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Housing options for international students in Canada

People watch from street corner as a passing Canada Day drive-by parade makes its way through town on July 1, 2020 in Newcastle, Canada. Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images/AFP

Got an acceptance letter to study at a Canadian college or university? Congratulations! The next step is to sort out your student housing in Canada as soon as possible. 

How much you pay for your student housing in Canada will depend on the type, city and province you will be living in.

Here are the major types of student housing in Canada to consider:

On-campus accommodation

Student housing

On-campus accommodation may mean less freedom for students. Source: Shutterstock

This refers to student housing located close to or on campus.

It’s highly recommended for first-years as you’ll be on (or close to) campus, making it not only a great way to meet and connect with other students, but easy to get to classes too.

You can typically pick between a single or shared accommodation, with the latter costing less than a single room.

Some institutions have an option for students to include a meal plan, which can further simplify things if you’re living alone or away for the first time.

Choosing this option means you’ll save yourself the hassle of worrying about finding furniture and the like as it will likely already be furnished with a bed, a heater, a table and a shelf or some other storage space. 

Private housing

Student housing

Private housing means more freedom and privacy for students. Source: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Another popular option for international students is to rent private accommodation.

The costs for shared areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room with your friends would likely be split between you and your housemates.

This can potentially be less expensive than on-campus housing, but bear in mind there are added costs and effort. You would likely have to pay for the internet, heating, cable and electricity on your owne. If the apartment is unfurnished, you’ll also need to splurge on furniture. 

The upside is there is more privacy and opportunity to decompress from campus pressures.

Canada Visa notes that rental costs for off-campus housing can vary dramatically, especially in the larger cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Check out our guide on how to save money on your student housing.

Homestay

Staying with a host family can be a great way of helping international students ease into their new environment more easily. 

Some colleges and universities have contacts with local families who are willing to host students in their homes. This typically entails having a room while enjoying three square meals per day. There are also options without meal plans.

If you’re interested in a homestay option, you can explore the Canada Homestay Network.

No one option is better than the other as it boils down to personal preference and an individual’s budget. Start making your arrangements early, budget accordingly and don’t hesitate to make inquiries over anything you don’t understand. Good luck in finding your ideal home away from home!

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