Accommodation Cost in Canada for Foreign Students

Written by Michael Nz. on August 15, 2023

8 min read

Street in Banff with Mountain in the Background

Understanding the Expenses of Staying in Canada as a Student

When someone is preparing for a study trip to Canada, it becomes crucial to have a clear idea of how much living there will cost. This helps in planning and managing finances effectively. The choice of where to live in Canada largely depends on the duration of the stay, whether it’s a short visit or a longer educational journey.

Finding affordable accommodation becomes a top priority for those planning to stay in Canada for a year or even longer, especially in line with their academic program. A comfortable and budget-friendly place to stay is essential for a smooth and focused study experience.

This guide offers international students comprehensive insights into the expenses associated with accommodations in Canada. It’s a valuable opportunity for those looking to secure reasonably priced lodging options during their time as international students. By doing so, students can avoid the unnecessary stress of arriving in Canada without a proper place to stay.

In summary, understanding the various accommodation costs in Canada is a proactive step toward ensuring a successful and well-planned study journey. This guide is valuable for international students seeking affordable and suitable living arrangements during their educational pursuits in Canada.

Accommodation in Canada for International Students

Exploring Accommodation Options for Students in Canada

When it comes to finding a place to stay while studying in Canada, different choices are available that cater to individual preferences, financial plans, and unique situations. Canadian schools offer a range of accommodation options, both on-campus and off-campus, to suit various needs.

For international students, embarking on the journey of finding suitable housing usually begins with a visit to the international student office or their university’s website. These resources provide valuable information about available accommodations and can guide students in making informed decisions.

Accommodation is not just a physical space; it also significantly impacts mental well-being. Students often feel unsettled and anxious without a proper place to call home. Therefore, finding accommodation that aligns with one’s requirements and preferences is crucial.

By exploring and selecting suitable accommodations, students can create a sense of stability and comfort during their educational journey in Canada. Whether it’s the convenience of on-campus housing or the independence of off-campus options, there’s a suitable choice for every student. So, don’t rush the decision—find an accommodation that genuinely fits your needs and contributes to a positive study experience.

Main Types of Accommodation.

Standard international student housing is one of five typical options.

Student Residence – Dorms and Semi-detached Houses

Students have various options when it comes to finding a comfortable place to live while studying in Canada. Schools often provide student residences either on campus or nearby. These residences come in different forms, each catering to specific needs and preferences.

1. Dormitories: A Hub of Student Life

Image Source: GoStudy

Dormitories, known as dorms, are expansive student buildings that offer housing to numerous students. These buildings buzz with youthful energy and allow one to immerse oneself in a vibrant community. Inside these dorms, shared rooms are a common sight.

These rooms are designed to accommodate one or more students and have common areas for socializing, cooking, and exercising. Shared bathrooms and showers are part of the deal, fostering a sense of camaraderie among residents. Dormitory living is often suggested for incoming college freshmen, allowing them to form connections immediately.

2. Townhouses: A Balance of Privacy and Togetherness

Image Source: The Globe and Mail

Townhouses are grand for those seeking a slightly more independent living arrangement. Townhouses are self-contained units that can house three to six students. Each townhouse usually boasts single bedrooms, ensuring privacy without roommates.

The main floor has a communal kitchen and living area, perfect for shared meals and bonding. This housing style is frequently reserved for college sophomores, seniors, and graduate students who appreciate a balance between having their own space and fostering connections with fellow students.

3. Hostels: A Blend of Convenience and Affordability

Nearly all universities offer hostels either on campus or nearby. Hostels are large buildings often equipped with shared bathrooms and communal kitchens. They provide a practical and cost-effective solution for students looking for a place to stay.

Some hostels even feature integrated kitchen and bathroom facilities within each student’s room, offering a more private living experience. Due to their convenience and affordability, hostels are a preferred choice for many students.

The most reason why we will always prefer the hostel is because of the fantastic facilities that an off-campus student cannot enjoy. There is a guarantee of a constant supply of water, constant power, and sometimes a mini-library for late-night readers.

In conclusion, Canadian schools present a variety of housing options to suit the diverse needs of their student population. Whether it’s the lively atmosphere of dormitories, the balance of independence in townhouses, or the practicality of hostels, students can find a housing solution that aligns with their preferences and enhances their overall educational experience.

The Cost

When considering the cost of living in Canada as an international student, one of the most budget-friendly options is staying in a hostel. The expenses range from $3,000 to $7,500 per academic year. Opting for a hostel can significantly ease the financial burden, making it an advantageous choice.

Venturing into the realm of apartment hunting can be a daunting journey. However, a practical approach is scanning local newspapers to identify available apartments nearby. This method can lead to discovering a suitable living space that meets your needs.

Another avenue to explore is seeking assistance from off-campus students within your school. They might have valuable insights or even be on the lookout for a roommate. Being attentive within the school premises could yield fruitful results, as you might come across posters posted by fellow students in search of roommates. Sharing a room with another student fosters companionship and significantly reduces accommodation expenses.

Seize this opportunity to secure cost-effective accommodation for your international student experience in Canada. Using the provided comprehensive information on the cost of housing, you can avoid the stress of finding yourself stranded without a proper living arrangement. Furthermore, this resourceful guide can also assist you in exploring the latest scholarship opportunities available in Canada.

In conclusion, you are navigating the housing landscape in Canada as an international student offers a range of choices to suit different budgets and preferences. From hostels to apartments and roommate collaborations, there are numerous ways to make your stay affordable and comfortable.

2. Off-Campus Shared Apartment or Condo

Opting for off-campus shared apartments allows students to have a personal single room while sharing the living space with one or more roommates. Like single-family houses mentioned earlier, these apartments usually consist of a solitary bedroom or living space, accompanied by shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom, dining area, and living room.

Off-campus housing costs vary considerably, especially in major cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. The expenses can differ significantly based on the location and amenities offered.

Students may sometimes opt against staying in hostels for reasons such as a noisy environment or school rules that don’t align with their preferences or comfort level. This might prompt them to seek alternative accommodation options like off-campus shared apartments, where they can have more control over their living environment and experience greater autonomy.

Rules like:

  • Prohibition of cooking inside your room.
  • Prohibition of using a gas cooker
  • The number of students allowed in a room.
  • The bathrooms have been neglected.

Due to the above and numerous other factors not included, students prefer to stay off campus, where they have more control and freedom.

Cost of an Off-Campus Accommodation

Accommodation prices often differ based on size and location. An apartment in a small town like Kitchener, Ontario, costs about $820 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.


It’s important to note that not all universities in Canada offer assistance with finding off-campus accommodation. Students may be directed toward specific organizations or resources when the university doesn’t provide this service. Alternatively, the university might expect students to independently conduct their research and establish connections with services available within the surrounding community.

In cases where university support is limited, students are encouraged to take a proactive approach. This might involve contacting local housing organizations, utilizing online platforms, or seeking advice from fellow students who have experience finding off-campus housing. Students can secure suitable living arrangements that align with their needs and preferences by exploring different avenues.

3. Host Family / Homestay

Starting a new life in Canada is an exciting endeavor, and living with a host family can make this transition feel incredibly welcoming and secure. Host families offer a private room exclusively for your use, along with the convenience of one to three daily meals and access to the Internet.

The experience of living with a host family extends beyond just accommodation. They can be a valuable resource for understanding the city, immersing yourself in Canadian culture and traditions, and even sharing meals. This arrangement can help you integrate smoothly into your new environment.

For those seeking shared housing, options are available, including accommodations without meal plans. This flexibility ensures that your living arrangement suits your preferences and needs.

Remember that students residing with host families should anticipate a daily commute of 30 to 50 minutes by bus or train to reach their school. Adjusting to the time difference is a normal part of life in Canada.

Consider if you have family or relatives residing near your school. This could be an excellent opportunity to save on accommodation costs by commuting from home. Nearly 40% of Canadian students opt for this stress-free route.

Redirecting funds from accommodation expenses to more productive endeavors has proven to be a remarkable decision for many students. This choice allows you to allocate your resources in ways that genuinely benefit your educational journey. So, explore your options and make informed decisions to make the most of your time in Canada.

4. Furnished or Unfurnished Apartments.

There are many safe ways to find a furnished apartment to rent before arriving in Canada using sites like Craigslist or Wimdu.

These apartments are usually furnished private rentals. Be sure to read the reviews for each rental and check the comments from other guests who have stayed before.

It is also possible to rent an unfurnished apartment, but it isn’t easy to get there for new international students coming to Canada. Even if you can obtain a visa to study in Canada without accommodation, you may have a problem.

Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing Accommodation in Canada

Below are these to be aware of;

Tip #1: Have a Budget

Student accommodation has different costs. Set a budget for what you want and do your research accordingly.

Tip #2 Start Your Search on Time

It is advisable to start your search early. Contact the International Student Office at your university and ask for their guidance on how you should conduct your search.

Tip no. #3 Seek Help When Needed

Don’t be afraid to seek help. People will understand that you are new to the process and want to make it less burdensome. Ask questions when necessary and when necessary. You will find friendly people who want to help you.

Tip #4 Be Well Discerning

Some people might want to take advantage of you. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So don’t be fooled by cheap scams. Also, ensure you don’t pay for an apartment before visiting it.

Tip #5 Check Out Useful Online Platforms

Check out helpful online platforms that can help. HelloStudent.co.uk , Rightmove.es , vidauniversitaria.com , Unitestudents.com , crm-estudiantes.com can be useful websites. Beware of fraudulent websites that aim to scam you off your money.

Tip #6 Consider the essential factors

Prioritize your needs, such as proximity to campus, budget, and stick to them. Don’t be afraid to make your choice, but be realistic.

In conclusion

In conclusion, the journey of finding the perfect accommodation as an international student in Canada is an adventure that offers a range of options tailored to your needs, preferences, and budget. From the camaraderie of dormitories to the independence of off-campus apartments and the warmth of host family living, a choice can make you feel at home.

Remember, the key is planning and considering what matters most to you. Do you value privacy, or do you thrive in a communal atmosphere? Are you looking for a budget-friendly option or willing to invest more for added comfort? Whatever your priorities, Canada’s diverse accommodation options have something for everyone.

Exploring the local resources, connecting with fellow students, and utilizing university services are all valuable steps in your quest for the perfect living space. As you embark on this exciting chapter of your life, remember that your accommodation isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a part of your Canadian experience, a backdrop to your growth, learning, and unforgettable memories.

So, whether you choose the hustle and bustle of city living or the serenity of a quiet neighborhood, take the time to weigh your options, gather information, and make a decision that aligns with your aspirations. Your journey as an international student in Canada is one to cherish, and suitable accommodation will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping your remarkable story.

4 thoughts on “Accommodation Cost in Canada for Foreign Students

  1. I am in Ghana and want to pursue accounting as my undergraduate course abroad. I have completed high school

  2. I,m from west Africa,Liberia.How can people like us be part of this scholarship ? Beside mail where can we get information from ?

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