One of the perks of participating in Queens Political Studies Summer Institute in Canada is that I do not have to worry about accommodation. Looking for accommodation can be time-consuming and one of the most troublesome things about studying abroad. But in this two weeks PRIMO program, the course fee includes accommodation as well. So, once I get accepted and complete the registration, I can just relax and enjoy the ride.

But the next thing that might come to your mind is “how good is the accommodation?”. There are several accommodations during the program due to cultural trips to different cities (Toronto, Kingston, Montreal).

When I arrive in Toronto, we stayed at Marriott Courtyard near the airport. It was very convenient that the hotel provides airport shuttle that runs every 20 – 25 minutes for free. So, I do not have to worry about getting to the hotel while carrying my big luggage.  The room was comfortable as you might expect from a four-star hotel. I would not get into much detail about the hotel as more information can easily be found on internet. But I would tell you that night was the best sleep I got in Canada.

The next day, we travelled to Kingston by bus, where the majority of the program takes place. The Queen’s University provided us accommodation in one of their residence. I stayed in McNeill House that is strategically located near the beautiful Lake Ontario.

The room in McNeill is a shared room for two people. There are two single beds, two study desk, and two big closets. So, you still have your privacy and do not have to worry about sharing everything with your roommate. But similar to residence in ANU, there are only shared bathrooms, female and unisex bathroom. If you are not used to living in university residence, this part can be quite uncomfortable.

The house has other facilities as well, such as wi-fi, laundry, and dryer. But McNeill House is an old building, so connection can be slow at times. Also, the wi-fi does not reach all rooms. But there are common rooms where you can go to get connection. You can also go to the front desk (it is at a nearby, separate building) for better connection. I usually go there to do my assignments since the building is air conditioned and have study space. For the laundry and dryer, I have to pay CAD 2,5 and there is also a vending machine for washing powder if you forget to bring some. One last thing, you can borrow a fan for your room from the front desk if it gets too hot.

McNeill room
McNeill room
McNeill Bathroom

Queens also cater breakfast and lunch during the program. For breakfast, it is different every day. On some days, there are bagels, fruits and yogurts and on other days there are breads and pastries. And for lunch, they usually provide sandwiches and wraps, with occasional cheese platter and vegetables with hummus. Since the summer here can get really hot as well, there are always cold drinks in every meal. The foods are yummy and they even decorate the table with fresh flowers. But, the downside of catering is that it can be repetitive, and I sometimes wish they provide different meals. But we are responsible for our own dinner, so I can satisfy my appetite on dinner.

The location of the house is convenient as well. Since it is located on campus, it only takes 10 minutes to walk to class (Ellis Building). So, you do not have to wake up too early to get to class. It is also not too far from downtown Kingston. It takes another 10 minutes to go to downtown from class. Also, if you want to buy snacks, there is a nearby grocery store called ‘Metro’ just 5 minutes from class. I regularly go to Metro to buy ingredients for dinner with my friends.

I overall enjoy my stay at the McNeill House. One thing that relatively upsets me is that we were supposed to get newer accommodation with better facilities. But a soccer team booked the whole residence and we were moved to McNeill House. However, the accommodation is still nice and room cleaning service is provided. The house is also very close to the lake! I can take a five-minute walk to the lake for a swim or just to relax after class. I recommend going for a swim in the lake, especially in really hot days (the humidity makes it even hotter in summer).

One last review is the accommodation during our weekend trip to Montreal. We stayed at McGill University residence, La Citadelle. It is a skyscraper that is conveniently located at downtown Montreal. The room is clean, big and fully air-conditioned (very important for summer). I am very pleased with the room that I had a double bed all for myself. The facilities here also include wi-fi, cable TV, towels, and hair dryer. There is also a bathtub!! I would say this residence is pretty much like a hotel. This makes my trip to Montreal!

Room at McGill

Room at McGill

Bathroom at McGill