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Living in Boston

Information for International Students

Photo by Bonica Ayala

This page contains the following information for students coming from abroad:

Go to Housing and Roomates for additional information about housing and areas in Boston to live.


Temporary Lodging: Hotels & Hostels
If you arrive without advance housing arrangements you may need to stay in a hotel for a short period of time. Below is a list of moderate cost hotels and hostels. As of this writing, you might expect to pay between $30 and $85 a night per person. Some places will charge more for a single room and some prices may be higher on weekends. Also, some places do not have private baths, while others may charge more for this amenity. Be sure to inquire about these services before making reservations.

Berkeley Residence YWCA
40 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
(women only-includes breakfast)

The Beacon Plaza
1459 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02146

International Guest House
237 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02116
(provides short-term and long-term stay)

Boston International Youth Hostel
12 Hemenway Street
Boston, MA 02115

For more information on youth hostels, contact:
Youth Hostel Information Office
1020 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Housing Terminology
The following is a glossary of commonly used abbreviations found in classified ads:

  • a/c - air conditioned
  • apt - apartment
  • avail - available
  • Bdrm, BR - bedroom
  • bldg - building
  • DR - dining room
  • d/w - dishwasher
  • efficiency - studio/one room
  • fl - floor
  • immed occpy - immediate occupancy
  • inc - includes
  • kitchenette - small kitchen
  • e.i.k - 'eat-in kitchen'/large kitchen
  • LR - living room
  • lux - luxury
  • mo - month
  • nr - near
  • nwly renovtd - newly renovated
  • owner occ - owner occupied
  • pvt - private
  • refs - references
  • util - utilities (heat, water, elect.)
  • w/ - with

Types of Tenancy
A tenant "at will" is one who occupies an apartment without a written contract, but still pays rent-usually monthly. Either the landlord or the tenant may end this arrangement with no explanation. A warning of 30 days should be given prior to moving out.

Another form of tenancy arrangement involves a document called a lease. Renting an apartment usually involves signing a contract or lease for one year. The duration of occupancy can be negotiated for lesser periods of time. If you leave before the full term of the contract expires, you will be held responsible for the remainder of the term. Before signing the lease read it very carefully to understand all its conditions. When signing a lease you will probably be asked to pay in advance the first and last months' rent, as well as a security deposit equal to one month's rent. The security deposit is held by the landlord to be returned to you after you leave if it is determined that the property has not been damaged. It is wise to get a written, signed statement from the landlord as to the condition of the apartment before you move in so that you will not be charged for damages for which you are not responsible.

Subletting an apartment means that the tenant leases the apartment to another tenant. Read your lease to see if it has a clause that prohibits this arrangement. Apartments are often subleted during summer vacation.

The rent of an apartment often will not include the cost of utilities. With the current cost of energy, it is important to determine what heat, hot water and electricity will mean in terms of additional expense. Your heating system will probably use gas or fuel oil and may be rather expensive during winter months. You should know what these financial responsibilities will entail when choosing an apartment.

When you decide to take an apartment, you will need to contact the appropriate utility providers to have services turned on in your name. Your future landlord will know which utility company to call and services should be connected a week after your request by phone. You will probably be billed every month, and the charges will depend on your use of the services. When you want to terminate service be sure to notify the companies in advance of your departure so that you will not be billed for service that the next tenants use.

Electric Appliances
If you are coming from certain countries of Europe, Asia or Africa be aware that you will have to adjust the voltage of your appliances from 220 to 110. Many appliances have a switch built-in so that they may be used both overseas and in the U.S. If you need to buy a transformer, check to be sure that you get one that can handle the amount of power you will need to use. These devices can usually be found in any well-equipped hardware store.

Coin operated Laundromats are scattered throughout the city. There may be washing facilities within your apartment or apartment building. Consult the Yellow Pages phone directory for the Laundromat nearest you. Some Laundromats also offer drop-off laundry service. The price is based on the weight of the laundry to be cleaned and there is usually a minimum cost. Prices usually range from 65 cents to 90 cents per pound. Clothes that need special care will cost extra.

List of Banks Around the BAC
Fleet Bank (international)
855 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
617.536.6985 T: Hynes/ ICA (Green line)

Citizens Bank (International)
426 Boylston St.
Boston MA 02116
T: Copley (Green line)

Cambridge Trust
65 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108

Sovereign Bank
1 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108
279 Massachusetts Ave. Boston, 02113

Asian American Bank & Trust (international)
70 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02111
T: China Town (Orange line), Boylston (Green line) or Down Town Crossing (Red line)

As required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts legislation, all students must present evidence of immunization against measles, mumps, rubella, and tetanus/diphtheria. Please print the immunization form on the admissions page, or take the form from your acceptance packet to your health care provider. Some vaccinations may require a series of doses over a period of time