International Student Summer Housing

Choosing housing is always a difficult task. Further, when you're visiting for a short amount of time finding a place to call home can be even more stressful. The Berkeley Student Coops are a great option that enhances your experience through the student community amongst the BSC. By choosing the coops you are able to truly experience the Berkeley and Bay Area culture by living with a multitude of folks who know the area as their home.

The co-ops are a very “Berkeley experience” that comprise of democratically run homes. This is an exciting and  unique opportunity that should definitely be taken advantage of!

Still not sure if the BSC is right for you? 

Read testimonials by other international students' experiences in the coops here and scroll down below for a FAQ that may address some further questions you hold!


"Coming all the way from England, I was worried about making friends, but living in the co-op made it so easy! I immediately got to know so many of the girls in Hoyt and the community culture is amazing....I was apprehensive about sharing a room but my 2 roommates became 2 of my best friends here at Cal! I even spent Thanksgiving with my American roommate and her family"

          - Jessie Barker, Hoyt Hall 17'-18'


Q. Are the Co-ops affiliated with UC Berkeley?

A. While the Co-ops are not part of University housing the BSC provides affordable housing and board to students at UC Berkeley and other Bay Area colleges and universities.

Q. Where are the Co-ops located and are they safe?

A. Presently the BSC has about 1250+ student members living in or eating at the seventeen houses and three apartment cooperatives around the UC Berkeley campus. All but one of our houses and apartments are located 1 to 5 blocks from the UC Berkeley campus, making them as close or closer than university housing. Visiting students are able to utilize campus services, such as BearWalk to escort them home in the evening hours if they are concerned about safety. 

Q. What is a workshift?

A. Workshifts are shared housing responsibilities/chores that we all complete in order to help keep housing costs affordable. Workshifts come in many forms (cooking house dinner, sweeping/vacuuming, washing pots, etc.) and students work with their housing managers in order to find tasks that work with their schedules. Workshifts are also a great way to spend time and bond with fellow housemates!

In order for a communal space to operate smoothly everyone contributes 5 hours of workshift  in the houses and 4 hours per 6 week session in the apartments.

Q. So how does food work?

A. For housing contracts with both room and board, all of the food in the houses is collectively shared and the kitchens are stocked with supplies, so members can cook for themselves if they want, although dinner is generally prepared 6 nights per week. In the houses without board, kitchens and cooking supplies are available for your use, while grocery shopping is done on your own. Apartments have kitchens, but food and supplies aren't provided. 

Q. Will I get my own bedroom? 

A. In the co-op houses, new members should expect a shared room.  Specific room assignments are determined at the beginning of summer in room bids ( <- read more about the process by clicking on the link). Some shared rooms are so wonderful and spacious that people have been known to pass up an opportunity to live in a single room. 

There is no standard size for the rooms in our houses - the minimum requirements are:

·       Singles 70+ sqft

·       Doubles 130sqft+ (8ft ceiling)  or  110 sqft+ (9 ft ceiling) 

·       Triples 200+ sqft.

You are guaranteed a single only in our two grad/re-entry co-ops, the Convent, Hillegass Parker, and in Rochdale Village and Fenwick Village (except Fenwick one-bedroom apartments which may be shared by two people.)

Q. What should I bring?

A. Each resident is guaranteed a bed, desk, dresser and chair. Our mattresses are 38"x80" or 60"x80" (the smaller size is "extra long twin.")  If you are moving into a house, you do not need to bring your own dishes, utensils, or kitchen equipment - this is all provided.

You are welcome to bring other furnishings for your room, but you may find it easier/more affordable to search our freepile rooms and buy incidentals once you arrive. (A magical room called the FreePile is a place where previous or current tenants share/donate functional and/or usable items. Anything you might have that you think someone could use again in some which way or another, we put in here. **Historical Finds: hairdryers, clothing, bedding, lamps, keyboards, books, etc.**)

Q. Are your houses coed? 

A.  All of our houses are coed during the summer months. However, you are guaranteed a roommate of your same gender identification.  Bathrooms are part of communal spaces and are coed for folks of all gender identities. 

Q. What support systems are available to visiting students?

A. Check out our resources page at the link here  for a comprehensive look at the services offered by the member resources department.  The BSC comprises a community of students and employees who believe in equality, solidarity, education and caring for others.  A small number of the services include health education, health supplies, online resources, consent workshops, conflict resolution services, and accessibility care.

Q. Can I room with friends from my international university?

A. It is certainly possible to live with someone form your home, but not guaranteed. Many prefer to live on their own for personal reasons, but bear in mind, it is much more advisable to live with others as this will alleviate homesickness and provide some an immediate connection to a group of friends, the possibility of attending family events, the opportunity to learn more about the local culture, etiquette, restaurants, clubs, etc. If you're lucky, you may even find gained access to a car, invaluable opportunities to explore your new digs from a local’s perspective and the ability to go places and do things that regular visitors may never have the chance to!

Q. What is the BSC policy on Substance usage?

A. All international students are eligible for Cloyne Court - our substance free academic theme house.  Cloyne offers a space without the distraction of substances, extended quiet hours, five expansive study rooms, and high speed fiber-optic internet making it the ideal environment for co-opers interested in focusing on academics. You can read more about the Cloyne addendum here.


If you have any other questions come to the central office (2424 Ridge Rd. Berkeley, CA 94709) or give us a call (510-848-1936) to get them answered!