International Students

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Settling In

You did it! You've made an informed decision about your accommodations and now you're ready to move in. Here are some things to remember as you' get settled.


If you're moving into a new apartment, you’ll probably have to open an account with Hydro-Québec, the public electricity utility. A service charge of $50 (plus tax) is applied when opening an account. In Quebec, most buildings are heated using electricity. If you're required to pay for heating on top of your electricity bill, we recommend that you sign up for the Equalized Payments Plan (EPP), which allows you to spread out your costs equally over 12 months.


If you'd like to set up Internet access in your new home, start by reviewing the rates offered by the major telecommunication companies. You may find it advantageous to set up telephone, Internet and cable access at the same time. Be aware of the bandwidth limitations associated with your plan, especially if you share your apartment with other people. For more information on companies and plans, visit this website.

Cell phone

Cell phone (mobile phone) plans are expensive in Quebec, especially compared to European countries. Don't get caught off guard. If you're staying for one semester, it may be better to bring your cell phone from home and sign up for a prepaid plan that gives you access to service for a set period. For an overview of prepaid plans on the market, visit this website. If you opt for a prepaid plan, ensure your phone is unlocked and tri-band enabled.

If you're staying in Quebec for a longer period, these two websites (French only) can help you make an informed choice:


Here's some useful information if you decide to install a landline (fixed telephone line). In Quebec, local calls from landlines are free. You'll be asked to select a basic plan and you’ll be charged for it on a monthly basis regardless of the number of local calls you make. The options can include voice mail, caller display, call waiting and a second line. You can choose the combination that suits you best.

Calls to numbers outside Montreal and its surrounding area, including international calls, are billed according to the duration of your call. These rates can be high, so make sure you find out in advance.

Many international students use prepaid calling cards for their calls abroad. These come in various denominations (generally $5, $10 or $20) and are sold in many grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. You can also purchase them at the Poly COOP. The cards let you call overseas at a lower cost, and some of them are specialized in specific regions of the world.

Buying new

A number of large retail chains offer furniture and other items at a range of prices. Some of them also offer delivery (free or for a fee). Here are some of the stores:

Dollar stores: This is the common name for stores that sell all kinds of goods for $5 or less. Dollar stores can be found all around the city.

Buying used

There are many good reasons to buy second hand, like saving money and helping the environment. Here are some well-known brands that offer used items:

We also encourage you to use the search engine on the City of Montreal website for locations and businesses that deal with used items as well as classifieds websites like Kijiji and Craigslist.

IMPORTANT! We recommend that you refrain from taking furniture and other items left on sidewalks, as these items may be infested with bed bugs.


A home insurance policy is a must. Home insurance will protect you if you need to replace your belongings after an incident such as fire or theft. If you cause damage to someone else's property or belongings, you may also be covered for civil liability under your home insurance policy.

If you don't have home insurance, you will be liable for any expenses associated with the incidents named above. Most banks and insurance companies offer this type of coverage for as little as $20 or $30 a month.