Finding housing may seem daunting when you are far away, to make your search easier it is essential to start early and be flexible in your options. Most exchange students find living arrangements that they like, whether it's for a semester or a year.
Options include off-campus apartments, sublets, on-campus university housing in residence halls, off-campus residence halls, and cooperatives.
To search for housing, you can use the Campus Area Housing Service or the housing section of the Madison craigslist web site. Also, feel free to contact IESP in case the office can pass on information about sublets from students traveling overseas.
While some of you may want to make living arrangements before you arrive in Madison, you may want to consider visiting the apartment in person before renting and signing a lease.
A lease is a contract that commits you to living in an apartment for an agreed amount of time. Most apartments are rented for a 12-month period, typically from August 15 of one year to August 14 of the next, and exchange students generally want to avoid making that commitment. However, exchange students have found apartments that offer semester-long leases and that are close to campus.
Some individuals living in Madison rent out a room in someone else's home. Others are moving from their apartment and have already signed a lease; they will look for someone to take over their lease, and this is called a sublease or sublet.
It is fairly easy and inexpensive to find a sublet for spring semester, but is often difficult to find one for fall. Sometimes current UW students contact International Engineering Studies & Programs and ask us to inform exchange students about such arrangements. We then pass on the contact information to you.
If you are staying in Madison for one semester, you may want to ask the exchange program coordinator at your home university for names of students at your university who are studying at UW-Madison the opposite semester of the year. It is easier to find an apartment with a 12-month lease than a semester-long lease. Those students from your university studying in Madison fall semester could find an apartment with a 12-month lease that begins August 15. When they leave, the students arriving spring semester could move into that apartment. Spring semester students could arrange to sublease the apartment to someone during the summer. Generally, this is acceptable to the landowner, though fees may apply.
You will likely want to rent an apartment that already contains furniture. Such apartments are referred to as "furnished" apartments. "Unfurnished" apartments have no furniture. Many, but not all, subleases are furnished apartments.
On-campus residence halls
Residence halls are available to exchange students, though space is not guaranteed. While single rooms are sometimes available, often, you may sometimes have to share a double room with another UW student. Also, be aware that typically, residence halls have first-year and second-year university students, and you may find that you prefer to live in a setting with fewer younger students and people closer to your own age.
For fall semester, the deadline to apply to live in an on-campus residence hall is May 1. For the spring, available rooms will be filled on a space available basis, so you should apply as soon as possible if you are interested. After you are admitted to UW, you will receive information from UW-Madison's Division of University Housing about opportunities to live on campus.
Off-campus housing options
Off-campus housing options include apartments and private residence halls. For your convenience, we list a few here that students have used in the past and some may offer semester leases. However, this is not an endorsement of any particular institution.
305 N. Frances St.
Madison WI 53703
Phone: (608) 255-9353
1402 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53711
Phone: (877) 722-1300
Highlander Residence Hall
121 W. Gilman St.
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 255-7100
Private Residence Hall
505 N. Frances Street, Madison
Private Residence Hall
502 N. Frances Street, Madison
121 S. Pickney St. Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 256-4200
An additional resource is the Smarter Renter Blog (With information on rental issues/concerns/FAQ in Madison) - http://info.stevebrownapts.com
Cooperative housing in Madison is another popular option. Cost starts at about $300-400 per month for a single room with shared bath and kitchen facilities. Each member of the household shares in housework duties, including cooking, cleaning and serving meals.
For information on cooperative housing, contact:
Madison Community Cooperative
306 N. Brooks St.
Madison, WI 53715
Campus information center
The Campus Information Center and the Campus Area Housing Service, located in the Red Gym, are resources available for all issues about Madison and UW.
Visitor and Information Programs can provide answers to all kinds of questions related to the UW.
The Campus Area Housing Service both provides information on housing and allows you to search for apartments both on and off campus.
Craigslist is an online listings tool that can be extremely useful in finding housing. However, please be aware that you should be careful in your dealings with private individuals through this web site and should not send money to reserve housing, there have been scams. Various options are listed under the "Housing" section of the Madison craigslist.