A number of dining plan options are available to you if you elect to live in residence; purchasing a dining plan may be mandatory if you are a new student living in Mt Blakiston House, University Hall or Piikani house, since these are room and board programs.
Advantages of living on campus
- Convenience: you will be in close proximity to your classrooms and University facilities
- Simplicity: you will be able to avoid the hassle of monthly rent/utility payments
- Community: you will have the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and engage in social activities
On-campus accommodations is great for single students, but if you are bringing your spouse or child(ren) with you, you will need to look for off-campus housing.
On-campus housing is in high demand, so if you are interested, you should apply early. You can apply for residence as soon as you’ve applied for admission and have received your uLethbridge student ID number. Once you’ve applied for residence, make sure to let your International Student Advisor know.
For more information on types of on-campus accommodation and prices, see here.
Most uLethbridge students living off-campus find accommodations on the west side of Lethbridge, which is where the University is located.
Choosing a Neighbourhood
There are many things to consider when looking for a place to live. When deciding which location is best for you, you should consider how you will get around. Do you want to live within walking distance to campus? Will you be taking transit to get around? How close is the nearest bus stop? How close is it to places like grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and banks?
Other Things to Consider
- What are the terms of the rental agreement? Month to month? Yearly?
- Is it close to a bus stop?
- Does it have parking (if you will have a car)?
- It is furnished or unfurnished? Furnished accommodations usually cost a bit more, but buying furniture and everything else you need to set up a home can be expensive. It’s common for shared accommodations to be partially furnished; for example, the kitchen and living room might be furnished, but you would need to furnish your bedroom.
- Do you feel safe in the neighbourhood and in the residence?
- Is it within walking distance to the University? Walking distance is relative – the weather will definitely be a factor. Be realistic about what is walkable in summer and in winter.
- Are utilities like electricity, water, and gas included in the rent?
- Are there laundry facilities, and are they free or do you have to pay?
- Are cable and internet included in the rent?
- Is it shared with other people? Are they also students? Will you share the same lifestyle?
- What are the noise levels in the neighbourhood/building? Is it close to bars or restaurants? Will noise from neighbouring apartments disturb you?
Most students search online for accommodations to rent. Other places to look could include posters in the Student’s Union Building and around campus.
Here are some commonly used websites:
- University of Lethbridge Off-Campus Housing Listings (Main Campus Only)
If you need to furnish all or part of your residence, you may want to consider purchasing your furniture second hand. This is usually a much cheaper option than buying new furniture—sometimes you can even find items being given away for free. Kijiji is a good place to find affordable, pre-owned furniture, or you can check Freecycle and Facebook for local online market pages.
You can also try visiting second hand stores in Lethbridge, such as Value Village.
If you are looking to buy new furniture, you can visit one of the several furniture retailers in Lethbridge.
Protecting Yourself as a Renter
Review Service Alberta’s RTA Handbook and Quick Reference Guide. You should understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in Alberta.
You may wish to consider buying tenant insurance to cover your personal belongings and furniture in case of theft or damage. You can purchase tenant’s insurance through an insurance provider.
If you choose off-campus housing, one of the most important things to take into consideration is whether or not utilities will be included at a fixed cost in the rent, or paid separately and based on monthly consumption.
Many individuals prefer to find an option where utilities are included in the rent, for the sake of simplicity and consistency; you will only need to make one payment monthly as opposed to separate payments, and the cost will always be the same. Keep in mind that the cost of rent which includes utilities will usually be higher accordingly. (For example, imagine there are two rooms of similar size in similar locations; one might cost $400 plus utilities, and the other might cost $500 including utilities).
If you are renting a room or a house that does not include utilities in the cost of rent, and the utility accounts are not managed by a landlord or roommate, you may need to choose utility providers for electricity and natural gas.
For more information on the types of retailers and how to choose your utility provider, look here. You can find a useful cost comparison tool here.
If you are living off-campus and your residence does not already have wi-fi, you will need to arrange for internet in your home. Many internet service providers offer student deals around the start of Fall term which are significantly cheaper than other plans; you may need to show them your student ID card or tell them your student ID number to benefit from a student plan. Common internet service providers include Telus, Shaw, and Bell. Here is a useful tool to help you compare internet plan costs.
You may be interested in applying to live with a host family through the Canada Homestay Network (CHN). Your host family will welcome you into their home for the duration of the contract. You will be provided with:
- A private, furnished bedroom in a safe, comfortable, and friendly environment
- Three meals a day (Typically students will prepare their own breakfast & lunch and host prepares dinner)
You will be expected to:
- Respect your host family as you would your own family
- Abide by household rules
- Make contributions to the household, such as participating in chores or assisting in meal preparation
The homestay program is a means of facilitating cross-cultural exchange while ensuring that boarding costs are covered and that students experience what it is like to be a member of a Canadian household. It is a great way to experience cultural values and lifestyle in Canada.
For more information and to set up your homestay placement please contact the Canada Homestay Network directly.
You might need short-term accommodations if you plan to arrive in Lethbridge before your designated move-in day for on-campus housing, or if you need time to look for somewhere to live off-campus.
Here are some short-term accommodation ideas:
There are many hotel options in Lethbridge, though unfortunately there are currently no year-round hotels located near campus on the west side of the city. The closest hotels are located across the river in downtown Lethbridge.
Short-term homestay can be arranged through Homestay.com. With this option, you will stay with locals. You can search the listings for couples or families. Typically, some meals are included in your stay. This is often a more affordable option than a hotel, but your privacy will be limited, since you will be staying in someone’s home.
Short-term accommodations can be found on websites like Airbnb. You can rent a home, or just a private room. Hosts are reviewed by previous guests, so make sure to read the reviews so that you know what to expect.
Finding a place to stay, including short-term accommodations for when you arrive, is your responsibility. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.