Housing and Transportation

How to Find an Apartment

There are numerous options for finding an apartment!  However, you should always avoid scams! Do not pay, wire fund, accept money, or provide your personal and financial information to anyone you have not met in person. 

Here are some of our recommendations, many of them have apps on for your phone as well:

  • Kapi Residence: Provides fully-furnished student housing that is very affordable, convenient and easy to book. South Bay accommodation is available so please inquire with Kapi.  
  • Craigslist: Classified ads list popular among people to search for rooms, roommates, and apartments. 
  • Homestays: Stay with a local family or group of students. There are many organizations that connect international students to local families. One local organization, based in Silicon Valley, is ISP. 
  • ESL Housing: An international student housing company that specializes in apartments for international students. You can learn more about them by visiting their website at https://www.eslhousing.com/
  • Airbnb: Find short term (a few days to a few months) stays while you begin your studies and settle into the Silicon Valley area.  
  • Facebook Market Place:  Are you already on Facebook?  See the Market Place and search for accommodation. 
  • Trulia: An apartment and housing search engine.  Find apartment rentals, sales, and roommate opportunities. 
  • Padmapper: Another very popular rental search engine that combines searches from many other sites. 
  • Roomster: A new way to search and find housemate and roommate situation accommodation. 

US apartment terminology and San Jose prices

Often you will be expected to pay one month of rent + one month's rent deposit when signing a new lease agreement.

Studio (average price $1600 - $2000): A studio apartment is one large room with a small kitchenette and bathroom.

One-bedroom apartment ($1800 - $2300): One-bedroom apartments have a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. 

Two-bedroom apartment ($2000 - $3000): Two-bedroom apartments have two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. 

Room in a house or apartment ($700 - $1400): Maybe the most popular way to live in the Bay Area and bring costs down.

Get Connected: Internet and Phone Service

You have many options for internet and phone service providers. One of the easiest ways to see what is available is to use inmyarea.com. Type in your five-digit zip code and compare available features.


Getting around the Bay Area can be tough without a car. Depending on your preferences, you can spend very little ($) or a lot ($$$$), on transportation.  

Applying for a California Driver's License: Click here for instructions on how you can apply for your California driver's license.

Car Leases: Instead of purchasing a new car, you can opt to do a short-term lease and pay month-to-month. VOLVO, in particular, has a leasing program for international students so check them out for pricing and terms.

Used Cars: Another cost-effective way to find transportation is to buy a used car. There are many offers on CRAIGSLIST but beware of scammers.  You can also visit a CARMAX location when you're here.

Car Sharing/Taxi/Cab: Uber and Lyft are popular ways to get around if you just want to pay per ride. Average cost per ride is around $10. 

Bus Service: VTA is the public transportation authority (single ride is $2.25 and a monthly pass is $80).

Train Service: CALTrain (map) runs from San Francisco to Gilroy and rides range from $3.75 to $30 depending on the numbers of zones (1-6) you're riding through. Another option is the BART (map and cost calculator) which covers most of San Francisco and the East Bay but none of San Jose. 

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