Cost of Living in Canada as an International Student


Cost of Living in Canada as an International Student

If you’re an international student considering studying in Canada, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the cost of living in the country. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the expenses you can anticipate while residing in Canada, with a focus on Vancouver as a representative city. We’ll break down various costs, including rent, utilities, transportation, and lifestyle expenses, to help you create a budget that aligns with your needs.

Rent in Vancouver

One of the most substantial expenses for international students in Canada is housing. In Vancouver, the cost of a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $1,600 to $2,400 per month. If you’re looking to save on rent, consider shared accommodation, where you live with roommates and split the costs. Typically, shared accommodation will set you back between $500 to $1,000 per month.

Utilities, Internet, and Cable

In addition to rent, you’ll need to cover expenses for utilities such as heating, cooling, water, garbage collection, and electricity. The average monthly bill for these basic utilities amounts to approximately $102. Additionally, budget around $80 per month for cable and internet services.

Phone Plans

While Canada is known for its expensive phone plans, there are budget-friendly options available for students. Low-end phone plans range from $15 to $57 per month, offering various features to meet your specific needs.

Food and Groceries

When planning your food expenses, anticipate spending about $355 per month on groceries – a reasonable amount for a single student. However, if you opt to dine out, meals can cost between $15 to $35 each.

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Public transportation is a popular choice for international students. In Vancouver, a three-zone monthly pass costs $181. Alternatively, if you prefer to drive, the average cost of a brand-new car is approximately $19,500, or you can lease one for just over $200 per month. Remember to account for expenses like insurance, gas, and maintenance if you choose to drive. For a more budget-friendly option, consider biking or walking to save on transportation costs.

Lifestyle and Entertainment

Entertainment expenses can vary based on your interests and habits. Movie tickets typically run around $15, while alcoholic beverages average $8 per drink. Gym memberships usually cost $60 per month, and you may want to allocate $200 per month for shopping.

Other Costs

It’s essential to prepare for unexpected expenses during your time in Canada, so it’s wise to allocate an additional $200 per month for emergencies or unforeseen costs.

In summary, the monthly cost of living for an international student in Canada can range from $1,200 to $6,800, depending on your preferences and lifestyle. If you can secure rent-free accommodation with relatives, cook your meals, and rely on public transportation, your expenses will likely be at the lower end of the spectrum. Conversely, if you prefer independent living in downtown Vancouver, dining out for every meal, and owning a car, you can expect to incur higher expenses.


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