Finding the Best Off Campus Accommodation in Canada (Windsor)

Dear Readers

So, I was thinking about what to write next. Something that can again be useful for international students specifically those coming from South Asian Countries viz India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc... Most of us coming from these countries are from middle class families and so, I am aware that our daily bread is being sponsored by the banks in our respective countries. It is on our shoulders to either find a good part time job or to spend whatever is in our pockets at the best way possible.

This post is extracted from another blog of mine which you can read here http://sambathkumaar.blogspot.ca/2014/11/off-campus-accommodation-international.html.

Hope you have read my previous blog post about the winter in Canada and the precautions that must be taken by new students visiting Canada or facing the harsh winter for the first time. Follow this http://blog4thinkers.blogspot.ca/2014/11/visiting-canada-in-winter-from-india.html to read that blog.

If you do not want to spend a while reading all the 'not so boring' paragraphs that are to follow, scroll down to PROCEDURE. There you will find 10 bullets through which I have briefed the steps to follow to find an Off Campus Accommodation in Canada.

I am going to share with you guys here about my experiences and what to and not to do while making decisions about your living in Canada. With this post, I am going to elaborate regarding chosing the best place to stay.

I am from India and as I had mentioned earlier, I have totally relied on bank loan and other borrowings from my parents to study at University of Windsor and to live here at Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Windsor is one of Canada's relatively smaller cities and it is really inexpensive to live in a small city. Although Windsor is Canada's automotive capital as it is just a jump away from Detroit, USA, it is a small and not so busy city. The recession in 2008, 2009 brought the city to its knees just like other cities across the globe. Since then the city hasn't been performing well on several indices. Right now its on its way upwards on the growth curve and I believe that there is a brighter future awaiting this city. So, all this story was to emphasis the kind of economic situation the city is in.

So, I had a tight budget and had to perform all sort of transactions only after giving it a careful thought or two. I was scheduled to attend a 1 month workshop before the start of term in September. Wait, so why should this have any relevance to what I am about to say. This has a very great relevance because if you do not have the workshop and are set to come only in September, you would be coming to Canada along with several other people form your own city or province with whom you can establish contact and become friends. This in turn helps you to get a great deal while choosing your place of stay. This is where we make our first decision.

PLACE OF STAY:

Primarily, an international student has 2 options.
  1. On Campus Accommodation
  2. Off Campus Accommodation
The On-Campus Accommodation as most of you must have already known by prior research, is expensive. It burns your pocket. The merits of paying so much can be a substantially lot. It introduces you into a diverse environment where you get to interact and make friends with people from a very diverse and therefore a rich experience is what you get. I am not quite sure about the kind of food you get in your meal plan so I am not going to comment about that. You get a nice place to stay and study and have fun. There are going to be a lot of events and you get to enjoy a Canadian lifestyle. You will be living among Canadians, Americans, Europeans and Asians. You are introduced to various cultures, traditions and most important of all various people. This is for sure a great experience for those who can afford. Another great advantage of On Campus Accommodation is its proximity to the university and thereby to the classes to which you can always get in time. Some more advantages can be listed but I cannot just think of any now.

On the other hand, Off Campus Accommodation is one of the best options for those seeking to cut spending drastically and save. For Off Campus Accommodation, it is my recommendation that you come to Canada in groups. If you are not looking for friends before you leave India, you will be having a hard time finding someone from your same state or country here in Canada as most of them would have already found their group of friends. Why group? (Scroll Down for the Answer) As I mentioned a short while back, when I came to Canada I had to arrive 2 months earlier for the workshop. So, I kept searching for someone form my state (Tamil Nadu) who also had the same workshop and finally I did find someone. Even as I was in India, I looked for room rentals in Canada. There are multitude of websites available with room/house listings. The links for the same you can find if you scroll down a bit. I found a house and I spoke with the landlord and confirmed a time to see the house. After reaching Windsor, I went to the house with all my luggage and finalized the house as it was the best, looked good and affordable.


This picture is a Photosphere of the backyard of the house that I am in, right now.

The Links for the Rental Listings are as follows

1. http://rent4all.ca/listings/residential.php
2. http://www.kijiji.ca/
3. https://www.places4students.com/

These are the ones I had used to find my room. Kijiji is one of the most famous online classified portal in Canada where everything from a small pin to a car can be bought and sold. Chances are you might find a room through this website. But, I had found my room through the 3rd link (places4students).

Average Spending on Accommodation:

Being an average spender, I looked for a room that cost me $270 to $300 and not more than $310. This includes all the utilities (gas, electricity and water). Some rooms you might find the rent to not include utilities and most of them include the utilities within the rent amount. It is better to confirm this before hand. If you want a comfortable and a semi-luxury accommodation, you must be ready to spend about $400 which I consider is a lot.

Why Stay as Group?

So, I understand if you cannot find a group of 3 or 4 friends. I am going to emphasis why it is better to have a group of 4 to 5 but it is absolutely fine if you cannot find such a group because it comes with its bag load of disadvantages too. If you are a group of 5 friends, it is better to rent a house instead of a room. Renting a house is always a cheaper option as the landlord is stress free after renting the house. He/She need not go looking for tenants to fill in the vacant rooms once they had rented the house a group of people. It gets really cheap. For instance, me and my friends have rented a house about 8 months back which cost us about $210 a month per head. The house is a 5 bedroom house and we are 5 people. It is a decent accommodation and I love this place. Reason for loving it is because, you have a sense of liberty if you rent an entire house and the others in the house are your friends. You can party, play music and what not without bothering about the other occupants which is until they get pissed off and annoyed.

Why you rather stay by yourself?

There are loads of benefits to stay as a group, well, at least for a fun loving and a jolly person like me. But if you prefer spending more time with just yourself and you are that someone who finds it really difficult to socialize easily with people, staying by yourself in a room is better. By room, I mean you are just going to rent a room in a house. You will of course have to interact with others in the house whom you know nothing about. You can get a lot of peaceful and quiet time. You can get to do what you want to do but within the ambit of your room space. Also, it cannot be always said for sure that a group can peacefully co-exist. Although the group might seem to be the best at the beginning, there can be plenty of stuff that can disturb the stability of the group. Under that circumstances, situations are you might not be able to break up with that group and leave the house as you have signed a lease to stay in that house for a said duration. Scenarios like this, if it scares you or makes you think that it is not for you, then just make the choice of staying alone. You can get to know new people and gain new experiences this way.


PROCEDURE:

  1. Decide On Campus or Off Campus
  2. If Off Campus, decide living alone or in group
  3. Based on the previous choice, look for a room or house
  4. Use the online rental listings to browse the various available room/houses
  5. Depending on the level of spending, decide the monthly spending on rent
  6. Look for furnished accommodation because as a newcomer, it will be a tiring task to find furniture
  7. Look for the house or room to be closer to your place of study. [Use Google Maps]
  8. Note if utilities are included in rent or not
  9. Most renters would ask for the last month rent as deposit besides paying the first month rent
  10. Email/Phone the landlord and book a time to visit the house/room or if you are satisfied with the pictures in the listings, you can just move in after speaking with the landlord over email or phone


This article primarily has focused on off campus accommodation and has discussed the benefits and dis-advantages of staying alone and in group. There are about 3 links which I have shared here so that you can find your best house/room by browsing the listings in that website. Follow the 10 things to do mentioned above to successfully get an off campus accommodation just by yourself and without anyone's help.

Picture of a typical room/house in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

All the pictures are taken by Sambath Kumaar.

DISCLAIMER: All the words above are from my experiences and I am not in anyway responsible for any sort of outcomes from decisions taken with this information.

Have a great stay here at Canada!

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