Life at BU

More new experiences await on BU’s campus and in Boston than you can imagine. Here are some resources to make the most of your time at BU and get your adventures started.


On Campus

Living on campus gives you the full university experience, and your residence hall is an excellent place to make friends with fellow students. In fact, freshmen and full-tuition scholarship awardees are required to live on campus.

Many residences offer specialty communities, such as language houses or floors for a particular school.

Living in a residence hall may be very different from how you lived before coming to BU, but the same is true for most of your American neighbors. BU Residence Life, the full-time staff, faculty-in-residence, and students dedicated to creating civilized, learning-friendly communities in campus residences, can help with questions about life in the residence halls.

Even though the University closes during certain vacation periods, such as intersession in winter and spring recess in March, BU Housing makes it possible for you to stay on campus year-round.

Graduate Students

Residence halls are for undergraduates only, but graduate students can still apply to live on campus in BU’s apartments. You can explore off campus options below.

Off Campus

If you’re a graduate student or a sophomore, junior, or senior, you can choose to live off campus. BU’s Off Campus Services has listings for nearby rental properties and a rent comparison chart. They can also help you find a roommate to share living costs. Explore nearby neighborhoods to help you choose an apartment.


Food is one of the defining characteristics of any culture. At BU, you can experience American food, of course, but you also have a chance to try foods from around the world. From dining options in the residence halls to restaurants on campus and throughout Boston, there is a wide variety to taste. There are special events during the year, such as the annual Thanksgiving meal.

Student Life

The university is a place to study, but also where you’ll make lifelong friends and connect with future colleagues. Sometimes it can be hard to get to know other students outside of class. You can join a student group, attend an event at the Howard Thurman Center, or check in with the Dean of Students to see what’s going on around campus. Join groups like Alianza Latina to connect with other students from outside the US.

Student groups can also be a great place to start your Boston exploration with some new friends. Try one that organizes trips into the city, like Habitat For Humanity, or out into nature, like the Outing Club.

Health, Fitness, and Sports

Baseball may be the “great American pastime,”—and you should catch a Red Sox game at Fenway while you’re here—but at BU there are many other sports and activities to enjoy.

Watch BU athletes compete—many of them are national champions, see if you qualify to play for BU, or join an intramural sport.

We have exercise and dance classes, recreation and athletics clubs, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.

Tips From International Students

For any student, college is an adjustment, but it’s especially true for international students who must adapt to a new culture and, in some instances, a new language, all while finding their way around campus and learning to live in an unfamiliar city. BU Today reached out to more than a dozen international students who are upperclassmen. They were asked to reflect on their own experiences and share some suggestions for settling in. Hear what they had to say.

Immunization, Health Insurance, & Medical Care

International students must meet some specific requirements related to proof of immunizations and medical insurance coverage. More than just legal requirements, these measures make sure you stay healthy and happy while at BU.


Before classes start, you must submit a health form and Certificate of Immunization to Student Health Services. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires immunizations to be completed prior to enrollment.

Medical Insurance

Massachusetts law requires all full-time students students to have medical insurance. Students who can not demonstrate coverage under a qualifying medical insurance plan are required to purchase the University’s student health insurance plan, which meets Massachusetts law requirements and is competitively priced.

The US doesn’t have a socialized or national system of health care, and medical treatment is extremely expensive. All international students and international exchange visitors at Boston University are required to have appropriate medical insurance coverage. This protects you from incurring high costs if you need medical treatment. International students are automatically enrolled in the Boston University Student BASIC Plan.

If you have a comparable level of health insurance coverage, you may apply to waive participation in BU’s plan. However, be careful of plans purchased outside the US, as they may not meet legal requirements. In fact, very few plans qualify. We encourage you to consider BU’s Student BASIC Plan (group policy number is 711110), which meets Massachusetts law requirements and is competitively priced.

Before filing a Medical Insurance Waiver, carefully read the Comparable Coverage guidelines to make sure your insurance plan meets the strict requirements to qualify for the waiver.

View your personal medical insurance status, or waive or confirm the medical insurance charge, in the Student Link. NOTE: If you are under 18 years if age, you must use the paper Medical Insurance Waiver Form.