5 Easiest Ways to Get Accommodation in the US and Canada

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Student accommodation is one important thing to consider while planning to study abroad. Just as it is important to focus on visa, admission, and travel expenses, ample consideration should also be given to accommodation. Accommodation availability will vary from country to country depending on your study destination; however, there are important things to note and useful tips to apply to make the journey easier. 

In this article, we look at the five easiest ways to get accommodations in the US and Canada. 

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Top 5 Easiest Ways to Get Accommodation in the US and Canada For International Students 

Below are some helpful tips that will come in handy when choosing the right accommodation for international students: 

1. Book Early

It is important to start the search for suitable accommodation abroad as early as possible. While it is possible to apply for university-owned accommodation, you can also look for private accommodation options depending on your preference. Searching early means that you have access to different options to choose from. 

Additionally, if you plan to pair with other people, you may find better deals that will be more suitable. As soon as you get your offer letter, which signifies that you have been accepted into a university, start looking for accommodation immediately. This will help you save money, open you up to more options, and give you ample time to plan for it. 

Moreover, there are different types of student accommodation, and they include: 

  • On-campus accommodation: This refers to the accommodations provided by the institution. When it comes to cost, they may seem less cheap, but when it comes to comfortability, privacy, and luxury, They may not rank well. However, going for this accommodation gives you the advantage of meeting lots of people, learning from them, and making new friends. It typically lasts for one academic year, which means students will have to book again the following year. 
  • Private residences: Private residences have more flexibility in the sense that occupants get to choose the location and the room type. It is also not limited to students. You can share the building with other categories of people, like professionals. This type of accommodation is situated off-campus. 
  • Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA): This type of accommodation is also flexible in the sense that students can choose their room types and the duration they want to rent it for. PBSAs are large apartment facilities that are specifically built for students. 

2. Consider A Location that suits you: 

Before settling on any accommodation, it is equally important to consider location. It is advisable to get accommodation that is within the same area as the school you are studying at. Also, there are important questions you need to ask yourself before settling on a particular location. These questions include:

  • How close is it to your school?
  • How accessible is the location?
  • How close is it to important areas like shopping malls, the hospital, markets, etc.?
  • How safe is it?
  • How close is it to public transportation like bus stops or train stations?
  • If I am running late, can I walk or cycle to my university?
  • Do other students also live here?

These questions and more are some of the things you need to consider when deciding on the location of your accommodations. 

3. Entertain Feedback And Opinions

While searching for accommodation as an international student, it is important to get the opinions and suggestions of other people, especially those who have gone before you. Joining social media groups like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram can also be helpful. People share opportunities that you might find helpful and useful. You can ask questions and get answers from people who have gone through the same process as you have. 

As an international student seeking to study abroad, you must not do this in isolation. Network and connect with other people; you might even get people to pair with, which will, in turn, reduce the cost for you. Additionally, your university will most likely have a social media group, whether on Facebook or any other site. Leverage it and use it to get the necessary information you need. 

4. Check out the accommodation. 

Before making payment, it is important to check out the accommodation before proceeding to pay for it. If it will be impossible to check it out physically in person, have them send you pictures and videos of the place so that you can get a visual description of what the accommodation looks like. You can opt for the virtual tour option if you will not be present physically. 

Additionally, take note of what is present and what is missing, as this will help in your budgeting. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does it have a bed?
  • Do I need to get a bookshelf?
  • Do I need a desk and a chair?
  • Is the lightning okay?
  • How is the water supply?
  • Do I need to buy curtains?

Take note of the things missing in the apartment and make plans on how to get them. 

5. Get A Contact

 Before settling for accommodation as an international student, you must find out who the contact person is. Save their name and phone number, and get in touch when necessary. You can also ask the person practical questions about the accommodations. Having a contact person is very important so that, in the case of emergencies, you will not be stranded. Additionally, it is important to know the terms of your contract, the rules, and the regulations before finalizing the deal. It is also useful to know your rights so that you will not be taken advantage of. Know important details like:

  • Do you pay in full, or can you split the payment?
  • Do you need a guarantor?
  • What happens if there are travel restrictions?
  • How long will the accommodations last?
  • Can you have a roommate?

Get to know all of these things before finalizing the agreement, as it will save you a lot of stress. 

Read Also: What Can A Study Abroad Consultant Do For Me?

Cost of Living on-Campus in Canada

UniversityAccommodation TypeCost (CAD)
McGill UniversityStudio Apartment/dormitories $932–$1,090 (monthly)
University of TorontoSingle Room/Double Room$14,000–$16,000
Seneca CollegeBachelor/1 bedroom 2 bedroom$1,000 to $1,200  $1,500 to $1,700
University of AlbertaSingle Room Double Room   $5218–$9983 $4449–$8506
Queen’s UniversitySingle Room/ Quad Room/Loft Double Room$9,000 –  $17,000
Western UniversitySingle Room  Double Room $9,000 $8,000
Source: University Official Website 

Cost of Living off-Campus in Canada

If you are living in off-campus housing in Canada, here are the average costs:

Type of Accommodation Cost (CAD)
Townhouses$250–$650
Shared Apartment $400–$800
Unfurnished Apartment Rentals                  $300–$500
Dormitories$350–$600

Note that it depends on the size and location of the accommodations.

Average Cost of Living on-Campus in the USA ($5,000 to $15,000)

Most universities in the USA offer on-campus options like dormitories or residence halls. The cost of on-campus housing depends on:

  • the location,
  • amenities, and
  • room type (shared or private).

Average Cost of Living off-Campus in the USA ($500 to $2,000)

Off-campus apartments are popular among international students who wish to work and study. But the costs depend on the city’s (location) and its rental market. In major cities like New York, rents are higher.

Budgeting For Student Accommodation 

As stated at the beginning of this article, it is important to properly budget for your student housing and make plans on how to sustain it so that you do not get stranded. When it comes to budgeting, some necessary factors to consider include:

  1. Cost of living: Research and find out the cost of living in the area of your school and your home. It will help you properly plan. You can do this by asking questions of other students who are staying in the same area and going to the same school.
  2. Funding: Who is funding your studies? Are you taking out a student loan? Are you a scholarship or grant recipient? Are your parents/relatives your sponsors? If you have family sponsoring you, it will be easy to factor in the cost of accommodation. But if you are on a student loan and your loan only covers tuition, you have to look for a means to sponsor and fund your accommodation. 
  3. Discount opportunities: To save money as a student, you can jump on discount opportunities. Splitting your rent with a roommate will be helpful. Additionally, getting discounted products will also reduce the amount you spend and allow you to save more. 
  4. Get a job: Getting a job can make budgeting for your student housing easier. This is because you get paid, and you can use the money to pay your bills if you are the sole sponsor of your education.

However, it is important and advisable to spend wisely only on important things while you save or invest more. 

Safety And Security Measures For International Students 

As an international student living in another country, you must stay safe and adhere to all the rules at all times so that you do not get into trouble. Below are some tips that can help you:

  1. Ensure that you are alert at all times and know what is going on around you. If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable at any point, leave the location immediately.
  2. Keep important things, like valuables and important documents, safe. It can be risky to look too flashy in an unknown place. Try as much as possible to blend in with the indigenous people. 
  3. Learn about the country, language, and way of life of the people before you eventually travel there. Know the surroundings, get familiar with the climate, know how the system works, and know what is required of you. This information will come from the study abroad office, but you can also ask past students to prepare your mind ahead of time. 
  4. Don’t forget to keep in contact with people. This is why it is important to make friends early. If you are staying with family or a roommate, let them know where you are going. Update them on your location at all times, and do not go to unfamiliar places without proper directions. 

Let’s Help You

Looking forward to studying abroad? Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you, as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require a cosigner or collateral before an application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consulting services for international students to help make their journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey. 

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Author

  • Okechukwu Liberty is a graduate of Mass Communication and a content writer for AfterSchoolAfrica. He is dedicated to researching scholarship and empowerment opportunities to students looking to study abroad.

    Content Research Writer