You’ve accepted your offer letter: congratulations!
Next, you’ll need to decide what your international student accommodations in Canada will look like. It can seem like a lot to navigate a new country, let alone find a place to live! Where do you begin?
To find your new home, you can connect with your academic institution for guidance or move forward independently.
First, decide whether you want to live in an on-campus residence, off-campus housing, or with a host family.
We would like to provide you with an overview of common options below:
Why live on campus? There are plenty of perks. You’re more likely to make new friends and get involved quickly because you’ll be around other students a lot. This can help make moving to Canada feel easier. Also, you’ll be near social events, food halls, study spaces, and your classes, so you’ll save money on transportation.
Many student residences have a don or residence advisor (RA), often an older student who can provide support, resolve conflicts, and help ensure safety. While rooms vary, the most common offerings are traditional dorm rooms and apartments or suites. Housing aims to welcome diverse students: many campuses offer separate housing for older students or students with families; some have accessible or barrier-free housing; others offer single-sex floors or buildings. Lastly, some accommodations include meal plans, so your room and meals are settled all in one contract.
Dormitories (or “dorms”) are the most common residence option. Students may be assigned to a single dorm room with one bed, or a double dorm room with two beds.
Rooms are usually furnished with a bed frame, mattress, desk, chair, lamp, and closet space. Students must buy their own bedsheets and towels, and because those are bulky, we recommend buying them in Canada. Living facilities like kitchens, washrooms, and lounges are shared. It’s important to know how many students share each facility, as sharing a kitchen space with everyone on your floor is different from sharing it with everyone in your building! Also, some students may be comfortable with co-ed washrooms, whereas others may not be.
Suites and apartments offer more independence, and share similar social benefits as dorm rooms. Students may live with up to five other students in one apartment or suite, and may have their own bedroom or may share. Units include a kitchen, washroom, and living room. Similar to dorms, apartments and suites may have basic furniture, and standard appliances like a fridge and microwave. Suites may have in-suite or in-building laundry. Many also include basic utilities and internet access.
Many students choose to live off-campus, especially after their first year. For international students, it’s a great way to meet others! Depending on the length of your stay, you can rent, sublet, or live with a host family.
Looking for a larger space?
Many students rent a house, condo, or apartment with other students. Depending on your budget and desired living arrangements, it may work better to rent directly from a landlord or sublet.
To sublet means to take over another student’s lease, usually because they’re away for some time. The space is often fully furnished and utilities (internet, electricity, etc.) may be included. Sublets vary from a couple of months to a year. Find one through on-campus ads, searching on Google or through your host school’s Facebook group.
As of June 2022, the average monthly rent for apartments across Canada was C$1,685. Renting a house averages C$2,893 per month, but remember if you plan to live with roommates, its cost per student can be lower than an apartment. Generally, renting is pricier in Ontario and British Columbia, and lower in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Things to Keep in Mind
Once you receive your letter of acceptance, many schools will send a pre-departure orientation package, complete with accommodation options. These options are often listed on schools’ websites, brochures or other marketing materials – and for this reason – should be researched and compared before any formal application to study has been submitted to the school.
Once you’re ready to register and pay for accommodation, commit to the service. Most quality homestay and apartment options diminish around four to eight weeks before your arrival date, especially in peak times such as August and September.
- Be sure to ask your school or agent if they can assist you with booking your accommodation in Canada.
- Beware of scams on some websites such as Craigslist and never send money before seeing the apartment or meeting the owner face-to-face!
- Schools may offer accommodation services in-house, refer to a placement agency, or expect students to find accommodation themselves. Determine the school’s practice and be proactive.
- It’s not mandatory to choose the accommodations supplied or referred to by the school.
- Whatever you decide to do, be sure to find an accommodation where you feel comfortable and safe and where you will be able to study and be successful during your time in Canada.
Upon being accepted at a Canadian university, you’ve probably experienced a mix of emotions. From excitement to confusion and anxiety, you can’t wait to begin a whole new experience in a different culture. Be prepared to make new friends and have life-changing experiences.
We would like to help you get the best experience while studying in Canada by sharing the following
6 Practical Tips for International Students in Canada
- Take advantage of the school’s online resources
While you may be tempted to stay at your residence all day, use your time to learn as much as possible about the school. Learn about where you’ll find transportation, the health and safety of neighboring cities, the Canadian culture and more. The school website usually has loads of information for international students so it’s a great place to start.
- Make friends
One thing about meeting new people especially from other countries is that it helps to improve your vocabulary and you’ll learn the language much faster. Staying at your University housing facility will expose you to people from different parts of the country. Don’t just hang out with people who speak your language. Speak English in informal conversations and you will learn the language quicker plus you’ll have friends to visit in other countries when you leave school.
- Learn about Canadian culture
Canada has different customs which would be very interesting for an international student to learn. When you understand the culture, you’ll be able to interact with people more smoothly. Learning people’s customs also helps you to engage with conversations and make new friends easily. Remember that Canadians have a diverse background and culture. There’s never a right or wrong way of doing things. In general, they are very polite people, though casual. For instance, if calling a teacher, one would normally use Miss or Ms but for friends, you’d simply use their first name.
- Canadian Punctuality
Being punctual is important in Canadian culture. If you’re running late for a meeting or casual date, make sure to call the other person or at least text and say you’ll be a little late. Cancel the meeting if you can’t keep time. It’s a rule of thumb not to arrive more than 10 minutes late. Also, don’t arrive at someone’s place more than 10 minutes early because the host may be unprepared. However, if you are going for a job interview or school meeting, arrive at least 10 minutes before time so that you can prepare. Simply learn to keep time.
- Get a Student Bank Account
Do your research on a student bank account that offers low service fees. You can get a debit card that you can use to make deposits and withdrawals or pay bills. You’ll usually be asked for your foreign passport and one other piece of photo ID to open a bank account. Some banks will need your home address or residence details if you live in apartments near your University.
- Get appropriate insurance
International students need an adequate travel medical plan that will cater for any health care expenses while in Canada. This is meant to be additional to the provincial insurance offered by Canada to all students. It may cover things such as chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, physiotherapy, and others as such.
Your school may recommend a certain coverage for you so be sure to visit their website to see what they recommend. A suitable insurance plan should cover for accidents or injuries that happen during your trip as well as while you study in Canada.
OFFICE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
One important factor that determines whether international students are successful and are satisfied with their studies at a university is the presence of dedicated support for international students. Universities that put emphasis on supporting international students usually have a dedicated office/department to help these students. These offices can offer a variety of services including:
- Giving advice on where a student should live and providing support for incoming international students to find housing.
- Providing incoming international students with information on what to expect once they arrive in Canada.
- Once in Canada, these offices usually organize an orientation to introduce students to Canada and to university services.
- Connecting international students with other international students and with Canadian volunteers.
- Providing seminars on topics related to settlement in Canada.
- Organizing trips and parties for international students.
- Most importantly, well supported offices for international students have in-house immigration consultants. These consultants provide support for applications related to visas, study permit, and work permit free of charge.
Thus, universities that are serious about supporting international students have very well funded offices for international students. When choosing a university in Canada, make sure to look for information on what type of support for international students is offered by the university.
If you are looking for more information, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to leave your comments below in the comment section.
You can also book an appointment with us to speak to our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant or one of our immigration representatives.
We are a leading immigration consultancy in Canada with 1000+ successful clients associated with 100+ Canadian institutions, with over 90% success ratio with 5 ratings from 100+ clients.