WESLI can arrange a dormitory room or a homestay for you. If you need WESLI to arrange housing for you, mark this on your application.


WESLI Student Residence/Dorm

The WESLI Student Residence is located is our apartment-style dormitory at Hamilton Place. At WESLI’s Student Residence, students share a fully furnished suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a living room. The suite includes: linens, pillows, towels, dishes, silverware, Smart TVs, cable channels, DVD & CD player, phone service with unlimited local calls, and high speed WiFi Internet access. Students are responsible for cooking their own food. Students living in WESLI’s Student Residence are also provided with an additional classroom for studying and class projects.

The residence is only one block from WESLI. There are many interesting shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and parks nearby. Single bedrooms may be available, but have an additional cost. Please tell us if you are interested in a single room.


Homestay With an American Family

Staying with an American family is a great opportunity to experience American culture and practice English. WESLI has been placing students in homestay families for over 30 years. Today, many WESLI homestay families have hosted students for more than 15 years. Relationships between homestay families and students can last a lifetime. When WESLI recruits new families, the Housing Coordinator screens and trains families to ensure the families and the students enjoy their experience.

Your American family may be a couple with or without children or a single person. Most families live 5 to 10 kilometers from WESLI, about 20 to 45 minutes by bus. (There are monthly bus passes with unlimited rides for a reasonable price.) You will have a private room and food provided. Most families do not permit smoking in the house.


Airport Pick-Up

WESLI can pick you up in Madison! This service is an additional fee: $50 from Madison’s airport or bus stop (private pick up) or $60 from Chicago’s airport (by bus).

A WESLI staff member will pick you up from the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison and take you to your dorm. If you are in a homestay, your homestay family will pick you up.

To ensure airport pick-up, please send your arrival information at least 14 days in advance. Please plan to arrive between 8am and 10pm. If your flight is delayed, or you miss a connection and can’t find a WESLI staff member at the airport, you can take a taxi or an Uber. Taxis are located right outside the airport, beside the baggage claim. It will take 10-25 minutes to go by taxi, and cost $12-30.


What to Expect in The Dorm

Living in the dormitory is fun for students who like independence and meeting people from all over the world. There are rules in the dormitory to help everyone have a safe and pleasant stay. You will receive these rules upon arrival. If you don’t understand them, you can ask for help from a WESLI staff member or another student.


  • No smoking or pets. You must not smoke or keep any pets anywhere inside the building.
  • Guests: If there are any empty beds in the unit, you cannot have guests sleeping in those beds. If those beds are used by a guest, the student will be charged one night’s fee and the cost of cleaning the room.
  • Keys: If you lose your key, you must pay a fee to have the key and lock replaced. If you don’t return the key on the day when you move out, you will be charged for your room until you return the key.
  • Cleaning: You should clean your apartment regularly. You must take out the trash and clean your bathroom frequently. When you move out, your room must be clean in order to receive your security deposit back.
  • Noise: All residents must respect other students. Quiet hours are every night between 10:00pm and 7:00am.

Check out our what it’s like to be a WESLI student here!




You will live with 3 other students in your apartment. You will share a bathroom and bedroom with one of them, and the kitchen and living room with all 3 roommates. If you are considerate and flexible, you will make many new friends and have a good time experiencing your special time in the US.
You and your roommates are responsible for keeping your apartment clean and the furniture and appliances in good shape. If something is missing or broken, tell the Dormitory Manager immediately. Respect your roommates by washing your own dishes and keeping the shared area clean. Please understand that food and personal habits are different in different countries. However, if you believe there is a situation that is not acceptable, talk to WESLI’s Housing Coordinator.


Living in the WESLI Student Residence, you are responsible for all your meals. You will need to cook for yourself or find a restaurant or grocery store. There are places nearby where you may shop for food, personal care products, and food from your country. You will receive this information when you arrive. If a student cooks most meals in the dorm, she or he can plan on spending about $200-300 per month on food.

You might also share some things with your roommates. You can buy these things together and share the cost: hand soap, bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and some food or spices.


Madison is a safe place. Even so, there is a security system and surveillance cameras in the residence building. You should always keep your apartment door locked to prevent theft.

Moving Out and Extending Your Stay

You must stay in the dormitory for at least two months (one session) before you move. You must tell the Dormitory Manager 10 days in advance whether you plan to move out or extend your stay at the end of the session.

Life in a WESLI Homestay

American families come in all shapes and sizes. Most families live in a house, but some live in an apartment. Most families are middle-class or “average,” so you will stay in an ordinary home and learn about everyday life in America. Your private room will have a bed, a desk, and a place to store your clothes. You will share the bathroom with other family members. Students may share the family’s washing machine, dryer, and cooking appliances, but students need to buy their own personal items, such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and laundry detergent.

Average American families do not have maids, and most women work outside the home. You must clean your own room and wash your own clothes and bedding. You are also expected to help clean the shared areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, dining room and living room.


Food is provided by the host family. Usually, family members prepare their own breakfast and pack sandwiches or leftovers for lunch to take to work or school. Most evenings, the family eats together. You will have some social activities, so you will sometimes eat lunch or dinner out with friends. If you will not eat dinner with the family, you must inform the family of your plans. You can always help yourself to snacks, like fruit, crackers, or nuts. Ask your family what’s normal in their house and what you can eat.

If you want special food from your country, your homestay family will tell you where to go shopping, but they are not responsible for buying expensive imported foods. If you enjoy cooking, you are welcome to use the kitchen as long as you clean up afterwards. Your family is interested in learning about your culture and food, so feel free to introduce a new dish and invite your family to cook together with you. Occasionally your family may ask you to join them for dinner at a restaurant.

Social Interactions

Americans are usually very informal people. Your host family wants you to act like a member of their family. If they say “Help yourself to something to eat,” they really mean you may eat anything in the refrigerator when you are hungry.

Your family wants to learn about your country, culture, and your family. They also want to share new and interesting experiences with you. They enjoy helping you learn English and understand American culture.

It’s important that you greet and talk to your family members. If something confuses you, or you have a problem with the family, talk to them immediately! It might be just a misunderstanding or something that the family is not aware of. They appreciate honesty. If you don’t talk to your family, they will think you are unhappy and dislike them.

American customs may be very different from yours. For example, your host parents may hug and kiss in public, or they may argue in front of you. These things are part of the homestay experience.


You are expected to stay with your homestay family for at least two months (one session), and pay on time. If you plan to move out, you must tell your family one month in advance.

You should respect the house rules and schedules. In general, people don’t use the home phone after 9:30pm unless there is an emergency. You should try to conserve water and electricity and be quiet while other family members are resting. You should always let your host know where you are if you will be coming home late, or if you are away overnight, so that they don’t worry about you!

It’s possible that your family has some special rules. These rules shouldn’t be too strong or unfair. If you think your family’s rules are unfair, talk to them. If you have any concerns and complaints that you cannot solve by talking with your family, talk to WESLI’s Housing Coordinator right away.