The Frolics of Frosh and Flat Hunting

-just do it

-just do it

Finding a flat in Montreal is easy; there are loads of student apartments around, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Just don’t do what I did!

Having made lots of friends at the hostel in Jean Talon, but still without a permanent place to live was starting to worry me. Fresher’s week (Frosh) was starting on 25th August so I had very little time left.

Before arriving in Canada, me and Jacqueline, another Glasgow Uni student discussed getting a flat together, so I was searching for 2-bed apartments. However, it wasn’t as easy as you would think because we had completely different criteria.

During my first 2 weeks I had literally fallen in love with Le Plateau (zone F on McGill map below), so i was keen to live there, but Jacs had her eye on the Ghetto (zone A/B). Both areas are fantastic; The Ghetto is the closest to campus and is very student orientated, Le Plateau is very similar, but with a more European charm- great food and nightlife, and less of a claustrophobic feel to it. Anyways, we decided to find apartments for ourselves, which is my advice to everyone else. You’ve just got to do what’s best for you.

Having only been to 2-bed apartments I would have to start from scratch with 1-beds and flat shares. Luckily, websites like craigslist.com, the American version of Gumtree, is a great way to see the latest openings. Straight away I went round to view a room sharing with 2 other Brits and a Quebecoise. It was a decent flat and in my desperate state I said stupidly said yes! However, the room was dark and unfurnished, so not ideal, but hey, I had somewhere to stay.

That night though I went to a friends’ flat for some pre-drinks, literally a 2min walk away. Their place was awesome! Fully furnished, all bills included, wi-fi, cable TV, flexible lease, even an Xbox 360! If I could move here I would be paying the same price per month for double the quality. So, after a few phone calls with the landlord I found out there was a room spare.

I knew this could get messy (legally) so I went to the Off-Campus Housing Department at McGill. They were really helpful and explained it all to me. I hadn’t signed any papers therefore the chances of me being taken to court were slim because verbal agreements are hard to prove. This was just as a precaution though, and in actual fact, it wasn’t that bad. I explained to the original people that I had found somewhere better and even though they were upset and a wee bit angry, nothing serious came of it. They found a new flatmate within the week, so it all ended happily.

I moved into my new place the same day. Instantly I knew I had made the right decision! I had some great friends in the building already, also doing exchange, and I didn’t have the hassle of furnishing it. In addition, getting a lease for 9 months rather than the full year would save me a lot of $$$.

Yeh, so my new place is 15 mins walk away from campus. No it’s not in Le Plateau, but it is a great location with the high street, supermarkets and clubs less than 2 minutes walk away. Plus, I bought myself a bike for $50 (£30), so getting to uni is easy and safe, especially with the bike lanes. I’m paying less than $600 a month which isn’t too bad considering the bills are included. Did i mention it drops to -30oC in winter? So heating is a major consideration when looking for somewhere.

Whilst all this was going down, I was still managing to have an awesome time at Frosh. There are two types of Frosh: Faculty, which is first, and SSMU, the Student Union. Faculty Frosh is by far the best! You get put in teams with other unsuspecting Froshies and then given crazy leaders whose sole aim is to PARTY! Because I’ve already done Fresher’s week back in Glasgow I thought that I might be a bit too mature for it all, but not at all. I put in as much effort as possible and the returns were great. For $125 we got 3 days of Unlimited Beer, Pub Crawls, Free Entry to Clubs, T-Shirt, Frosh Pack, Beach Trip, Food. Everything except your night drinks, which didn’t matter if you spent the whole day at the Beer Tent.
I’m still friends with my leaders and a few of my fellow froshies.
I’m even joining a team for the Winter Carnival at the start of next semester with them.
Again, it’s going to be messy few days, but I can’t wait!

http://www.mcgill.ca/offcampus/

http://www.mcgill.ca/files/offcampus/OCM-lowrez.pdf

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