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andy

Kitchener/Waterloo, ON

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Hi all, I have a really good offer from Waterloo in Computer Science, but I have no idea what it'd be like to move there. A few questions:


  • * I'm a U.S. citizen. Is it a pain to get dual citizenship? Any things to be aware of?
    * How bad is the weather there? I'm not afraid of the cold, just the mix of cold, snow and wind.
    * What's it like living in Waterloo?
    * If anyone knows, how's it for grad students there? In particular if anyone knows about CS grad student life, that would be awesome.

Basically, I just want general info about moving there. Thanks all!

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I'm sad to see that no one has replied to this thread yet. I'm moving to Waterloo in September to begin a MES in Geography. Anyone from the Waterloo area? Have any comments/advice on living in Waterloo or on being a grad student at UW?

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Hello! I lived in Waterloo for about six months a while back.

• You don't need dual citizenship! Just get a student visa!

• It's a very continental climate, but it's not intolerable; buy lots of warm clothes and dress in layers. Good boots are a must. Buildings are well-heated.

• I'd recommend either living within walking-distance of campus or having a car. The buses are often late, and having to rely on them is a pain in the rear-end. Especially when it's cold.

• Kitchener-Waterloo is a nice little city of about 350,000. Which is growing really darn quickly because of its connections to technology (for instance, RIM, which makes BlackBerrys, is headquartered there). Lots of parks. Waterloo is safer and prettier than Kitchener, for the record. Travelling there isn't too difficult; if nothing else, you can fly to Toronto and either get on a Greyhound bus or take the shuttle, which is more expensive but will take you to your front door.

• Don't know much about grad-student-life, but there is the Grad House on campus. Most departments have lots of grad-student events, as well.

• Start looking for apartments early, especially if you want a small one. 1-bedroom places go really, really fast.

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I'm looking into attending the University of Waterloo and I have a couple of questions which I hope can be answered:

  • How much would an apartment within walking distance of the University cost?
  • How difficult is it to find housing?

Thanks,

Matt

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Housing is super easy to find generally speaking - it's a university town and renting is extremely common. The price of housing depends on what you want. 1 room will run you anywhere from 300 in the summer to 500-600 in the fall. An apartment will run from 600-800-1000 depending on how nice it is. If you have roommates, I would advise screening.

Remember that the CN $ is higher than the US $ currently, and from what I hear from friends that have worked in the states our food is more expensive and our gas is much more expensive as well ( about 1.1 per liter now, in USD that's about $4.3/gal)

The weather is pretty good. It's decent in the winter (significantly cold) and it can get hot in the summer (getting a place with AC will be recommended) but otherwise its quite nice. It is a university town though so beware that most of the activities here are confined to bars and clubs.

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Housing is super easy to find generally speaking - it's a university town and renting is extremely common. The price of housing depends on what you want. 1 room will run you anywhere from 300 in the summer to 500-600 in the fall. An apartment will run from 600-800-1000 depending on how nice it is. If you have roommates, I would advise screening.

Remember that the CN $ is higher than the US $ currently, and from what I hear from friends that have worked in the states our food is more expensive and our gas is much more expensive as well ( about 1.1 per liter now, in USD that's about $4.3/gal)

The weather is pretty good. It's decent in the winter (significantly cold) and it can get hot in the summer (getting a place with AC will be recommended) but otherwise its quite nice. It is a university town though so beware that most of the activities here are confined to bars and clubs.

Thanks for the info Sikyon. It helps a lot.

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I'm looking into attending the University of Waterloo and I have a couple of questions which I hope can be answered:

  • How much would an apartment within walking distance of the University cost?
  • How difficult is it to find housing?

Thanks,

Matt

Hi Matt:

I went to Waterloo for the last 5 years, and I really enjoyed it there. Just to warn you now, the winters can get pretty damn cold, and in the summer, it can definitely smell like geese poop. So I would definitely recommend getting a place with A/C.

Here are some places to look into for housing in UW:

http://www.waterloostudentresidence.ca/

http://www.wcri.coop/ <-- this place is VERY convenient to campus, but it's pretty dirty

https://listings.och.uwaterloo.ca/Sublet/

There were some new complexes that were being built while I was leaving UW. They looked pretty nice and would be around $500 - $600 CAD per month.

I have a friend who currently has a house right now, so I may get you contact with him, but it is not close to campus.

Hope this helps!

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Hi Matt:

I went to Waterloo for the last 5 years, and I really enjoyed it there. Just to warn you now, the winters can get pretty damn cold, and in the summer, it can definitely smell like geese poop. So I would definitely recommend getting a place with A/C.

Here are some places to look into for housing in UW:

http://www.waterloos...ntresidence.ca/

http://www.wcri.coop/ <-- this place is VERY convenient to campus, but it's pretty dirty

https://listings.och...rloo.ca/Sublet/

There were some new complexes that were being built while I was leaving UW. They looked pretty nice and would be around $500 - $600 CAD per month.

I have a friend who currently has a house right now, so I may get you contact with him, but it is not close to campus.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the links and recommendations. Those will be very useful.

How far is your friend from the campus by bus? Being able to commute to and from school in a reasonable amount of time is sort of a big deal for me right now, so it might not work out with him.

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Thanks for the links and recommendations. Those will be very useful.

How far is your friend from the campus by bus? Being able to commute to and from school in a reasonable amount of time is sort of a big deal for me right now, so it might not work out with him.

Hi Matt:

Sorry I didn't reply to you! I'm pretty bad when it comes to checking up on forums. My friend lives on the west side and it's a walkable distance about 10-15 minutes. I believe it's about a 7 minute bus ride from where he lives.

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I will be attending Laurier in Kitchener, ON and living in Waterloo, ON as of the fall. I'm very excited about doing an MSW but have no idea what to expect of Kitchener or Waterloo. I spent a total of 2 hours in both places, driving around from one rental place to the next and didn't really get much of a chance to see either city.

 

Some people have told me they love the region - lots of nice parks and there's a big market in Kitchener on the weekends. Only one person who did her undergrad at Laurier told me she hated the city and couldn't wait to move.

 

I really hope I will like it, but sometimes I'm not so sure. I typically like smaller cities, but when I was in Waterloo I only saw young students on the streets who couldn't have been more than 23 or 24 years old and that was really strange. Where were the seniors and young children? I'm concerned that this is a university town where most of the people are in their early 20s and are primarily interested in drinking and partying. Hopefully I'm wrong about that. I've always liked demographic diversity.

 

I also found it inconvenient that Kitchener doesn't seem to have malls and you have to walk outside and go from shop to shop. It must get really cold when you do your shopping in the winter. Did I miss seeing any of the the malls when I was there?

 

I'm hoping someone could share with me some of the great things about living in Kitchener or Waterloo because I am very excited about doing my MSW at Laurier and I'm sure I'll meet lots of great people at school, but I'm not so sure how much I will enjoy living in the region.

Edited by jenste

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Hi jenste. I am not doing graduate studies at Laurier but I (male) did attend Laurier for undergrad. I can tell a few things:

 

Near the Laurier and University of Waterloo campuses, the area is mostly filled with students. There are more girls than guys at Laurier and with Waterloo there are a lot of Asians (mostly Oriental, Chinese, Korean, etc.). Overall, the diversity at Laurier is not too bad, it is balanced.

 

There is truth to the Laurier students partying a lot especially on Homecoming, St. Patrick;s Day, Octoberfest (Kitchener has German roots.), Winter Carnival, etc. 

 

About malls and shopping, there is Conestoga Mall which is up farther north of both campuses, there's the nice Uptown Waterloo which is south of Laurier, and Fairview Mall in Kitchener which would require a lengthy bus ride using the iXpress service.

 

I hope this helps.

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I'll be moving to Waterloo in August and I've been looking for an apartment/room on various sites (padmapper, kijiji, craigslist, UW, etc.). The thing is, most of those places are summer sublets. Does anyone know what the situation is like in August? I don't want to get a place sight unseen, but I also don't want to come to town and find that all the good/cheaper places are already taken. I'd appreciate any info you guys might have. Also, if you're looking for a quiet, tidy roommate, I'm your man! :D

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Bump!

 

Also: 

 

1) What is the quickest/least expensive/best overall way to reach Toronto? 

 

2) Someone said the buses are often late. What about University of Waterloo shuttles? 

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Bump!

 

Also: 

 

1) What is the quickest/least expensive/best overall way to reach Toronto? 

 

2) Someone said the buses are often late. What about University of Waterloo shuttles? 

 

1. Depends on the time of day.  There is the GO train that runs between Waterloo and Toronto, but it only runs into Toronto in the mornings, and then out of Toronto in the evenings.  GO Buses run all day, or Greyhound buses.

 

2.  No idea., sorry.

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Sorry for the double post.  Kitchenever and Waterloo are very nice places to live.  Both continue to be growing cities, with lots of new housing springing up on the outskirts of the city.  In the area around the universities you will find a lot of summer sublets, because leases are often for a full year, so students who go home in the summer, or who have co-op terms elsewhere, try to rent out their rooms.  Good places to find roommates are on the various Facebook pages for the universities.  Lots of students will post there that there are looking for a roommate, or have a room to rent out, etc.

 

It might be hard to find a nice place close to the university come August, simply because a lot of upper year undergraduates will have already signed a lease for the full year at the end of this semester.  You may get lucky though - I haven't actually tried looking for a place in Kitchener/Waterloo in August myself or know anyone who has.

 

Be prepared for a lot of aggressive Canada geese on the Waterloo campus, especially during nesting season.  There is a reason they sell "I survived nesting season" shirts at the university!

 

Be sure to check out Oktoberfest in October - it is supposedly the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany!  It's not necessarily all about beer either, unless you want it to be. ;)

 

About the only thing Kitchener-Waterloo doesn't have that I wish they did is an Eddie Bauer.  The closest one is in Hamilton or the outlet in Georgetown.

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Thanks so much! Good tip on the apartment situation in August.. I really can't afford to move now, but maybe June or July will work. 

 

Anyone have thoughts on how family friendly Waterloo/Kitchener is? 

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I find the Kitchener-Waterloo area to be quite family friendly.  I've volunteered at the Y for quite some time, and they have a lot of great programs for the entire family.  There are also lots of opportunities to get involved in sports, Guides, Scouts, or arts if any of those appeal to your family.

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I'm accepting an offer to the MSW program at Laurier in Kitchener. I'm nervous about relocating since I've been living in Japan for the last three years and will be living here until my contract is up at the end of July. I'm worried about the possibility of finding a place to rent come August; unfortunately because I'm out of the country, I can't do a whole lot of searching before then. I'm thinking of sending my mom to Kitchener for a weekend to scope out places for me since she'll likely have to co-sign anyway with me not having lived in Canada for a while. 

 

In terms of searching for places to live, is there anywhere in Kitchener I should avoid when apartment hunting? I'm used to living in the safest country in the world, and while I'm from Canada and lived in Toronto prior to moving abroad, living here has left me more or less complacant towards safety (a habit I'm trying to break out of early) and I'm concerned about accidentally moving unsavory or comparatively unsafe.

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Hi Daniii,

 

I think it's a good idea to have someone look for a place for you. I'm sure you could find something in August if you waited until then, but the best places will be taken and you'd be picking from the leftovers (like places that are overpriced or not conveniently located).

 

Will you have a car during your program? If not, I'd try to get a place off of a number 7 bus route because this bus line runs the latest and has the most frequent bus service. It's up to you whether or not you want to live in Kitchener or Waterloo. Some things to consider.... the FSW library hours are terrible so if you like to get your work done in a library it would make more sense to live near the main campus and study there. There also isn't a gym at the Kitchener campus, medical clinic or other useful departments like career services, counselling, accessible learning services, etc. but you can find all of these things at the main campus. You need to be at the Kitchener campus 3 days a week the first semester but after that you'll only need to be there once a week. But rent might be a bit cheaper in Kitchener because most students need to live in Waterloo and the demand is higher. Some things to consider...

 

There are a lot of working class families in Kitchener and european immigrants and this city has more character (like older buildings, etc). If you're there at night, the downtown core looks kind of seedy in certain places but it's actually not dangerous. Just use common sense and you should be fine. Waterloo, on the other hand, is more modern looking and has a higher student, professor and working professional population. If you live close to a university you might find it odd to only see 18-24 year olds at first. During the first few weeks I wondered where all the families were hiding or if there were any at all. haha But it just depends what part of Waterloo you are in and how close you are to a university. Sometimes bus rides can get noisy and rowdy in Waterloo and some students can act immaturely on the bus or in restaurants, but you will get used to it.

 

If you live walking distance of the main campus there is a Foot Patrol service made up of volunteers who will walk you home at night if you wish. They can also pick you up at home if you need to go to the main campus in the evening. This service is not available at the Kitchener campus. 

 

Best of luck on your move! I think you will enjoy the KW area. It's a great place to live. People are very friendly here and you will immediately notice a difference if you are used to living in a larger city such as Toronto. As a student you will also get a free bus pass, which is a nice bonus! If you have access to a car there are many great internship placements to choose from in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Woodstock, Hamilton, Mississauga, Toronto, London, etc. If you don't have a car, be prepared to be flexible and take whatever is available. With a broad range of interests and no preconceived notions about where you would like to be placed, you will not be disappointed. Congrats and enjoy the program!

Edited by jenste

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Anyone have experience with trying to get into CLV North? Do you know how long it takes or what the likelihood is of me getting a spot for September? I applied for August back in March, and instead of being put on a waitlist for September, I had to apply all over again.

 

Alternatively, does anyone know of a good spot to search for housing on or near farmland on the outskirts of the University of Waterloo area?

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For future reference, I have found that the first link is kind of useless to students with families, as mostly shared housing arrangements for single students or couples is offered.

 

However, Kijiji is pretty good for students with families - or at least as good as anything else. Some other sites I found somewhat useful are walkscore.com and trovit.com.

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