‘On’ or ‘off’ campus, which is better?

Making a decision to live on the college campus or off campus is something that takes a lot of thinking. It’s hard enough to leave your city and move, but leaving your country and home behind is wholly different. International students have to look at the pros and cons of both available options to make the best decision.

Durham College’s population is made up of 528 international students, who leave their homes, friends, and family behind to pursue better opportunities here in Canada. Look around you and you will surely see students from different cultures and backgrounds, at any point of time on campus.

A minor number of international students live on campus, while a majority of them live off campus because this is how they can afford to live in Canada. Which is better and why?

The International Office at Durham College prepares students about the ‘on’ and ‘off’ campus accommodations before the student even reaches Canada. Students receive emails that give a vivid idea of the expenses associated with living on and off campus, including the price of food. The meal plans offered by the college start from $4000 for eight months. Food prices according to numbeo.com can be between $2800 to $3600 for the same eight months. The International Office may provide the information, but making the choice is left up to the student.

Prices to live on campus start at $600 per month and go up to $850, depending on the kind of accommodation the student chooses. The rates to live on campus are pricey, expensive enough to drive a large number of students to live off campus. Living off campus can be difficult but it surely is much more affordable. According to the website places4students.com, the price to live off campus is quoted to be between $350 to $700.

Students choose to live off campus to save money on food, live with their friends and gain independence. Living independently helps develop confidence in students, teaches them to budget and helps to save money when compared to living on campus. Cooking your own food can be a cheaper option, as monthly groceries can cost between $350 to $450.

But on the other hand living on campus has its merits. “On those cold snowy nights getting to college is much easier when compared to living off campus”, says Sarah Edwards, International Education Officer of Durham College.

Food, accommodation, internet and fitness is covered by the college residence organizations. When everything else is taken care of, it is easier to concentrate on your studies. Meal coupons like the Flex card help students budget their food and save on taxes.

To save money and learn to budget, or to live comfortably and study with no worries, these are personal decisions that only a student can make. The final decision is based on a student’s comfort and need. But knowing the pros and cons of both options is essential.


Previous articleIndia’s economy making progress
Next article‘Field-to-fork’ goes global
Remona Maria Pillai is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. When it comes to writing and reporting, she enjoys covering entertainment, social issues and community events. She likes to spend her spare time reading, singing and socializing. Remona hopes to be an on-air presenter or field reporter following graduation.