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Your choice to study abroad is high up in your life’s most crucial decisions list. Learning in a foreign country is exciting but can also be overwhelming. Probably you have perfectly planned for everything. However, some situations aren’t as predictable as you may think.

In addition to having the right documents, the process of getting established in Toronto, Canada requires you to adapt to a new cultural and social environment. Here are some of the issues you should think about if you are an international student trying to settle in Toronto.

Settling in Toronto, Canada: A Comprehensive Survival Guide for International StudentsAccommodation options

There are numerous accommodation options for students. Thus, it’s wise to research the available options in the area you intend to settle. Note that student housing in Toronto can be grouped into two broad categories: on-campus and off-campus housing. When choosing a housing option, you should be mindful of the various experiences associated with each of these housing options.

On-campus housing is also known as dorms or student residence. Consider using the academic institution’s website to search for student residence. Note that living within the learning institution is very convenient for international students. Most amenities are available within proximity. It will also be easier for you to interact and connect with other foreign and domestic students attending the same learning institution.

Settling in Toronto, Canada: A Comprehensive Survival Guide for International StudentsSometimes, off-campus housing can be an affordable option depending on the location. Choosing to rent an apartment makes you more independent and probably helps you get more immersed in the region’s local culture. Note that living off-campus doesn’t have to be a solitary experience; you can always find a roommate or two online.

Finding work

Your Canadian study permit allows you to work on or off-campus while studying. If you’re an international student, you can work for a maximum of 20 hours weekly off-campus during an academic session. During scheduled study breaks, spring break, summer, and winter holiday you can work full-time hours. This is an opportunity for an international student to cover their living costs and also establish professional networks in the labor market.

Settling in Toronto, Canada: A Comprehensive Survival Guide for International StudentsIf you’re a study permit holder and intend to work while studying in Canada, you must apply for the SIN (Social Insurance Number). It grants you access to government program services and other benefits. To successfully apply for a SIN, ensure that your study permit has the following printed on it:

  • May accept to work on the institution at which registered in full-time studies.
  • May accept to work on or off the learning institution if meeting the eligibility requirements as per R186 (f), (v) or (w).

In case your study permit lacks these conditions, and you meet all the requirements to work while studying in Canada, you can get these conditions printed on your permit at no extra cost. Note that some study programs include work experience as an essential part of the curriculum. You will have to apply for an intern work permit even if you have a study permit.

Settling in Toronto, Canada: A Comprehensive Survival Guide for International StudentsThe cost of living

Toronto and Canadian cities and provinces offer international students different options to pursue their educational objectives in universities, technical institutes, research institutes, and colleges. Understanding all important elements of the cost of living in Toronto will help you budget and plan for your study and work activities perfectly.

Before you apply for a study permit, you must be absolutely sure that you have the financial capacity to cover both tuition and living expenses. The estimated accommodation cost (off-campus) in Toronto ranges between $957- $1132. The estimated cost of food is $200 to $450, transportation cost is approximately $120 and other expenses such as entertainment, laundry, Internet, and clothing range between $422 and $450. That means the estimated cost of living in Toronto ranges between $1,696 and $2,124 per month.

Settling in Toronto, Canada: A Comprehensive Survival Guide for International Students


The moment you arrive in Toronto, you will need to set up a phone plan, bank account, register for a student ID card, and public transportation pass. Note that many Canadian academic institutions have an international student office or student welcome center where student mentors and staff may help you get all necessities. Internet contracts, bank accounts, and phone plans are provided by different companies with varying terms and conditions. So, do your homework – research.

Planning ahead

Probably this is your first time to be in a foreign country. So, give yourself enough time to adjust. Remember, you’re experiencing a new culture, and you might face a ‘culture shock.’ Focus on getting involved and connected with other people.

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