Find Your Home Away From Home

By University of Waterloo Modified on October 08, 2021
Tags : Fun & Games

How to use online events to experience the atmosphere of your future campus!

Find Your Home Away From Home

In addition to academics, an important aspect of your university experience will be where you live. If you're considering studying abroad, you may be unable to visit the campus yourself. Here's how you can use virtual open houses and webinars to see if the location and atmosphere of the campus is right for you!

Questions to ask yourself before an open house

Before the open house, figure out what kind of lifestyle you want during your university experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself:


You'll spend a great deal of time on your campus. Outside of lectures, you'll hang out with friends, study or work on group projects, get something to eat or drink, attend events, and more.

  • Would you want all the buildings to be within walking distance or spread across the city?
  • Do you want a busy urban campus or more of a park-like setting?
  • Do you want a big school where you discover more opportunities and breadth of courses or something smaller where the professors will have a chance to learn your name?


Where you live during university is important. Most students choose to live in residence for first year, but there are pros and cons to living on or off-campus.

  • Do you want to live on campus or share an off-campus apartment with friends?
  • Do you want a roommate?

Once you've answered these, you'll know what to look for during the virtual events. Here are a set of questions you can use to see if the university matches your desired experience!

Questions to ask at online events

It's a great idea to head into these opportunities prepared with a list of questions to ask. This will allow you to maximize your time with university representatives and get a sense of what each school has to offer, without leaving you tongue-tied!

Student life

Many university and college representatives are students or graduates and can share their own experiences and recommendations.

  • How big are classrooms?
  • What is student life like? How can I connect best with other students?
  • How involved are students in campus activities?

The city

Student life doesn't stop on campus. Getting around town for food, shopping, and going out means knowing how to get from point A to point B.

  • What kind of city is the campus located in? Is it in a bigger and more diverse area or something a bit smaller and more relaxed?
  • How easy is it to use public transit? Are there stops close to campus?
  • Is a transit pass included with your fees?
  • If you're coming from far away, how close is an airport? Is it easy to find a shuttle service to campus? If so, what's the cost?


Choosing to live in residence is a great way to feel more connected to your university and friends but it's important to know what kind of experience you'll be getting.

  • What services are offered in residence? Are laundry, wi-fi, cleaning, workout rooms, and games available?
  • What does a meal plan cost? Do you have to buy one?
  • What are the different types of residences offered? Are they located on a part of campus that you would like to live on?

Of course, location is just one aspect of choosing a university. Zahra, a former University of Waterloo student, offers some additional tips on what to consider when choosing a university. But by getting the most information out of virtual events, you know you're one step closer to finding the perfect university for you!

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