Have you been officially accepted as an international student at a Montreal university? Congratulations! Get ready to experience the best student city in North America.* With our 4 essential things to know, you’ll be sure to get your adventure off to a flying start.

*QS Best Student Cities, 2022

1. Visas and immigration for international students in Canada

Like any country, Canada has certain administrative requirements for international students. But don’t panic: getting a Canadian student visa isn’t as complicated as you might think! Here are the key steps:

Find a program of study

First, you need to choose your program of study from one of Canada’s approved teaching institutions. The institution offering the program must be designated by the Canadian government. The good news is that all colleges and universities in Montreal are. So, the first step is really a question of formalities.

Be admitted

Before you can move on to the next steps in getting your international student visa, you first need to be admitted to your program. While this is a Canadian government requirement, every institution has its own admission criteria. It’s essential that you check the requirements carefully and gather as much information as you can!

Pay the tuition fees

Your international student visa won’t be delivered if your tuition fees haven’t been paid. Again, fees will depend on the program, the institution and several other factors.

Get your acceptance letter

Your college or university will send you an acceptance letter, confirming that they agree to take you on as an international student. This letter is very important; you will need it for your visa application.

Gather the required documents

A valid passport, proof of finances, proof of acceptance at an educational institution and additional documents may be required to progress with your student visa application. You’ll be given specific instructions about the documents you need to provide at each stage of your application.

Apply for your visa

Got everything you need? Now it’s time to send off your official application. To do this, you need to go to your nearest Canadian visa office. As well as filling out an application form, you’ll need to pay the application fees. In some cases, other documents and an interview may be required.

Get a medical exam

Some of the international students are subject to a medical exam to rule out contagious diseases.

Once you’ve successfully completed all of these steps, you can get your visa to travel, study and work in Canada!

2. Student accommodation and residences

Living in Montreal as an international student usually means renting accommodation or a room in a student residence. Rest assured, there are plenty of options!

The city offers a wide range of accommodation types designed to meet different needs. For example, you’ll find fully equipped student housing—such as Le Within—as well as shared apartments, individual rooms, studios and more.

We think the best way to go about your research is to think about these criteria:


Montreal is a big city, and its colleges and universities are spread out across different neighbourhoods. Some universities, such as Concordia and McGill, are downtown, while others, such as the Université de Montréal, are outside the city centre. This means it’s a really good idea to think about your location. For example, even if your university isn’t in the downtown area, it doesn’t mean you can’t live there! This is easy with Montreal’s public transit network.


Where you live during your studies will play an important role in your overall experience—and in your success. That’s why some student residences offer services and facilities such as communal spaces for study and socializing, concierge services and even catering. It’s worth looking into all these options to give yourself the best chance of success.


Rental costs for accommodation or student housing will vary according to location, services offered and other factors. This information should always be easily accessible, clear and detailed to help you compare options, plan visits, etc.

If you’d like to learn more about accommodation and student housing, check out our guide.


Discover Le Within’s unique student residences in downtown Montreal.

3. Language and culture

First thing’s first: French is spoken as much as English in Montreal. This goes for universities and colleges as well as elsewhere in the city. No matter what your first language is, if you can speak English or French, you’ll have no problem communicating!

Whatever language you speak, you’ll receive a warm welcome in Quebec—it’s part of the culture. The “cosmopolitan” aspect of the Montreal identity is a great example of this.

Curious to see the full picture? By exploring the city’s different neighbourhoods, you’ll get a more accurate idea of its character. Festivals, art galleries, restaurants from all over the world: these are just some of the attractions that will give you the full, iconic Montreal experience. Eight million tourists every year can’t be wrong!

4. The seasons

You might not think the seasons matter very much. But international students will tell you otherwise! In Canada, the change in seasons is more dramatic than in the United States or in Europe.

If you arrive in summer, you’ll experience the unbridled joy of the season in Montreal: months of warm weather, plus exciting, colourful festivals and events that bring the city’s neighbourhoods to life. When the school year begins, the temperature cools down and the city is decked out in rich fall colours. Plenty of activities continue in the fall months.

Around the end of November, cold weather arrives along with the first snowflakes of the Canadian winter. You’ll need a winter coat and snow boots to stay warm in the snowy streets. Properly dressed for the cold temperatures, you can enjoy the many fun winter activities popular in Quebec: beautiful snow-filled landscapes, skiing in the mountains, ice skating, themed activities and more.

Discover Le Within, just steps away from McGill and Concordia universities.

Does the idea of pursuing your studies in Montreal inspire you? Well, you’re not alone, and we understand the attraction! Each year, Montreal ranks among the world’s top student cities. In fact, in 2023, it was named the best city to study in Canada—for the seventh consecutive year!

Several of Montreal’s traits make it a fantastic place to live and a worthwhile student destination. Curious to know more? Discover the top 7 reasons why Montreal is a highly coveted student city.

1. Cost of living

The cost of studying is lower in Montreal than in several other cities of a similar scale. Tuition is more affordable, and students enjoy discounts on a wide variety of activities and services.

Wondering why Montreal offers all these amazing advantages to students? We were too, so we looked into it. What we found out is that Montreal’s vibrant student community contributes to its international reputation. It’s one of the main things that gives visibility to its creators, its technological innovations, and its culture.

Yes, the “City of a Hundred Steeples” has every interest in offering students a welcoming and supportive environment. And it’s doing a terrific job of it, if all the hype is true!

2. Quality of education

The quality of education in Montreal’s universities is unquestionable. Once again, many reasons explain this. Everyone seems to agree that the following factors make the quality of Montreal’s education indisputable:

  • Access to education for everyone
    Education is a top priority in Quebec. Governments pride themselves on offering all students fair access to an education, regardless of their socioeconomic status or background. Throughout the province’s network of universities and colleges, most of which are in Montreal, measures are put in place to support students with difficulties and help them succeed in school.
  • Academic excellence
    Montreal is home to renowned higher education institutions, including McGill University, Concordia University, and Université de Montréal. These universities attract professors and researchers from all over the world, which continuously raises education standards at the local level.
  • Investments in research and innovation
    Thanks to its rich networks and partnerships, Montreal is a dynamic hub of research, development, and innovation. Not surprisingly, higher education institutions benefit from this by gaining innovative teaching practices and technologies.


3. Student community

Whether you come from near or far, you’ll be welcomed with open arms when you’re a student in Montréal. An entire community will invite you to join in the action, share, and connect. Regardless of your interests—sports, arts, outdoor activities, the nightlife, fine food, technologies, name it!—you’ll easily find your people and thrive in your student life.

It’s worth mentioning that some student residences in Montreal, such as Le Within, focus specifically on fostering a sense of community. Activities are offered on-site, and you also have access to common spaces (multimedia studio, study rooms, etc.).

4. Urban charisma

Montreal has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes it uniquely attractive. Are you moved by the stature of a glass skyscraper, but also charmed by the timeless appeal of cobblestone streets? You’ll be in your element in Montreal. Some say it wonderfully combines elegant urban aesthetics and the picturesque atmosphere of old European neighborhoods.

Montreal’s architectural signature is expressed through its old, Victorian-style buildings, which coexist in harmony with its modern constructions. Stroll the city’s streets to learn more about its vibrant history, marked by the currents and trends of the 17th century. From one epigraph to the next, you’ll be won over by Montreal’s irresistible personality.

5. One city, four seasons

Are chilly Canadian winters the first thing you’ve heard about Montreal? Know that they only account for one of the four magnificent seasons you’ll discover in our province.

Studying in Montreal is indeed a four-season experience. In fact, some places are known for the unique atmosphere they offer during a particular season. Mount Royal shows off its flamboyant colours in the fall. Old Montreal is decked out in sparkling lights during the holidays. Spring is in full bloom on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, and, last but not least, the Quartier des spectacles is buzzing with action all summer long. All of these fabulous attractions are sure to energize you after a busy week of classes.

6. A cultural mecca

Montreal owes its dynamic and diverse culture to its cosmopolitan nature. Offering a rich cultural mosaic, with influences from all over the globe, the city stands out as one of the most multicultural metropolises in North America.

Regardless of where you are coming from as a student, you’ll probably find ways to reconnect with the cuisine, activities, or cultural customs of your homeland in Montreal. Language-wise, French and English are predominant in this insular metropolis.

7. World-renowned gastronomy

Montreal’s culinary scene is highly regarded for its excellence. The city is full of world-class restaurants serving everything from French, Syrian, Italian, Mexican, and Asian cuisine, to name only a few. Students take advantage of their free time to enjoy mouth-watering meals or share drinks with friends on lively terraces.

Aside from its outstanding restaurants, Montreal also boasts several open-air and specialty markets, such as the Atwater, Jean-Talon, and Maisonneuve markets. Throughout the year, they offer a wide variety of specialties from all over the globe (Morrocan, Asian, Italian, and more).

8. Innovation and development

Montreal is known throughout the world as a dynamic technological hub fostering innovation and development. Currently, the city’s reputation is particularly strong in the field of artificial intelligence, owing to its impressive pool of seasoned researchers. Montreal also stands out for its advances in sectors such as information technology, life sciences, energy, and sustainable development.

This urban vitality has a positive influence on students, whether they come from here or abroad. Many of them discover excellent business opportunities after completing their studies. This explains why Montreal has become a leading incubator for technology and communications startups over the last few years. In sum, the city not only offers high-quality education, but also a wide range of career development opportunities!

Thinking of studying in Montréal? Check out our guide to find the best student residence in the city.

Voted the best student city in America*, Montreal has many things to offer both local and international students. The quality of life and student experience offered by its student residences are just one example.

Not sure how to find a residence that checks all your boxes? An ideal setting in which to fulfill your aspirations? In this guide, Le Within gives you tips on how to find student housing in Montreal that will meet your needs.

Learn about the aspects to consider, the advantages of opting for a community-oriented residence and more. We promise to help you find a place conducive to realizing your ambitions!

QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2022

1. Location, location, location!

The location criterion tops our list, and for good reason! Where your student apartment is situated is the first thing you should consider. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a matter of living close to your school. Other elements will also affect many aspects of your living experience. Here are a few that our team and the Le Within community have noted.

Quick access to services

It goes without saying that your studies will take up a lot of your time. Attending classes, finishing assignments, studying and sometimes even working are just some of the things that will fill up your schedule. This makes your time a precious commodity. Quick and easy access to services comes in very handy.

When browsing student housing listings, always be sure to check what services are available nearby. Is there a grocery store, ideally within walking distance? A pharmacy, a clinic, a hospital? If you own a car, is there a gas station or a charging station within a few minutes’ drive? These are some questions that will help you geographically locate key services.

Proximity to school

Of course, living near your school will greatly facilitate your life. As a university student, your department will probably become your second home. You will go there to attend classes, but also to study, do team projects and work out. The closer you live, the easier it will be to integrate these different activities into your day-to-day life.

During your search for the perfect student residence, add a star to those within a few metro stops or a few minutes’ walk.

Public transit

In Montreal, everything is accessible via public transit. Students recommend using transportation options such as the metro (subway) or the bus to get to campus, meet up with friends, explore the city and more.

Don’t hesitate to contact the manager of the student residences that interest you to ask questions like: Is the residence near a metro station? If not, do the buses in the neighbourhood travel to your desired destinations?

You can also use the Société de transport de Montréal’s (STM) transit system map to situate yourself.

Looking for a place near McGill and Concordia?

2. The experience offered at the student residence

Few student residence listings tell you about the experience you can expect, even though it’s an important factor.

The experience and neighbourhood feel will make a big difference in your quality of life. Would you say that motivation, ambition, perseverance and student involvement are directly tied to the university experience? At Le Within, we believe they are!

We also believe that certain elements need to align to create the ideal student residence experience, such as:

Balance between education and social life

Being a student also means wanting to enjoy your youth to the fullest. Everyone wants to have fun before entering the job market, taking on more responsibilities and tackling projects bigger than ourselves. Without neglecting your studies, of course. Student housing clearly plays a role here.

For example, will the residence let you host a happy hour with friends on the one hand and make it possible to concentrate when you need to study on the other?

Community spirit

We define community spirit as “a sense of belonging to a group of people who have similar interests and goals and participate in the same activities.” Community is vital for local students, but even more so for international students. In other words, belonging to a community with whom you can communicate each day will help you stay the course and will be reassuring.

Which is why you should check what the residence offers in this regard. Does the student housing that interests you have a platform through which tenants can communicate? Common spaces that foster collaborative work, stimulate creativity and create a friendly and welcoming environment? Group activities, etc.?

It is worth finding a landlord who cares about your well-being and who will support you in your endeavours!

General atmosphere

How you feel about your living space may be more subtle and nuanced, but it matters just as much as any other criteria. The fact that you’ll only be living there temporarily doesn’t make the “vibe” less of a factor. On the contrary! You want a place where you’ll feel at home and where you’ll want to return after a full day of classes.

You might be wondering what elements create a good atmosphere. Some things are obvious, some are more personal, and thus answers vary from student to student. For you, it may be the neighbourhood’s charm, while for others, it may be:

  • General comfort
  • Common spaces in which to study and connect with others
  • The premises’ cleanliness
  • A private bathroom
  • Warm and inviting decor
  • Community life
  • A safe, monitored environment


Le Within checks all the boxes. Check out our lofts and see for yourself.

3. Amenities

Now let’s move on to the more “material” aspect of student housing. Amenities do more than just enhance a student’s daily life. They give you more time to study and have a social life while facilitating your various pursuits.

What are the most practical and sought-after amenities in student residences in Montréal? We channelled our inner detective to find out.

A furnished space

The ideal space will simplify your life, which is why a fully furnished unit is most appreciated by students. Not having to worry about getting a sofa, a refrigerator, a table, chairs, a desk, etc. is a huge weight off your shoulders. You’ll have everything you need waiting for you!

What is even better is a space that is not only furnished, but designed to support you as a student. Think integrated storage facilities, bedding provided, toiletries, (accessible shower, towels, etc.) and more. At this stage in your research, this might seem trivial. But in student accommodations, these are the little things that make all the difference. Keep an eye out for a gem that provides the above!

Services on-site

Did you know that some student residences—such as Le Within—offer laundry, housekeeping and concierge services? Depending on how flexible the offer, these may be optional. In which case, you can add these services to your rent payment and let someone else do the cleaning and laundry, freeing up your time and energy for your studies, activities and passions.

Kitchenette and bathroom

Is it important to you to be able to prepare lunches and make meals? In Montreal, student accommodations generally include a kitchenette. However, be sure to carefully read the description to see what is included, or not (oven, refrigerator, microwave, etc.). Some places—such as Le Within—also have a shared kitchen: the perfect place to prepare a meal alongside the other students at your residence. You could also use it for different activities such as preparing communal meals, holding themed evenings and more.

It is quite rare for student apartments to include a private bathroom. Residents usually share a bathroom, which can be on the same floor as your room or not. You can decide if a private bathroom is important to you based on your privacy needs and your expectations for your living space.

Study spaces

Although universities offer a variety of study spaces, it’s always convenient to be able to study at home. In a student residence, it’s not always ideal or even possible to do so.

So, if being able to hit the books in the comfort of your apartment is important to you, be sure to include that criterion in your search. Check if the unit includes a desk, but also if the residence has a quiet space such as a study hall.

Our service package launches your student experience to the next level.

Is timing important when looking for a residence?

Not surprisingly, the rental market for student housing is very busy at certain times of the year. And although it is possible to find a residence when it is most convenient for you, you will benefit from starting your search in the spring.

Summer is also an ideal time to browse the spaces available to rent in student residences. Especially if you’re open to subletting or having a roommate.

What if you live abroad and plan to arrive shortly before the school year starts? Many landlords can give you a virtual tour by videoconference. It is an excellent way to make first contact, giving both parties a chance to get to know one another in a neutral and courteous way.

In any case, never hesitate to contact the people in charge of the residence to ask questions and get a feel for the place.

Comfort, design, accessibility, service and community await you. Plan a visit now.