Growing up on the Central Coast, local Adam Lee has fond memories of his parents hosting international students in their home when he was in high school. Some of the students his family housed are still in contact with Lee to this day.
Through the international programs his parents participated in, Lee said he has friends in Germany and other parts of Europe, so when he travels, he often visits or stays with them.
- Photo Courtesy Of StudentRoomStay
- FINDING A HOME In October, college students interested in finding long-term housing will be able to use a new resource created in part by local Adam Lee: StudentRoomStay at studentroomstay.com.
That positive experience carried into his adulthood, when he and his wife began opening their home to students from countries across the world as well.
"I think it just opens up your mind, especially from an international perspective, just being able to be surrounded by a different culture and interact with somebody from another country and let your kids experience that, too, I think is probably one of the coolest things," Lee said.
The way he sees it, people are raised differently internationally and in the U.S. They have differing cuisines and different beliefs.
"Being able to share those, have open communication, and learn about other people in other parts of the world is exciting," Lee said.
The connection and learning opportunities became a passion for Lee when he started the company AmeriStudent in 2014, which helped international students under the age of 18 find housing in the U.S.
In the years that followed, the company acquired American Homestay Network, Australian Homestay Network, and Mystay International, but Lee wanted to provide the accommodation service and opportunity for growth to college students in the states as well.
With the help of his Australian business partner David Bycroft, Cal Poly and Cuesta College students, as well as those from other surrounding colleges and universities, can be the first to use Lee's latest service, StudentRoomStay.
The online platform is built to make the house-hunting experience for students fluid, transparent, and safe. Interested students will be able to use the online site and mobile app to choose from homes and apartments that will fit their financial and location needs.
"These young adults have so much to think about that we're here to make the process easier, more transparent, and safer," he said
- Image Courtesy Of StudentRoomStay
- SAFE TRAVELS Students throughout California, including on the Central Coast, will soon have access to a transparent and easy-to-use platform to find their ideal living situation.
Lee said the goal is to give more information about the location of the available space so students know exactly what services they will be surrounded by.
"I think one of the things that I've seen just in this industry is just a lack of transparency where students can get themselves into very long leases in places that maybe they don't know about," Lee said.
He said often students are coming from different parts of the state, country, or world and they aren't sure what neighborhood to live in or how close they want to live to their school or university.
"We're able to help them and guide them through a lot of those questions they have and get them into an accommodation that's right for them and that's in almost all cases less expensive too," Lee said.
Each accommodation is vetted by the company through an inspection and by getting to know the homeowner or property owner.
The company finished its first round of funding, which valued it at more than $10 million for its 2020 U.S. launch; it has plans to expand to international markets next year.
Local students must wait for the company's October launch to find approved rentals on the Central Coast and throughout the state. However, homeowners and property owners interested in listing their available spaces can access the website and sign up.
When StudentRoomStay officially launches, it will be available to students in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Fresno, Orange County, Los Angeles, Fullerton, and San Diego. Lee said the company would launch 30 days from when he spoke with New Times on Sept. 9.
"I think the one thing that's really cool is just the fact that we're local here in San Luis Obispo, but we're really an international company," he said. "Collectively we've placed over 100,000 students in our different entities. So we've been doing this a long time." Δ
Staff Writer Karen Garcia can be reached at email@example.com.
Editor's note: This article has been edited for accuracy.