces when you arrive?
Research the city:

Aside from knowing what type of living space you want, you need to know more about the area you’ll be residing. Research everything from crime rates to demographics to be sure you have a good fit.

Things to consider in your future city include:

  • Safety
    • What is crime like in each area of town?
    • Can you safely walk down the street at night?
  • Demographics
    • Is there a good mix of people in the area?
    • Will you be comfortable?
  • Transportation
    • Is public transportation easily accessible from where you will live?
    • Can you park your rental car nearby?
    •  Is there an added parking fee?
  • Local Attractions
    • What types of social gathering areas are nearby?
    • Are there public parks or other recreational areas close by?
    • How will you entertain yourself outside your home?
Choosing the perfect home

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for in your living space you can start your search. Finding housing for your internship online can be easy if you know where to look.

Websites to find the perfect apartment include:

If you’re searching for a hostel, try one of these websites:

Finding housing

No matter if you choose a roommate or you live solo, getting settled will take time. But if you find the housing that best suits your budget and needs, you can be more at ease when you arrive in America. Once you’ve researched your city to find the right home, your internship will be one of the best experiences of your life.

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