Finding housing for a 3 month summer internship in a city that you have never been to can be a challenge. Many short-term housing options can be outrageously expensive and leave you with very little money left over after paying rent, or they put you in the negative if the internship pays you too little or nothing at all. Below are some of the best options I have heard from previous interns about how to secure affordable short-term housing:
1. Corporate recommended housing
Many large organizations often coordinate with local universities and other programs to provide their interns with short-term housing at discounted rates. Be sure to take advantage of these offers early, as there isn’t always enough capacity for everyone, and slots can fill up quickly.
A few of the interns at my place of employment in Charlotte were able to find summer housing through the website. Generally these places were very nice and fully furnished. Registering for the service online was very straightforward and ended up costing around $1,000 a person for the whole summer, a fraction of what most other rentals would have cost.
3. Friends and extended family
This may not always be feasible, but to the extent that you have any friends or extended family in the area, it is worth the shot, and it is by far your best chance of achieving free housing for the summer. It might also make sense to focus your internship search beforehand on cities where you have these personal ties and can coordinate these kinds of arrangements, especially if you are a freshman or sophomore and have a feeling that your internship will be unpaid.
Asking a mentor if they would be willing to let you stay with them during a summer internship could play out to be one of the best decisions you ever make. My sophomore year, I had an amazing opportunity to intern for a private equity group in Charlotte. The only issue was that it was unpaid, and I didn’t have housing in Charlotte. I asked one of my mentors if I could stay in his guest bedroom for the summer. To this day, it is one of the nicest things someone has ever done for me. Not only that, but I learned so much by having the chance to eat dinner with him and his family. I received amazing advice over drinks after work and on the weekends. At first, I was so nervous about asking him, but I am so glad I did. It turned out to be the best summer of my collegiate career. Without his generosity, there is no way that I would be where I am today.