Exchange Student Housing - Dorms vs. Residential Colleges vs. Apartments??
I'm a 2nd year exchange student from Australia who will be studying at UVa in the fall semester 2012. I'm really quite stressed about organising accommodation and where the best place to live for 6 months at UVa is! These are my questions:
1. What is the main differences between and low down on residential colleges vs. hallway style dorm vs. apartment? Which would you recommend for exchange students? I'm a pretty sociable person and generally have no trouble making friends. I really want to meet new people and hang out with local UVa students rather than just other transfer students. I'm looking for a place with a friendly, welcoming and social atmosphere! I also don't mind sharing with a roommate.
2. On-campus/off-campus - are only first years allowed to live on ON-CAMPUS dorms?
3. What would apartment living (say by a sublet) be for an exchange student? Would you meet lots of people this way? I met up with two UVa students currently on exchange at my university in Australia and they both said off-campus apartments are the way to go. But I really want the American college experience of living on-campus, especially since 80% of students at australian universities generally stay in the same state they're from and live at home. We don't have on-campus housing options at all at my uni!
4. What are your opinions on Lambeth, Brown, Hereford, Bice, and Johnson, Malone and Weedone? The stereotypical impressions I've gotten from my research so far is that Hereford is very secluded, far away from campus and "jail-like" in appearance with anti-social kids and 80% single room options. Brown is very "artsy" and for creative/unorthodox students, all double bed rooms with a partition in the middle that makes them kind of like single rooms. JMW is part of the Hereford complex but I have no idea about their reviews. Lambeth and Bice are generally pretty awesome. Are these stereotypes necessarily true? What else should I know about them? I don't mean to offend anybody but those are the things I seem to have picked up and was wondering whether they are the case.
5. How far are the residential colleges (Hereford, Brown, Lambeth, Bice, JMW) or apartments (near The Corner/Grand marc) from the campus? Minutes/walking distance?
As I said I'm a pretty friendly person who is looking for an excellent, fun, exciting UVa experience. Which housing option will provide me with the atmosphere I am looking for?? Pretty stressed at the moment, so any responses to the comprehensive questions above are welcome!!