The first entry of the blog is about my first weeks in Toronto. As an international student, everybody back in Peru recommended me to come to Toronto a few weeks before the beginning of classes, in order to adapt to the new city and the new language. However, for different reasons, I bought a ticket just four days before classes. I must confess, I was terrified. I did not know how to organize my new life in the short three days, in order to be ready for the first day of school. As you might imagine, everything was chaotic for a while. And that brings me to the first subject of this entry: housing!
Coming to an empty house is not easy. Especially because houses are not filled magically in three days, no matter how hard you try. However, thanks to Student Family Housing at the University of Toronto I had a place to live. I now live with my partner, who arrived a day before school. Nevertheless, if you come alone, the University has an option for you. One can find all the information needed to apply for a University residence in Student Residences. You, your family and your pets are welcome! If for some reason you do not get a positive response from Student Residences or have to wait for the apartment that you been assigned for one or two months after the beginning of classes (sometimes happens), or if you want to live anywhere else other than a university residence, there are Off-campus Housing options. Always be aware of deadlines to apply!
The difference between residences for families and for single occupants is that the former is not furnished, while the latter is. The apartments at Family Housing are empty. If you travel with all your stuff, keep in mind that you must contact the Student Family Housing for parking and elevator information. If you come with nothing, as my partner and I did, there are good and inexpensive ways to furnish your house.
The first, and most amazing one it is located at Family Housing. The university has been responsible for making the Family Housing a really nice community. On the third floor of the residence at 30 Charles Street West, there is a Free Store. This space is made up of donations from tenants in the building, where you can find clothes, some appliances, cookware, and books—for free. On the other hand, Family Housing tenants are able to post advertisements on the first floor. August, December, and September are months where many people move in and out of the building. So if you come with nothing, do not panic, many people will be selling their furniture, bedding, appliances, and furniture for their children, etc. Under this trading system, I bought my sofa bed, bed, dining table, two bookcases and a very nice, almost new, and very cheap lamp. For everything else you are missing at home, you can go to the Dollar Store or IKEA. The second subject is an essential one, especially if you come from countries with great cuisines: food!
What and where to eat in Toronto, a fascinating and multicultural city? You can easily find food and ingredients from around the world. If you cook, there are several markets and supermarkets with good prices where you can shop, like No Frills. I prefer Kensington Market, where you can find fresh and inexpensive ingredients, and restaurants from around the world. More than just delicious food, you can buy some music, art, vintage clothing, etc. Kensington Market is located next to Chinatown, in the Downtown Toronto. The third subject focuses on the institutional support you will receive from the university when you arrived in Toronto.
For more information consult the CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE and OISE’s OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR AND STUDENT SERVICES. In both offices, you can learn all programs, activities, and events for international students. Although it can be difficult to adjust to a new country, especially if English is not your first language, the OISE community is equipped to help you with the transition.
You can also contact the International Student Association (ISA) of OISE for any inquiries. The information about ISA is as follows:
– Location: 252 Bloor Street West, Room 8-107
– Telephone: 416-926-4733
– E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Versión en Español: Los primeros días