Though an Ohio State student co-founded a website that has helped about 80 students find housing for their study abroad trips, so far no OSU students have enlisted the website’s help.
To Brett Newman, a fourth-year in strategic communication, his experience studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, meant more than just improving his foreign language skills.
After Newman and friends heard other students complaining about the housing while studying abroad, Newman and his business partner, Ryan Blum, a fourth-year student at Syracuse University, decided to create Study Abroad Apartments, a website that provides students more options for housing to meet any “specialized need,” Newman said.
“What I mean by specialized, we offer the opportunity for you to meet with other students in the same building,” Newman said. “(The landlords we’re in touch with) pick them (up) from the airport and take them (on a) tour around the area and explaining things, explaining Barcelona, explaining you know, where they should go (to the) grocery store, where to get supplies.”
Newman said since the pair started Study Abroad Apartments in May 2013, they have served about 80 students from 18 different universities, including ones in Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois and Arizona, who have studied in Barcelona.
“(What) is interesting, though, that with these 80 students, not one is from Ohio State,” Newman said.
Newman said students are charged $99 to lease apartments through the website.
Newman said he and his partner check the credibilities of the companies they work with overseas to try to ensure the apartments are secure.
Jeannie Simmons, senior study abroad manager in the OSU Office of International Affairs, said most of the study abroad programs offered through OSU already cover housing for students.
“Really (there are) only very few (situations) when students (are) in the position to find their own housing,” Simmons said.
In the 2011-12 academic year, more than 283,000 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit, representing about 1 percent of all U.S. higher education students, according to the NAFA: Association of International Educators.
Cody McNulty, a fourth-year in French and political science, who had an internship in France last semester said he thinks Study Abroad Apartments could be “very useful.”
“I (initially) searched apartments’ (rental) websites … But I couldn’t find (anything) so I used a service there to (find) a host family,” Mcnulcy said.
Newman said the website plans to begin offering services in London this year.