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Local Roommates

Breaking the Bubble

At its best, study abroad is about exploring and embracing the local culture—immersing yourself to the point of leaving your own culture behind. Still, as anyone who has studied abroad will tell you, breaking out of the foreigner “bubble” is harder than it looks. It’s easy to find yourself spending all your time with other study abroad students, enjoying the comfort of a shared language and culture.

Our advice for breaking the bubble? Make local friends. All you need is one doorway to the local community, and you can expand from there. At CET, we build this first step right into the program. In almost every program we operate, we pair you with a local roommate. Your local roommate is your key to the city, the language, and the culture. You might even end up with a new best friend, too.

Why Roommates?

Instant Insider’s Access

Local knowledge beats any tour book. Roommates can tell you how to get around town, where to eat, and what to do on weekends. Better yet, they can introduce you to their peers, so that you can start to grown your own local circle of friends.

Language Practice

Roommates teach the slang, jargon and buzzwords that aren’t in the textbooks. In some programs, language activities and assignments that include your roommate are incorporated into the curriculum.

Shared Experience

CET roommates aren’t just part of the living arrangement. They are active members of the program. They attend (and even plan!) many activities and excursions. In some programs they enroll in courses, and in others, they join the group for community service.

Chance to Give Back

The roommate relationship doesn’t just benefit the US student…it is life-altering for both sides. Local roommates rave about the experience, too. Better yet, many report that they actively promote cultural exchange in their communities even after the program has ended.

CET: The Roommate Program

We piloted our first roommate program in Harbin, China in 1988, and introduced roommates at our Beijing site a few years later. With this experience in hand, we expanded around the globe, pioneering roommate programs in countries where others had thought it not possible. Today, local roommates are a mainstay in almost every program we operate. And at the end of every semester, we consistently hear from students that their roommate was “one of the best parts of the program.”