Every student needs housing. Due to the urban locations of our campuses, Alexander College is unable to provide on-campus housing at this time. With this in mind, our campus locations are situated in close proximity to major transit stations, minimizing commute time for our students.
The majority of students choose one of three housing types: homestay, room rental, or apartment rental.
Canadian homestay placements are ideal for those students wanting a truly Canadian experience. Host families provide security, protection, and care for their homestay students, making them feel a part of the family, and integrating them into Canadian culture.For students who are under 19 years old, it is required by law in British Columbia that they stay in a homestay with a family and have a local, legal guardian. Homestay companies provide guardianship services for international students if required. Students over 19 years old may also choose to stay with a homestay family if they so desire.
.Making the Most of your Homestay
One of the best ways to learn about Canada is to stay with a Canadian family during your visit. This is a great opportunity to experience both Canadian culture and also the multiculturalism our country embraces so well. While in a homestay, you will also be able to share your culture and traditions with a Canadian family, and this is a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.
Homestay companies carefully review the information they receive from students through their application forms in order to place a student with a family that has a positive match for both interests and hobbies. This makes homestay not only a convenient and educational housing option, but also an incredibly enjoyable one.
Here are some tips to make your homestay in Vancouver pleasant:
- Be open. Talk to your homestay family if you’re having problems or if you simply have a misunderstanding. Very often an open conversation helps resolve issues.
- Communicate. Let your homestay family know if you need anything or if something is making you feel uncomfortable.
- Speak English. Do not be afraid to embarrass yourself by speaking their language – the best way to learn English is by speaking English. You will not be judged by your English skills.
- Be respectful of their customs. Unless some customs make you feel uncomfortable, use the homestay experience as an opportunity to learn something new: something that is not common for your culture.
- Be respectful of their property. If you accidentally damaged their property, be open about it – honesty is always appreciated.
- Keep the host family informed if you are running late. Your safety is your homestay family’s priority, so please let them know if you are planning on coming home late or if you are behind schedule for dinner.
Single (or Family)
Renting an apartment alone can provide peace, privacy, and a sense of independence, but it comes at a price. The cost of renting in Vancouver is among the highest of any city in North America. Students who choose this option should be prepared to pay a significant amount of money for rent and associated expenses, and may also face competition from other renters looking for affordable accommodation.
The cost to rent an apartment in Vancouver varies significantly from one neighbourhood to another. Some of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Vancouver are Downtown, Yaletown, Cambie Village, and West Vancouver. Monthly rental rates for a studio or 1-bedroom apartment in these areas may be more than $2000 per month. In less-expensive areas of the city such as East Vancouver, Commercial Drive, Fraserview, and Marpole you may find apartment units available starting from $1000 per month. Living in Burnaby is slightly cheaper than Vancouver, with average rental rates for a studio or 1-bedroom starting from $800 per month. The further away from Vancouver you are willing to live, the cheaper the rent will be.
If you choose to live independently, be sure to factor the cost of utilities and groceries into your budget. Unless otherwise specified in your rental agreement, you will also be expected to pay for utilities (such as heat, gas, and electricity) on top of your monthly rent. Other services such as telephone, television, and internet may be optional, but come at additional expense. Some utilities may have hidden one-time costs in addition to their monthly billed services, such as activation fees, deposits, or equipment rental charges. Make sure to budget extra for first-month expenses like hiring movers or buying furniture. Most landlords require a security deposit of half of one month’s rent upon signing of a rental agreement.
Vancouver is host to thousands of international students every year. Sharing accommodations with other international students can be a good way to make friends and save money. Students of Alexander College may post advertisements for available shared accommodation on the student notice bulletin boards at either campus. Newspaper classifieds can also be a good source of available apartments, but the most up-to-date listings will be found on the internet.
Some popular local websites providing rental listings in the Burnaby/Vancouver area are:
- Craigslist Vancouver [http://vancouver.craigslist.ca/]
- Pad Mapper [http://www.padmapper.com/search/apartments/British-Columbia/Vancouver/]
- Search 4 Student Housing [www.search4studenthousing.com]
No matter which part of the Greater Vancouver Area you choose to live in, and whether you’re renting an apartment on your own or sharing with a roommate, you can learn more about your rights as a renter by visiting the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre online at [http://tenants.bc.ca/]