There are many different types of student accommodation in Canada, and your options may depend on your location, institution, and budget. Here are some common types of student accommodation.
Host Family / Homestay in Canada
Living with a host family can provide you with a sense of home and security as you start your new life in Canada. Host families normally provide a private room, one to three meals per day, and internet access. A host family can also answer questions about the city, introduce you to Canadian culture and customs and share mealtimes with you. Many students choose to register and pay for homestay accommodation for four to eight weeks at first. They may use that time to find an apartment rental or shared accommodation. Many students also continue living with the host family. As homestay accommodation is usually in residential areas, students living in homestay accommodation may expect to commute by bus or train to get to school.
Many colleges and universities offer student residence on-campus or nearby the campus. Student residences come in many different forms. Institutions, particularly universities, may offer dormitories — apartment blocks of single and double-occupancy rooms with shared living spaces. Some student residences may be shared houses, private studios, or apartments. Each institution may have different residence options for different budgets. Some residences include a shared kitchen in common areas and/or cafeteria or food court where you may eat daily. Student residences are generally managed by the institution.
If you’re looking for an off-campus shared apartment, your search may be easier after your arrival in Canada. That way, you will be able to visit the apartment in person, see the neighbourhood and proximity to your school, as well as meet the people or person with whom you will be sharing the apartment. Many apartments are managed by individual landlords who will want to meet their tenant in person. You may be asked to sign a lease when renting a shared apartment — leases are normally six months to one year in length. You may also be asked to pay rent, utilities (electricity, water), and internet or cable television plus a deposit equal to one month’s rent.
It is still a good idea to start looking for a place and meeting potential roommates before you arrive in Canada. You can look for a shared apartment in the online classified ads of big newspapers, on popular advertising sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji, or even websites such as Airbnb.
Subletting is very common in many Canadian cities and towns — this is when a tenant rents out a room in their apartment to another person. In addition to listings websites, many universities and colleges have housing groups on Facebook where you can meet other students looking for roommates or subletters. In this way, you may not have to commit to a lease and you could confirm your accommodation before you arrive.
Important note: Beware of scams on some websites such as Craigslist and never send money before seeing the apartment or meeting the owner face-to-face!
Furnished Apartment Rental
Nowadays there are many secure ways to find a temporary furnished apartment rental before your arrival in Canada. These apartments are normally furnished, private rentals including everything you need to settle in Canada, and they provide a way to settle in conveniently, while saving money on furnishings. Furnished apartments may be available on a month-to-month basis, or the tenant may be required to sign a lease.
Unfurnished Apartment Rental
This may be the more complicated option, but many students appreciate the independence of their own apartment. Regulations differ across the country, so make sure you research the requirements and tenant rights for your destination city or town. Renting an unfurnished apartment is usually going to require you to sign a one-year lease, and there may be further costs required. You may have to pay first and last month’s rent, plus a deposit and hook-up of utilities and internet. There is also furnishing to consider.
However, finding and furnishing your own apartment is a chance to make your own home in a new city, particularly if you’re going to be there for several years during your study program.
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.
To learn more about your options for studying in Canada, click here.
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