Canada is becoming an increasingly popular study destination for international students. As per Canada Study News, the number of international students in Canada by the end of 2017 was 494,525. A large part of the international students’ population is concentrated in Toronto, given that it houses many globally-recognised institutes with a high quality education.
However, studying abroad comes with a series of hurdles for international students, especially in terms of expenses. This article is focused on the living expenses in Toronto for international students and some tips on reducing expenditure.
How is international student life in Toronto?
Filled with green spaces, Toronto is a multicultural city that houses about a 100 distinct ethnic groups. Apart from the locals, immigrants who belong to different cultures are also present. Before moving to Toronto for higher education, it is important to understand the living environment international students will encounter.
- Since people of different ethnic origins live here, you will find people who speak Punjabi, Italian, Tamil, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. However, the primary language used in Toronto is English.
- Among all the cities in Canada, it has the highest number of visitors’ and immigrants’ footfall.
- According to the QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2018, Toronto is the 13th best city to study in for international students. This can be attributed to the high quality of education, comfortable living and affordable rates.
- Due to the amalgamation of cultures that the city is, international students will feel comfortable in the environment.
- A large number of international students choose Toronto as their study destination, hence they will be surrounded by people who are experiencing the city’s lifestyle for the first time.
- The weather here can be categorised as moderate. However, the temperature can drop to about -8 C in the winters. Hence, it is essential that international students consider and prepare for this.
Cost of living in Toronto for international students
Accommodation: the rent varies from $500 to $4000 per month, depending on the house you are renting. You can decide to share a house with friends in order to reduce the amount you are spending on accommodation. There are a few things students should take into consideration when choosing to rent a house, such as:
- Where to find a house on rent? If you want to find a house on rent, there are many websites that have listings with details about the house, facilities available, rent and location. For example, kijiji, craiglist, etc.
- Location of the house: It is essential that you rent a house that has good connectivity to the school you will be studying in. Though the public transport in Toronto is affordable, staying closer to the school will be convenient for you.
- Safety Tips: Though the websites that offer houses on rent are reliable, it is always better to be safe. If you are planning to rent a house, always ensure that a friend is accompanying you when you go to see it, do not give out bank details or personal information and trust your instinct. You can find more safety tips while going house hunting, here.
Transport: using public transport is a great way for cost-cutting. The connectivity in Toronto is good and helps students to travel within the city conveniently. Some of the public transport facilities that you can avail are:
- Presto: a presto card is an electronic payment system that makes travelling within the city easier and simple. It works across all local transport facilities in Toronto, helping people travel without using tickets, tokens, passes or cash. It also has a mobile app that is available on iOS and Android phones.
- Go Transit: This is a regional public transport service that provides trains and buses. Their website provides functions like booking trips, calculating fares and has schedules listed.
- York Region Transit (YRT): Keeping in mind the requirements of people who use public transport, YRT has designed transit shelters where people can wait for their mode of transport. It provides some unique facilities to customers such as Bike ‘n’ Bus and Park ‘n’ Ride. Take a look at their website to learn more.
- Toronto Transit Commission (TTC): With the objective of providing maximum mobility within Toronto, TTC provides modes of transport that are effective and cheap. It is one of the most convenient ways of choosing your commute mode.
Food: while the cost of food depends entirely on individual needs, the average cost can be estimated at about $40 to $100 per week. This estimation might increase depending on how much you spend on take-outs and coffee shops.
Health Insurance: there are various international health insurance plans that are valid in Toronto. It is important for every international student to have health insurance as it can help reduce expenditure. For Toronto School of Management (TSoM) students, health insurance is mandatory. In Canada, the international student health insurance can be anywhere between $600 and $900 per year. You can read more about international health insurance and its coverage, here.
If you are planning to pursue a program at TSoM, then ensure that you research the location and the lifestyle in the city. This will help you get a head-start about the culture and expenses before you move.