So today I am pretty proud of myself.
After the first round of exams (there are three this week) I had still not received any emails from Chicoutimi about living arrangements. One student emailed me saying that she had received an email from a lady saying that she had space…if we were each willing to pay $375/month for a room, laundry and internet extra. Umm, no, I did not want to spend almost one week’s paycheck just to sleep!
So house hunting I went. I found one listing online with some rooms right downtown Chicoutimi for only $230 a month…much better! Apparently it is used by students at the local university, which is out for the summer. Perfect!
There was just one issue – I had never tried to find lodging before, let alone in French. I had no idea what kinds of questions to ask, so I spent part of my day trying to think of some. How much is rent (to confirm)? Does it include heat/hydro/water? Is internet free or extra? Is there kitchen access? How many bathrooms are there? Are the bedrooms furnished? I thought of everything I would need to know so that I wouldn’t have to keep calling back.
I called the landlord, whose name is Mario (very French, right?). He speaks only French, but spoke clearly (if a bit quickly) and was extremely patient. He said he did have some rooms available for the 8 weeks, and that $230/month included everything, even unlimited high speed internet. The house is furnished, there is a bathroom for every 3-4 rooms and a central kitchen for everyone to use. He said the house is also located just 100 feet from the Chicoutimi University, meaning bus transport was going to be a breeze.
I guess word got around among the students that I had found a potential gem and soon there were 3 other people interested in the house. Mario had told me to call back tomorrow to confirm how many rooms were available for us.
Needless to say, I did a happy dance afterwards. After all, I found lodging in one day, with only four days until Explore ends!