June 12, 2024

Conestoga is appealing to the community to help house international students in 2022.

“Record numbers” of students are expected to resume in-person learning at Conestoga College by January 2022 and the college is looking for host families as part of the “homestay” program.

Stephen Udeme an international student from Liberia currently lives in Kitchener and went through quite an ordeal to find accommodation, even though he came to Canada financially prepared.

“The memory is still fresh in my mind, some horrible experiences that I had while looking for a house. Some people went as far as saying that they dare not rent their houses to a Black man,” said Udeme.

The college advises all incoming students to start looking for a house before their arrival to Canada to avoid spending more money on lodging in a hotel when they arrive.

“As soon as you receive your visa. Search for listings online, connect with other students and contact landlords as soon as possible. Prices go up and availability goes down the closer we get to the first day of classes,” said Conestoga College’s International support services manager, Janet Parrish.

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Figure 1 Stephen Udeme, a current international student at Conestoga College living in Kitchener, ont., Canada. Photo Credit by Patrick Osadare.

Parrish said that the college is expecting a “record” number of international students, but she did not have an exact number.

Conestoga has taken the responsibility to create awareness among many international students who are planning to resume in-person academic sessions.

“The International Services team also guides students to housing resources and information through weekly webinars, pre-recorded videos on housing topics, one-on-one appointments, and links to housing resources and information. Upcoming housing events are also available through the Co-curricular Portal,” said Parrish.

“International students who are planning to resume in-person classes by January 2022 should expect to pay at least $500 for rent per month,” Parrish added.

As part of the plans to help many international students get a place to rent by January 2022, the college listed some rental websites and resources. The websites are http://www.places4students.com, http://www.kijiji.ca, https://www.facebook.com/marketplace,  https://www.247apartments.com.

Many international students have used and are still making use of the college’s rental website to get accommodation.

“I later found a conducive house to rent through the rental websites provided by the college, though some houses are so expensive on the website, so it depends on your choice of house,” said Udeme.

The total number of international students to resume in-person classes by January 2022 cannot be confirmed now. Parrish said it depends on the number of visa approval notifications received from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)  

“The number of international students expected to study at all campuses for Winter 2022 includes both new and returning students, many of whom are already in Canada, Parrish said “Those who have not yet arrived may still be confirming vaccine status, finalizing travel plans or waiting for IRCC approval (visa, study permit). We continue to monitor student status to determine the number of international students we expect to register for the winter intake.”

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