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Things to know when moving to Toronto for university

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A happy girl after moving to Toronto for university

If you’re soon to graduate from high school and have your sights set on Toronto as your university destination, you’re in for an incredible adventure! After all, this city, with its diverse culture and top-notch educational institutions, attracts students from around the globe. However, whether you’re from within Canada or from abroad, the process of moving to Toronto for university requires careful planning and consideration. As one of the best moving companies Ontario province has to offer, we know it’s important to start this new life chapter on a positive note. Therefore, not only can we help you relocate, but we can also walk you through the process of settling here as a student!

Things to pay attention to before moving to Toronto for university

Studying in Toronto means you’ll spend at least a few years in the city, so you need to prepare for the lifestyle that awaits you there. Here are just a few things to remember if you intend to call Toronto your new, even if temporary, home:

Make a solid financial plan to support your new lifestyle in Toronto

When you’re gearing up for university life, one of the most crucial aspects to consider is the cost of living in your new city. Toronto, as a bustling metropolis, offers a world of opportunities, but it’s also associated with a higher price tag. While it’s possible to find affordable housing in Toronto, keep in mind that this city is third on the list of most expensive cities for renters in Canada. For example, on average, renting a one-bedroom apartment costs about $2,600 per month. Of course, prices vary depending on the size and location of your apartment. Therefore, a shared apartment in the suburbs might cost significantly less than a downtown studio apartment. Understanding these disparities will enable you to make an informed housing choice that suits your budget.

A woman making a budget as preparation for moving to Toronto for university
To be on the safe side, make a comprehensive budget covering all your future expenses as a student in Toronto

If you’re an international student, opening a Canadian bank account is a practical step you need to take. Local banks like TD Canada Trust or RBC offer student-friendly accounts with minimal fees. Having a local account can simplify paying bills and receiving payments from part-time work. Meanwhile, understanding the Canadian tax system is necessary, too. As a student, you may be eligible for certain tax credits and deductions, such as the tuition tax credit. Familiarizing yourself with these can help you save money during tax season!

Transportation options available in Toronto

Toronto’s public transit system is extensive and usually efficient and includes buses, streetcars, and subways. According to the ultimate GTA commuter guide, it’s also an excellent and cost-effective way to get around the city. However, if you live further from campus, you may need to budget for a monthly transit pass or consider the cost of maintaining a bicycle. You can also take advantage of bike-sharing programs like Bike Share Toronto, which allows you to rent bicycles for short trips.

Man standing in front of a train
Familiarize yourself with Toronto public transportation on time

If your university is located outside Toronto’s city center, GO Transit offers regional train and bus services connecting the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). GO Transit can be especially useful if you live in the suburbs and commute to downtown Toronto for classes. It’s worth mentioning that several transportation providers offer student discounts. For instance, VIA Rail provides student pricing for intercity travel, making it affordable to explore other Canadian cities during breaks. Be sure to inquire about discounts and special offers available to students. Also, consider obtaining a Presto Card, a reloadable smart card that can be used on various public transit systems in the GTA, including TTC, GO Transit, and regional buses. This card will make your travel easier and often offers additional savings!

You’ll love the fact that Toronto is a true melting pot

One of the biggest advantages of moving to Toronto for university is that you’ll live in the most multicultural city in the world! Over half of the city’s residents were born somewhere else, and they come from all over the world. As such, here you’ll find a vibrant mix of ethnicities, including Chinese, South Asian, Filipino, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean communities, among many others. Therefore, as a student looking to make friends in Toronto after moving, you’ll have the privilege of building a global network of friends and acquaintances. The connections you make will broaden your horizons and expose you to different perspectives, fostering personal growth and cultural understanding.

Students from all over the world in a group hug
After moving to Toronto, you’ll quickly make friends from all over the world

In Toronto, you’ll discover a neighborhood for nearly every nationality, each proudly showcasing its cultural heritage. Among the city’s most intriguing districts are Greektown, renowned for its vibrant Greek tavernas and delightful pastry shops. There’s also the effortlessly cool Koreatown, and just next to the University of Toronto St. George campus lies the trendy Annex. While exploring the Annex, don’t miss the chance to stroll along the historic Philosopher’s Walk, a scenic footpath winding through impeccably preserved 19th-century campus buildings. However, one of the most delightful aspects of Toronto’s cultural diversity is its food scene. Craving sushi, shawarma, dim sum, or pizza? Toronto has it all, and often within walking distance of your campus!

Choose what and where to study before moving to Toronto for university

Every relocation demands meticulous planning, and moving to a different city for university is no exception. Before you start packing your bags, invest time in doing in-depth research on the higher education opportunities in Toronto. Fortunately, Toronto is one of the best Ontario places for university students, since some of the world’s highest-ranked educational institutions are located here. Of course, the “best” university for you depends on your field of study, career goals, and personal preferences. Still, these are the most popular options among young people coming here to study:

  1. University of Toronto (U of T) consistently ranks among the top universities in the world. It offers a wide range of programs and has a strong reputation in various fields, including business, engineering, life sciences, and humanities. Also, it is known for its research opportunities and diverse student body.
  2. York University is the third-largest university in Canada, and it is particularly strong in areas such as business, law, environmental studies, and fine arts. Located in the northern part of Toronto, it provides a different campus experience compared to downtown universities.
  3. Ryerson University is known for its practical, career-focused programs. It excels in fields like media, business, engineering, and computer science. Meanwhile, its downtown Toronto location provides excellent access to industry and job opportunities.
  4. OCAD University specializes in art and design education. Therefore, it’s a top choice for those interested in pursuing creative careers in fields like fine arts, graphic design, and digital media.
A happy student in Toronto
Choose what you want to study according to your preferences, and everything will be easier later on!

You’ve made your choice – now what?

After you’ve made your decision on a place to study, start your preparations promptly and establish a clear timeline for your relocation. It’s crucial to stay organized by keeping tabs on essential dates such as application deadlines and housing registration. Amidst this flurry of tasks, ensure you also allocate time to plan your actual moving day and secure the services of local movers Toronto well in advance. Of course, finding the right student accommodation in Toronto will be a pivotal part of your university experience. Luckily, the city offers a variety of student housing options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Many universities in Toronto provide on-campus housing options, which typically include residence halls and dormitories. On-campus housing offers proximity to classes, dining facilities, and campus resources. On top of that, they are an excellent way to connect with peers, which is particularly convenient for first-year students. If you choose to study at the University of Toronto, you could choose between several on-campus residences, including Chestnut Residence, New College Residence, and Innis College Residence. For instance, Chestnut Residence is located in the heart of downtown Toronto and provides furnished rooms, meal plans, and access to campus amenities like libraries and fitness centers.

Other student accommodation available after moving to Toronto for university

For those looking for a greater sense of independence, off-campus rentals stand as a favored choice among students in Toronto. Within this category, you can select from an array of housing types, including apartments, townhouses, or shared houses, depending on your financial considerations and personal preferences. For example, you might find a two-bedroom apartment near Ryerson University for around $2,000 per month, which can be shared with a roommate, reducing individual expenses. Online platforms such as Kijiji, PadMapper, and local rental listings offer an extensive assortment of options to choose from.

Students living together afte rmoving to Toronto for university
Sharing an apartment with roommates can help you save money and make new friends

Alternatively, you could move to CampusOne, a private student residence near the University of Toronto. Here, you can find furnished rooms, communal spaces like a fitness center, study lounges, a dining hall, and modern amenities. Rent for a single room in such residences can range from $1,700 to $2,050 per month, depending on the room type and included services. For those who prefer a community-oriented living experience, cooperative housing options might be a good choice. Members contribute both financially and with their time to maintain the co-op, while rent tends to be more affordable than conventional rentals. Finally, some students even offer their apartments for sublet during the summer months when they’re away. So, if you don’t need an apartment during the whole year, check out this option as well!

Get a part-time job to boost your income

Part-time employment opportunities in Toronto are as diverse as the city itself, offering students a chance to gain valuable work experience while supplementing their income. According to the best movers Toronto, many students who move here work on-campus jobs, such as library assistants or research assistants. These jobs not only offer convenience but also provide opportunities to connect with professors and peers! Additionally, Toronto boasts a thriving retail and hospitality industry, making it an ideal place to seek part-time work. For example, you can easily find work as a barista, waiter, retail sales associate, or hostel receptionist if that’s more your thing.

A student working as a cashier
Part-time job doesn’t have to be hard, and it will give you an additional source of income while you study

If you excel in a particular subject, you can offer your expertise as a tutor. Many students seek assistance with coursework, making tutoring a viable part-time job. You can also explore opportunities as a teaching assistant or a language instructor teaching your native language. Finally, the gig economy offers flexible, app-based jobs that can fit around your class schedule. Therefore, consider getting a job as a rideshare driver for Lyft or Uber, a food delivery driver for Uber Eats or DoorDash, or even as a freelance writer!

Make the most out of your student years in Toronto!

Toronto is full of attractions and activities that will enhance your university experience, so make sure you start on time! Start by exploring some of the iconic spots that are a must-see, like the CN Tower and Casa Loma. Then there’s the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), a place that’s packed with everything from ancient relics to modern art. When you need a break from city life, Toronto’s got parks and outdoor spaces to chill in. High Park is a beauty, especially when those cherry blossoms pop in spring. If you’re craving an island getaway, hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands for sandy beaches and picnic spots.

Just keep in mind that Toronto doesn’t sleep when the sun goes down. If you’re looking for some nighttime excitement, the Entertainment District is where the action’s at, with theaters, grub spots, and party spots. Whatever you’re into, Toronto’s nightlife has got you covered!

As we wrap up this guide, it’s clear that moving to Toronto for university offers a world of opportunities, experiences, and adventures. From choosing the right accommodation to exploring this vibrant city, you’re now armed with the knowledge to start your student life on the right foot. As you embark on this exciting journey, stay curious, make new friends, and make the most of your time in this dynamic metropolis. The time of your life as a student in Toronto begins now!