Accommodation Options for International Students Living in Canada

Discover the various accommodation options for international students in Canada, including on-campus and off-campus housing, temporary and permanent options, and tips for finding the right place to call home.

Accommodation Options for International Students Living in Canada
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Created time
Apr 14, 2023 06:47 PM
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Finding an accommodation for yourself should be your priority once you get your acceptance letter from a Canadian university. In this article, we are going to have a look at some of the common accommodation options that international students in Canada can opt for.

Basic difference between on-campus and off-campus housing for university students

International students planning to study in Canadian universities can choose from either of the options:


On-campus accommodations are university-owned housing for students who want to live on or near the university campus. Students can save money on food and transportation and also avail all facilities such as libraries, cafeteria, health care, shops and fitness facilities at a walkable distance.


Off-campus accommodation is comparatively more affordable for students, as these type of accommodations do not require you to pay the rental of the entire year at once. Universities generally assist the students themselves or refer you to reliable agencies to help you find your ideal off-campus housing.
Students who prefer to be independent choose this type of accommodation. They can either choose to live alone or as a group. The rental cost for such off-campus housing will vary depending on the city you decide to leave in.
Type of housing
Estimated cost
$3,000 - $7,500 CDN/year
$750 - $3500 CDN/month
Shared rental Apartment
$900- $3,000 CDN/month
$400 - $800 CDN/month
Private rental Apartments
$400 - $1500 CDN/month

Temporary housing options


Dormitories are on-campus university-owned residential housing, with one or more students living in a single bedroom and sharing bathroom facilities. They also have a common gym, kitchen and recreational area.
This type of facility is usually reserved for first-year students, as they would often need time to settle down and get used to this new university environment.


Like dormitories, townhouses are also university-owned accommodations that are usually preferred by senior students who prefer to live on-campus rather than off-campus. They typically consist of three to six bedrooms with one person per room, along with a shared bathroom, kitchen and living room, on each floor.

Permanent housing options

Off-Campus Shared Apartment

This type of off-campus accommodation is similar to on campus-townhouses, as they also provide students with one bedroom per person, with a common bathroom, kitchen and living room. The shared rental apartment is one of the cheapest housing options for international students who plan to live off-campus.
Another option is the Condominium, which is the most expensive accommodation option. Students with an expensive taste and a huge budget can manage to rent a condo either individually or share it.

Host Family/Homestay

In Canada, International students can choose to live with a host family if they want to enjoy the comforts and security provided by a home. Living with a host family can be very beneficial for those who are new to the country and are homesick. This type of accommodation generally provides a single occupancy room with a private bathroom, catered or home-made meal and wifi. In addition to this, you also get the chance to learn more about Canadian culture.

Private Rental apartment

This type of accommodation is a great choice for students who want to be completely independent. Private rental apartments can be furnished or unfurnished depending on the rent and the basic facilities provided by the owner. So, students will have to arrange for their own furniture, food and other necessary facilities.Some of the popular websites in Canada for finding accommodation are Airbnb, Rentseeker and Circl.

Few things to research about before you finalize your accommodation


Before you start your hunt for rental properties or apartments, you must first check your budget and affordability. Shared accommodations always give you more facilities without burning a hole in your pocket.


Once you have chosen between on-campus and off-campus accommodation, the next thing you need to do is check for the availability. We would suggest you do this as soon as you get your acceptance letter because many good quality off-campus accommodations get completely booked 2-3 months before the university semesters begin.


The availability of catered food depends on whether you choose to stay on-campus or off-campus. On-campus students can opt for the universities meal-plan program, whereas students living off-campus will have to self-cater themselves unless they are staying with a host family.

Health care accessibility

The university’s on-campus medical clinic or health services (HS) is open to all registered students. There are also off-campus walk-in care clinics for an urgent non-threatening medical situation.
However, students can always visit the nearest hospital if they believe they are facing any life-threatening medical condition that might turn fatal.

Transportation facilities

Before you finalize your accommodation, you need to consider the distance and time taken to travel from your home to your university. Besides this, you also need to consider how your transportation cost will affect your monthly expenses.

Online reviews

Make sure you check the google ratings and website reviews about the place you are planning to rent. This will give you an overview about the place before visiting it in person. Also, look for pictures of the rooms or apartments put up for rent to see if they are well maintained and in good condition.

Lease and other rental agreements

Generally, you will have to sign a contract or lease for six months before you start living in your rental apartment. Besides this, you will also be asked to pay a certain amount as a deposit along with your first-month’s rent.
Apart from this, students can themselves pay a visit to the shortlisted rental property before finalizing their accommodation; this will eliminate the risk of being a victim of any online scams. As mentioned earlier, international students can always contact the university’s international students office for a recommendation on off-campus housing as they themselves might help you to find a place or refer you to a reliable housing agency.


Finding the right accommodation in Canada as an international student can be a daunting task, but with proper research and planning, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. Whether you choose to live on-campus or off-campus, temporary or permanent, there are plenty of options available to fit your needs and budget. Remember to consider important factors such as budget, availability, food, healthcare, transportation, and online reviews before finalizing your accommodation. By doing so, you can ensure that you have a comfortable and safe place to call home during your academic journey in Canada.