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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #16: Where To Live? - 2004-12-16

Broadcast: December 16, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

We continue our Foreign Student Series. Today, we discuss where to live once you are admitted to an American college or university.

Housing policies differ. Some schools, for example, require students to live in a dormitory, at least for their first year.

Dormitory buildings may have a thousand students, or just a few. Some are organized into suites. Suites have several bedrooms, a common living area and a bathroom. Six or more people may live in one suite.

Other dorms have many rooms along a hallway, usually with two students in each room. A large bathroom may serve all the students on one floor.

Many students say dormitories provide the best chance to get to know other students. And they generally cost less than apartments or other housing not owned by the school.

Most universities have some separate dorms for males and females. Usually, however, males and females live in the same building. They may even live on the same floor and share the same bathroom. But usually they may not live in the same room unless they are married.

At many schools, male students can join fraternities and female students can join sororities. These are social organizations. But members may also be able to live at a fraternity and sorority house.

Edward Spencer is the associate vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Mister Spencer says it is important to understand the rules of the building in which you will live.

He advises students to ask some questions before they decide about their housing. For example: Does the school provide any special kinds of food that the student may require? Are there private bathing areas in the dorms? Will the school provide a single room if a student requests one?

Mister Spencer says some universities take special care to help foreign students in their housing. Virginia Tech, for example, changed its policy against candles in dorms. This way candles can be lit for ceremonial purposes. The university also keeps several dorms open all year. That means foreign students have a place to stay during vacation times.

Our Foreign Student Series continues next week. All of our reports are online at voaspecialenglish dot com.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Gwen Outen.