After a Host Family: Tips for Living on Your Own as an International Student

Posted: September 08, 2023 | Author: Martina Istrefi | Read Time: 3 minutes

An international student smiles while holding the flag of their home country.

At Southern Utah University, most International Early College students live with a host family for their first year of college. But after the first year, the majority decide to live in dorms or apartments, where they will be on their own or with a roommate. There are a lot of differences between the two scenarios and some students experience a difficult transition when moving from their host families homes to living on their own. 

Living with a host family has a lot of positive aspects, such as: having company, creating lasting bonds with your host parents and/or siblings, having more help when needed and in some ways less to worry about. When living with a host family, you won’t have to worry about groceries, transportation and lots more. So, when students move from living with a host family to living independently in a dorm or apartment, they face new challenges and more responsibilities. Here are some tips to help you manage the transition.

1) Learn to organize your day. 

Before, you didn’t have to worry about lots of things since your host family was the one that had to “take care of it”, such as grocery shopping. Now instead, this is something that you will have to do on your own. There are lots of ways that this can be done, such as online shopping, asking a friend for a ride, or asking your host family if they are available to give you a ride to the supermarket. Also, SUU holds shopping trips every Monday from 4 PM to 6 PM for international students.

2) Find reliable Transportation. 

If you live on campus, it is a bit easier to move around, since you can walk everywhere. But whether you live on or off campus renting or purchasing a bike is always a fun easy way to get to and from your classes. Another option is to set up a carpool group with friends, and offer to help the driver pay for gas.

3) Rent. 

When living in a dorm or apartment you will also have to worry about rent payments. Some apartments will make you pay for both semesters at once, but for other apartments/dorms, you will have to pay twice - once for the Fall semester and once for the Spring semester. When spending one semester at a time, there will be deadlines, so always remember to put reminders in your phone or planner. 

4) Cooking. 

When living with a host family, you will eat food prepared by your host parents, but when moving on your own, you will have to find the time to cook for yourself. In supermarkets, there are many options for college students, such as frozen foods, noodles, prepared food and lots more. There are hundreds of free cooking tutorials and tips for cooking meals as a college student online, (particularly on social media platforms like YouTube and Tik-Tok) that can be super beneficial if you’re just learning to cook. Remember to organize your day and to leave a time for you to relax and enjoy your meals. You can also consider purchasing a meal plan in the dining hall on campus to save time.

5) Have fun. 

Even when moving out on your own and having more responsibilities, always remember to have fun. College years are the best years of your life where you will meet new people, make lifetime friendships and experience and learn new things. But of course, NEVER neglect your school responsibilities.

The transition from living with a host family to living independently can be challenging, but it is a crucial step in your personal growth and development. Remember that you are not alone in this process, and there are many resources available on and off campus to help you adjust to your new lifestyle. By learning to use these tips, you can thrive as an independent student and make the most of your college experience. So take a deep breath, embrace the changes ahead, and enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life!

Tags: CurStu Student Life International Affairs Housing

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