Hi, my name is Katelyn and I am an ANU student who is currently on exchange at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Early on during my exchange application process I knew that I wanted to live on-campus if possible, because it seemed like the most convenient option (being close to the campus) and the safest; also more reliable because I was scared I may get conned into renting a room/apartment that didn’t actually exist or was in a poor condition. The application process for on campus accommodation was relatively easy, and I heard back within a matter of days that I had been offered a place.

At the University of Waterloo, all exchange students who wish to live on-campus apply for Columbia Lake Village (CLV) South. The residence is made up of four-bedroom townhouses that can be co-ed or single-gender; and has a mix of first-year, international and exchange students. I am sharing a house with another Aussie girl, a girl from Austria and another girl from Hong Kong. The residence fee for CLV was $3,750 CAD for the semester, which works out to around $230 CAD a week. This covers electricity, water and internet.

At all on-campus accommodations at the University of Waterloo exchange and international students can move in two or so days before other first-year or returning students. Which gave me and other exchange students the opportunity to sleep off their jetlag and participate in orientation activities specific for exchange/international students. It also means that as an exchange student within my first 24 hours on campus I was able to meet people who were also a long way from home and getting ready for the exciting semester ahead of us.

I bought a bedding package through Residence Linens, and it was delivered to the university before I arrived. I found the price reasonable for what you receive, and the added peace of mind of having everything ready when you arrive on campus rather than having to run around town to grab everything. I also purchased a kitchen starter set through this site, as no kitchen utensils or crockery are provided within the accommodation. With tax added on top, the bedding package and kitchen set cost approximately $500 CAD.

The bedrooms are equipped with a twin single bed, a desk and chair (for study or dumping textbooks on), a chest of draws, a well-positioned mirror to make sure you look functional before you leave your room, and a surprisingly large amount of hanging space in the closet. You may also get a nice view out of your window if your luck;, I get to look out on to some beautiful greenery, while others end up looking at the house across the street.

There is excellent Wi-Fi in the accommodation, which loads Netflix quickly and ensures you don’t miss any important posts on Instagram or messages on Facebook.

CLV is located on the edge of the campus, so while it is maybe a 15-20 minute walk to the main campus it is close to the local grocery store and students can ride the local buses for free with their student ID cards if they don’t feel up for the walk. There is also a shuttle bus that goes to and from the CLV community centre to the campus.

Laundry facilities are in the community centre, as the individual houses are not equipped with washing machines or dryers. I am yet to use these, but it seems convenient and easy. The community centre also has foosball, ping pong and pool tables, as well as a kitchenette, photocopier and some chairs and tables just to hang out at. It seems like this will be the social hub of the accommodation.