Living in St. John's
Life in St. John's
The capital of Newfoundland and Labrador (and arguably the oldest city in North America), the St. John's area is home to approximately 190,000 residents. Replete with history, the city is renowned for its thriving arts, entertainment and cultural scene. Located on the rugged coast of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, the easternmost point of the Americas, St. John's is surrounded by wilderness, fishing communities and breathtaking scenery. For people who love the outdoors, the area boasts excellent opportunities for hiking, kayaking, whale watching, iceberg sighting, and exploring along the ocean coastline.
With its affordable housing, interesting political culture, vibrant night life - including the infamous "George Street" - and outdoor opportunities, St. John's has to be one of the world's ideal university towns . . . an excellent place to study and live. No wonder it has been said that St. John's is "one of the places I like best in the whole world, and for my tastes perhaps the most entertaining town in North America" (Jan Morris, The World: Travels 1950-2000, V. W. Norton and Co. Ltd., NY, 2003).
The University provides some on campus housing and also helps students find off campus housing. Information is available from the Housing Services website. While it is possible to live in surrounding communities (Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Torbay) you will likely need your own vehicle to get to the Memorial campus.
For students not planning to arrive in St. John's until late August, as with attending university anywhere, finding housing requires some advance work. Normally the off-campus housing registry has a fair amount of listings, with many coming in during August. However, you should begin well in advance, by checking the Web site. Most of the properties listed on the site have been visited by Off-Campus Housing Office staff, and will have pictures attached to the listing. It is possible to rent before arriving in town; however, Housing encourages you to view the property yourself, or, if possible, have someone view it for you. Aside from that, you can request pictures from the landlord, or ask to contact the current tenants regarding heating costs, noise etc.
One piece of advice from former students is to pay attention to the "pay own utilities" (POU) issue as heating costs can be quite high in the winter, greatly increasing the "real rent". You can try to find a place in which utilities are included, but if that is not possible, be sure when committing to a certain rent to leave room in your budget for utilities. Students can always contact Housing if they have any questions about living in St. John's (The Off-Campus Housing Office, 316F Hatcher House, Memorial University, 709-864-3765, www.housing.mun.ca/och)