“Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends are always welcome and the laughter never ends.”
Home is not just a person’s comfort zone but also a place where dreams are born. This holds especially true for a student who is moving to a new place for further studies. Home is a place where the seeds of new dreams and aspirations are sown. Moreover, every day, hours are spent in our sacred places at home where we plan our days, months and years ahead. It is this degree of preciousness a home has that makes the process of selecting another one a special, yet difficult, process. In this article, I aim to make this complicated process easier for you. Read on!
Moving to a different country
Moving to a different city and country is an exciting, fun-filled experience that comes with its fair share of anxieties. You tend to stay up late at night researching neighbourhoods close to school, comparing various rental accommodations and public transit routes, etc. I can still vividly remember my own experience before landing in Canada, researching housing options- both at the university and off-campus rentals. International students attending the same university often connect via social media beforehand to discuss housing options and end up renting a house together. I would personally recommend connecting with your future peers as this makes you a lot more comfortable and sure of the process ahead.
Canada: A plethora of housing options
When it comes to Canada there are plenty of options out there for international students and sometimes it might take a while before you find the right one for all your needs. Some of you might prefer saving time on the commute to school and stay on campus while others might prefer living independently in off-campus housing rentals. There are also certain factors such as budget, proximity to work and the city which colour your choice. Whatever your priority, budget or preference is, there are plenty of options to cater to them all!
On-Campus Student Residences/Dormitories
On-campus housing is one of the best accommodation options for international students, especially when you are moving across the seven seas to a paradise known as Vancouver. Dormitories have all the essential facilities such as a kitchen area, refrigerators, common entertainment lounges, laundry rooms, and gymnasiums. There are usually separate dorms for undergraduates and graduates. At Simon Fraser University, for instance, the graduate residence is a dormitory of studio apartments with a common lounge and a laundry room. The first-year students are usually kept together in the “Towers” (multi-storey dorm) while the 2nd to 4th years are given townhouses and other single room dormitory accommodations.
The dorms are managed directly by the university housing department and the monthly rent includes utilities such as heating, internet, electricity and any maintenance activities associated with your housing unit. The rooms are furnished with a bed, mattress, tables, chairs and a chest of drawers. University Residences also tend to offer semester-long meal plans open to all students. You are also supported by the Residence Life staff and get to attend multiple social events in the residences (mostly for FREE!), which is a great way to meet new people and make friends in a new city. College dorms might cost a tad more but they sure are worth it. You can also apply to join the student staff, which will offset your semester rent and you’ll end up gaining an experience you’ll never forget!
Off-campus shared apartments
Many students prefer staying in off-campus rented accommodations for reasons such as proximity to their workplace or lack of certain restrictions that they might encounter in a university residence. However, it takes a lot more research and time to find the best place suited to you at the right price, especially if you are searching for the first time and haven’t arrived in the city yet. Students usually tend to share the accommodation cost especially in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa where affordable housing is really hard to come by. Some students stay in university dorms in their first year and then move out to shared apartments once they’ve gotten the lay of the land. Here the essential utilities such as heating, electricity, and the internet are to be paid for in addition to the rent and you’ll have to contact the landlord for any maintenance related activities.
Individual houses tend to be lighter on the pocket and most students prefer those to apartments or condominiums. However, things tend to be more organised and are easily accessible in apartments so it all boils down to your individual preference. Off-campus housing also comes with a strict lease agreement and a security deposit which makes it harder to move out if you suddenly get that internship you always wanted in a different city. Most rental apartments and independent homes come without any furniture and meal facilities so students also need to factor in basic furniture costs into their budget. The most common website to find a rental is – www.craiglist.com
So these are the two broad housing options for you while looking for accommodation in Canada. I believe one should explore both university residences and off-campus rented apartments during their student life as both have their own pleasures. Ultimately it depends on your preferences and expectations from the various options available. Personally, I would advise staying at a university residence at least during your first year as it will help you to connect and make friends faster and I feel that’s an important factor to consider when you are moving to a new place.
That’s all from me on the various housing options in Canada. I hope you found this article useful. I’d be happy to assist you with your doubts and concerns regarding the same. You can share your queries in the comment box below. Also, tell us about your experiences while moving to a new city or country… we’d love to hear from you!