Standard of Living

Residents in the United States enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Many things that we take for granted are considered luxuries abroad, even in other first-world countries such as Europe and Japan.

Here are some differences you may encounter:

  • The population density in Europe, Asia, Africa and much of Latin America means that cars and homes are generally much smaller than they are here.
  • Utilities (for heat and hot water) and appliances are often very expensive abroad and used much more frugally than in the U.S.
  • Students living in a residence hall abroad may have very drab, basic furnishings, and their rooms will probably be kept much colder in the winter than they are here at Whitman.
  • Students may not be permitted to use hot water to shower every day or may have to limit the length of time of their shower.
  • Students living with a host family or local landlord may not be permitted to use the refrigerator, clothes washer, or family phone.
  • When in doubt, students should check with their program about what host families/landlords are expected to supply them with, or talk to their host directly about their requests.
  • Very few city-based programs abroad offer students a situation similar to the one found at Whitman, where the classrooms, dormitories, dining halls, student union, etc. are all in close proximity to each other, and where a large number of students live on campus. Most universities abroad are commuter schools rather than residential institutions, and students often spend 1-3 hours per day traveling to and from campus. On most city-based programs, students will use public transportation to get to their classes and do a lot of walking or bike riding.
  • Living in a large city in a foreign country can be a bit overwhelming with the traffic, pollution, and lack of greenery common to most metropolitan areas in the U.S. Be prepared for the differences between life in Walla Walla and urban living, and take advantage of the many opportunities that a city provides!