An encouraging percentage of international students trooping into Canada are concentrated in Toronto owing to the many globally-recognized institutes in the city. However, note that studying abroad comes with a wide array of challenges, especially in terms of living expenses, and truth be told, the living expenses in Toronto for international students can be quite out of proportion.
According to reports, Toronto was ranked the 13th best city to study because of the quality of education offered by institutions in the city, the comfortable living, and affordable infrastructural rates. Being a top mixing spot for different cultures, international students will most definitely feel comfortable in the city of Toronto.
Agreeably, Toronto isn’t the most affordable place to live – be it for students or working professionals, so understanding the cost of living can help you budget well before you come to the city. Here are the living expenses in Toronto for international students.
What is the Living Expenses in Toronto Canada for International Students?
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Have in mind that the amount you spend on accommodation will vary based on the neighborhood and type of housing you choose.
The University of Toronto is known to house over 20,000 international students and it estimates the on-campus accommodation cost for an international student to be somewhere around CAD $1,080 and $2,982 depending on the room and meal plan. A one-bedroom apartment in Toronto will cost around $2,100 CAD/month on average. Typically, other utilities like water and gas are included in rental costs.
According to reports, the baseline delivery cost is typically a minimum of $50 a month and can increase depending on the quantity of electricity you use.
Note that big appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine, coupled with running an air conditioner or electric heating will drive up what you pay for electricity. Owing to that, there is no cap on how expensive your electricity cost can be, and this can lead to bills of up to hundreds of dollars, so consume energy wisely.
Ideally, when setting up in a new location, international students are always advised to think about their Internet provider in Toronto. You wouldn’t want to move to a house that hasn’t got all the systems in place, especially phones, the Internet, and so on. Telecommunications providers in Toronto are known to have discounts for students; however, you should envisage spending around $50 – $100/month on the Internet in Toronto.
Not just in Toronto, Canadian cell phone plans are known to be quite expensive, but there are some affordable mobile service provider options in the GTA. While telecommunications providers in Toronto also tend to offer discounts for students, expect to spend around $40 – $100/month on phone bills.
Clothing & Shoes
Although you may not need to make clothing expenses every month, you will still have to buy clothing and shoes and it is imperative you budget for them. The Greater Toronto Area (where all 3 campuses are located) is known to have four varying seasons, with temperatures regularly as high as 30°C (86°F) in the summer and as low as -25°C (-13°F) in the winter.
Having the right clothes, including a warm coat, scarf, hat, weather-rated gloves, and boots for walking through snow, are very important to ensure you are comfortable throughout the long winters. Budget $25/month for clothing and shoes!
Monthly Entertainment & Other Expenses
Toronto is renowned for the many enticing cultural and outdoor activities it offers. You will always find world-class music festivals, skiing and snowboarding, and giant sporting events like basketball, hockey, and baseball games.
Your entertainment expense will also include restaurants and take-out, hobbies, social activities, movies, monthly subscriptions, and anything else not covered in the other categories. While this cost will vary from one person to another, budget around $150/month for entertainment.
Books & Supplies
Aside from your tuition fee, you will have additional expenses related to your courses, such as books, supplies, lab equipment, electronic devices, and other technology. While you can budget $500/semester for these, have in mind that emergencies happen. Therefore, you should establish funds for yourself that can act as a buffer if you have an urgent need, such as unexpected thesis research.
This form of insurance is very important as it can cover your liability if you accidentally damage your unit or if another person gets injured in your home. Also note that it acts as contents insurance to replace your belongings if they get lost, stolen, or damaged.
It may also cater to the expense of temporary relocation if there is a need to move out while a repair is being done in your unit. According to experts, budget around $15 – $30/month for these expenses.
Food & Grocery
If you don’t have a meal plan and live off-campus, you must include grocery shopping in your budget. Note that this expense will vary based on your personal needs. Many neighborhoods have a range of grocery stores, some more affordable than others.
According to the City of Toronto’s Nutritious Food Basket Calculator, a male aged 19-30 will have to spend a minimum of $65.50/week to buy healthy food. Meanwhile, a female of the same age living in Toronto will have to spend about $51 CAD/week to buy healthy food. Here is the cost of vital items in Canada’s largest city, Toronto:
- Milk: $3 CAD
- Rice, 1kg: about $3.50 CAD
- Apples, 1kg: about $4 CAD
- Red meat, 1kg: about $16 CAD
- 12 eggs: about $3.50 CAD
Note that you won’t incur transportation expenses if you stay close to your institution. However, also note that living further from campus can help you save on rent, but you should also take into consideration the cost of getting from your house to the campus.
Toronto’s TTC system, which includes buses, subways, and streetcars, boasts of per-use prices coupled with an unlimited monthly cost. If you will be transporting to campus from outside of Toronto, you may have to leverage public transportation services like the GO Transit train service or the MiWay bus system and that will come with some additional costs.
However, note that all three transit systems use the Presto card payment system, and this can be set up once you arrive in Toronto. If you choose to get your own car and drive to campus, then it is imperative you budget for associated expenses like car maintenance and repair, coupled with parking at both your place of residence and on-campus.
Numerous international health insurance plans are valid in Toronto. International students are advised to obtain health insurance as it can help reduce expenditure. Also, note that health insurance is a must for students of some institutions.
For instance, students of the Toronto School of Management (TSoM) are mandated to have health insurance. The cost of insurance for international students can range from $600 to $900 per year. If you are looking to become an international student in Canada, one of the best places you can move to is Toronto.
However, ensure you rent a house that has good connectivity to the school you will be studying in. While the public transport in Toronto is affordable, living close to the school will help you cut down on your general living expenses.