Every year, around 600 Penn students study abroad. On top of the difficulties that come with working out credits and requirements, these students also face the challenge of arranging half-semester housing. But with a little planning and awareness, it can be relatively easy to overcome the problems.
Living off campus:
For those living off campus, the problem cuts two ways: spring versus fall, and subletter versus subletee.
If you are currently planning to live off campus and hope to study abroad, you are likely going to be responsible for finding a subletter — someone to pay part or all of your rent while you are away.
If you are looking for a subletter in the fall, you might have a harder time, as nearly four times as many students go abroad in the fall than in the spring, according to Penn Abroad. This leaves higher demand for subletters to fill vacant rooms during these months.
When College senior Emily Freeman decided she would be going abroad during the fall semester of her junior year, she began using Craigslist to look for a subletter. Ultimately, she found a friend who was studying abroad in the spring and was looking for a room.
Finding a subletter in either the fall or spring can be a much easier option than dealing with the logistics of on-campus housing or signing a new off-campus lease. College senior Tatum Regan, a 34th Street staff writer, found a sublet using Penn’s Off-Campus Services listings database when she came back from her fall abroad in Lyon, France.
“I winged it,” she said. “It was the least hassle possible.”
Living on campus:
The process for on-campus housing depends on which semester students choose to go abroad.
Students planning to spend the fall abroad do not go through the normal spring selection period, and instead apply for spring housing in October, while they are still abroad.
For students studying abroad in the spring, they apply like all others for on-campus housing and then, in mid-November, apply for an early termination of residence for the time they will be away.
College junior Alicia Rosen lived in Harnwell College House before studying abroad in the spring of her sophomore year, and was very happy with her choice to live on campus that year.
“I just filled out a form in November, told my GA and then in the spring while abroad it was the same as normal,” she said.
Those who wish to live with a particular group of people must be sure that there are an equal number of occupants per semester. According to Assistant Director of Assignments and Communications Liz Hartzell, it is common for one student studying abroad in the spring to replace another studying abroad in the fall. If there is a vacancy in the room for either semester, then the University will fill it in, she added.
Ultimately, Regan said, it’s important not to stress.
“I don’t know anyone who did it as last-minute as I did,” she said, “and it turned out fine.”Comments powered by Disqus
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