The worry of accommodation in Canada for students starts much before one takes admission to a college or university in the country. Visiting a new country without knowing much about the kind of accommodation you are going to get can be taxing. Even for Indians, you know you will find many people from your country in Canada yet finding accommodation can still be a problem.
Well, fret not! Canada is a welcoming country and there is ample scope for accommodation in Canada for international students, even if you don’t know anyone. As an international student, you may even find an on-campus housing option in the country.
To start with, you can look for accommodation by paying a visit to the international student office. You can also use the website of the college or the university that you are going to attend.
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Types of accommodation in Canada for international students
Dormitories or condominiums
This is one of the preferred options for accommodation in Canada for Indian students. These are residences offered by the colleges or universities on or sometimes near the campus. Dormitories are usually large and can accommodate several students. Condominiums are mostly smaller independent apartments for three to five students.
Dormitories are managed by the university and are preferred by the first-year students (of college or university). A condominium can have up to six bedrooms with single capacity rooms. The kitchen and living area are mostly on the main floor. Students who are familiar with the country and its ways of living, prefer to stay in condominiums.
Both accommodations have a cafeteria or food court. The other facilities include hot water and internet.
Shared Apartments (off-campus)
Off-campus shared apartments are similar to townhouses. You can stay alone or have one or more roommates. You will get a single occupancy room but the kitchen, bathroom, living area, and dining space are shared.
You must note that not all Canadian universities help students look for off-campus housing. However, they may refer you to external agencies that can help you to find accommodation. The rental charges may differ from one city to another.
Homestays are chosen by students who want to get the feeling of staying with a family. With this option, you will get a private room and three meals daily. You also get to understand the Canadian culture. It is also safer than the other options as the family staying in the house can help you whenever you need something.
However, universities and colleges are generally located far away from residential areas. Therefore, you can expect to travel for around 30-50 minutes daily.
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Apartment on rent
These are well-furnished private accommodations. You can book one of these apartments online even before reaching Canada.
However, there are pros and cons of both on-campus and off-campus accommodations. For example, with on-campus accommodation, you can be closer to your classes/campus amenities, you will get the international student community, 24X7 housing support, and the rental price will include utilities and food. If you choose off-campus accommodation, you can choose the location, enjoy more freedom, choose your roommates, look for cheaper accommodation, and get familiar with the Canadian culture.
As far as the cost of student accommodation in Canada is concerned; an on-campus accommodation with meals for eight months can cost you, 6,000 CAD, to 16,000 CAD (Rs 3.5 lakh to 9.5 lakh). However, the cost depends on the university.
If you are living in an off-campus accommodation in Canada, especially in a homestay, it will cost you around 700 CAD to 2200 CAD (Rs 42,000 – Rs 1,30,000) per month. It depends upon the size and location of the accommodation.
There are certain things that you must consider while looking for accommodation in Canada. They are:
1) Inquire about the facilities
Before you decide on getting accommodation on rent, you must inquire about the facilities of your accommodation provider. The facilities should include amenities like hot water, television, internet, etc.
2) Being sure about the meals
If you are planning to stay within the campus and are going for the meal plan, you must know about the meals. You have to pay in advance.
3) Special services for students with disabilities
If you have some kind of disability and need special services, you must inform the college or university about it.
4) Arriving early to the campus may help
The earlier you arrive at the campus, the more time you will get to be acquainted with campus life.
Finding accommodation for an international student in Canada can be difficult but not impossible. However, doing a little bit of research before deciding can be helpful.
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Accommodation in Canada for students – FAQs
Q1. Is it mandatory for international students to live on-campus?
It is not mandatory for international students to live on-campus. Students can choose an accommodation as per their choice.
Q2. Where can I find short-term furnished rentals?
You can find many short-term rentals online through websites such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Sublet.com, and Kijiji. Do read the reviews before selecting an option.
Q3. How to find homestays online?
To choose the right homestay easily, you can go through a homestays network such as Canada Homestay network, YES Canada Homestay, and HomeStay In, which are selective about choosing the right homestay based on safety and comfort.
Q4. How to minimize risks while looking for apartments?
Avoid unrealistically nice apartments, never send money before checking the apartment, and never share personal information with prospective or current landlords.
Q5. Where can you do your 14-day quarantine after arriving in Canada?
Short-term rentals such as Airbnb can be used since there is no need to share the living space. You can inform the landlord while taking the accommodation.