Find the Perfect Homestay or Student Housing in New York

By Keen Lee

Arriving in an unfamiliar territory evokes the feeling of uncertainty but to find the right place to live in territory you have no clue about can be even more stressful and intimidating. Just like taking the approach to finding a boyfriend/girlfriend or a job, one must first know what it is that s/he wants.

First, make a list of “qualities” or expectations that you are looking for in an apartment or dormitory. Before going out and search blindly, think about how long you plan to stay, if you plan to share the space with roommates, how much are you willing to pay, the convenience of the location, and if you need a guarantor and a broker for help. Remember to consider all aspects of choosing the right place to live at because often times, students settle on a place that causes them to live uncomfortably based on the price. Finding a place is like finding a mate; consider what the place has to offer such as the commute, safety of the neighborhood, affordability, atmosphere, and the rules and regulations of the place.

Since dormitories fill up quick, especially during the summer time, most students are forced to live off-campus. Once you arrive, find a temporary place such as a hotel around your college to settle in first. I would recommend you to speak with an advisor from your college, who is credible, to direct you in the right direction of finding the right place.

The four biggest questions to consider when finding an off-campus apartment are; how much are you willing to spend? How far are you willing to travel from school? How much space do you need? Do you prefer to live in a furnished room or apartment?

1) Plan and manage a budget; I would recommend overestimating your budget slightly more than you expect because a lower budget may limit you to finding the right place. The right place is merely a few hundred dollars more than your expected budget.

2) Though many wish to stay in close proximity to the college, areas outside of Manhattan may be considerably be less expensive and potentially more space for students. The commute should not be too shabby because you can use the time to read, study, eat and/or listen to music during the trip to school.

3) Sometimes the size of space is not an issue but it is what you make of the space. Since you are attending school in the city for a few months or so, realistically speaking, you do not need too many things other than clothing, books and a bed. Possibly, you may have more room than you imagine. If your stay is a short one, I would recommend you to rent a furnished room as opposed to an apartment because it is unnecessary to spend on things such as a bed that you will leave behind in less than a year or so.

Here a few quick tips one should keep in mind searching for a place:

1) Though it is time-consuming and it seems rushed to find a place right off-the-bat, always be alert of scams! Often times, international students are the victims of housing scams because they are eager to find a place once they arrive. If a place and its offer seem too good to be true, it usually means it is too good to be true. Do as much research as you can and be aggressive because you may not always fall into the hands of a “legit” landlord. If you feel like something does not feel right such as being requested to send money to the landlord before the proper procedures are executed, this is automatically a red flag. The landlord or broker would never request for payments on the spot. Meet with the broker and see the place with a buddy in person while witnessing the broker has legal access to the place.

2) This may seem like an obvious note but make sure you read everything on the contract/lease before signing anything because in the end, you will bear full responsibility of whatever it is to happen during your stay.

3) Consider subletting if you plan to go away for a few months. Find a guarantor as a back-up who can pay on your behalf in case any financial difficulty arises. However, not only do stable finances allow you to have a place to stay, being a responsible and reliable tenant is another important factor when it comes to renting a place. Take care of everything inside the apartment or dormitory as if it was your own room back at home. Treat someone else’s home like it is your own home. Maintain mint condition of the furniture to the walls so that not only will the landlord appreciates and trusts you, but so that you can live safely and comfortably.

Through years of experience and supplied with a vast social network, AsianInNY provides students with international housing services. AsianInNY ensures that students arrive safely from the airport and brings them to social networking events where they can develop relationships they can trust while living in a foreign city. AsianInNY wishes to help these students adapt to their new lifestyle quicker than one can say “1, 2, 3”, so that they will not feel nervous and fearful of what to come in an unfamiliar land. Through AsianInNY, international students can connect themselves to Asia Society, the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. Asia Society seeks to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Becoming involved in Asia Society can open doors for the international students.

AsianInNY has also associated with many homestay and student housing organizations where we help students find a place to encourage teamwork, build leadership and provide a safe place to learn and have fun, develop programs & structured activities for kids, organizations and community residents. Through various partnership, AsianInNY is able to help international students more efficiently and effectively than if they were to assimilate on their own.

For more info on AsianInNY’s international housing services, please visit: Also, be sure to check the maps below to know about crimes by precinct and location:

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