Housing selection is underway and, like always, the process is filled with stress, frustration and for some, no home at all.
It always seems to be a stressful time for students who are going to be around for the complete calendar year. More often than not, students are dissatisfied with the housing process – whether it’s a high lottery number, undesirable roommates, cramped living quarters or the ridiculous charges that aren’t your fault. Though the situation is not ideal all the time, students do at least have some control over the outcome.
But for those going abroad, it’s a much more complicated story.
The opportunity to travel abroad is quite the privilege most students would love to experience, and, while returning from your new “home” may be difficult, it would be even harder to leave if you had no idea where you going to live when you got back.
Those who choose to study abroad for a semester have little to no say over where they live and whom they live with. A junior could be placed in Barker or Kresge Halls and have a freshman roommate, and while the freshman experience is a hard one to forget, it’s not necessary for most to relive. That junior is being penalized for expanding their horizons by traveling overseas and seeing the world.
Besides this experience being unsatisfactory for the upperclassmen, the freshman is missing out on the sole reason why Barker and Kresge are co-ed – to allow all freshman to live together in a cohesive environment.
Not only would the upperclassmen be unhappy, the freshman probably won’t like the experience much better.
However, being unhappy with on-campus housing will not get a person out of it. Any student desiring to live off campus must petition and meet strict criteria in order to live somewhere a little more hospitable.
But if an upperclass student waits long enough to petition for off campus housing, they will get it because of the lack of available space, which comes back to the exact reason why the current system of housing for abroad students fails to work.
Trouble with the housing process should not dictate the decision to study abroad, but perhaps a little room in upper-classman housing could be spared to ease the culture shock.