During the 4 months’ study abroad at SFU (Simon Fraser University), we all decided to live in “Townhouse”.
The townhouses are residence houses for 4 undergraduate students. (See floormap ) Each unit is 3 floors. On the main floor, there are a shared kitchen and a living room area. On the upper floors, there are two single bedrooms and one shared bathroom per floor. In rooms, only the most basic furniture are provided: a bed, a mattress, a desk, a chair, a closet and finally a wardrobe. (See how it looks like )
It is almost inevitable that you’ll have to visit Walmart or another major distributors to complete your room and make it fully functional (For example, bed sheets). Internet is available, but only through an Ethernet cable. If you wish to enjoy Wi-Fi, you can either turn your computer into a Wi-Fi station (pretty easy to do so but requires that you do parameterize your computer everyday) or buy an internet router with your roommates (cost approximatively 40$). None of us bought a router. (for three months, people either share the router from roommates owned before their arrival, or choose the computer method because 40$ for three months isn’t really worth it).
Distribution of room
The distribution of rooms is based on a survey answered by students during their subscription. Students with the same habits stay in the same houses. Students, with who you’ll be living with, can be exchange students as well as full time Canadian students.
The rent for a room in a Townhouse is 3090$ corresponding (at this moment) to 2150€ for the 4 months of official occupancy (from the 2nd of January to the 23rd of April). Nevertheless, classes will end at the beginning of April… A lot of GEM students decide to go back home before the end of the tenancy or to visit different places outside of British Columbia. Therefore, this amount of money should be compared to the average cost of Vancouver’s real estate market.
Concerning the payment for the townhouse, you’ll have to pay 700$ in advance before moving to Canada and the rest of the amount is due before the 1st of February (monthly payments are not an option available). So, make sure you will be able to release this amount of money in one time.
« Townhouses » are located at the East of the Burnaby Campus. You’ll have to walk 5 to 10 minutes to get to your classroom at Beedie, SFU School of Business (which will be the same for most of your classes during the semester). The best transportation method available on campus remains bus. Bus system is well organized with a nearly perfect regularity and easy to use. The only negative point is the distance between the campus and the city center. It takes 45 minutes to go to Surrey and between 50 minutes and 1 hour from Downtown Vancouver (the heart of the city). There are 3 different bus lines available to get to the Skytrain or directly to the city centre.
International Student Community on Campus
As international students, we highly recommend to take housing on Campus. There might be some opportunities in the Burnaby area or next to the campus. However, residing out of the Campus is a real struggle as you may be excluded from the international students’ community (which is very active and awesome to be part of).
Parties, sportive activities and the canteen are facilitated by their proximity. They can increase your motivation and multiply the opportunities of having a good time. By living on campus, you’ll have much more free time (losing less time in transportation etc.). This is the place to be! Even if some international students aren’t prone to go out or participate in activities, try to get out of your comfort zone, to meet new people. There is so much more to learn from students with different background. Do not limit yourselves.
Canadians (like a lot of international students) are very open-minded, welcoming, warm-hearted and sympathetic. It is an awesome opportunity to dig deep in another culture and to have an unique human experience.
Enjoy your stay and take advantage of this opportunity as much as possible !
By Lucas Delon & Frédéric Hussler
Source : SFU – Residence and Housing