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Waterloo, Belgium

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 01, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Waterloo, Belgium is 30,000. People describe Waterloo as a small, charming town with a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. Expats love the easy access to Brussels, the friendly locals, and the beautiful parks and gardens. The weather in Waterloo is generally mild with temperatures ranging from an average high of 68°F (20°C) in the summer to an average low of 37°F (3°C) in the winter. The average cost of living in Waterloo for an expat is around $2,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $1,000 per month and a two bedroom apartment is around $1,400 per month.

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What do I need to know about living in Waterloo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Waterloo, they said:

"-You should look into the local job market to determine what opportunities there are for retirees. -Research the local housing market to determine what kind of real estate is available and at what cost. -Check out what kind of recreational activities and other amenities are available in Waterloo and in the surrounding area. -Make sure you understand all the different taxes that you may be responsible for depending on your residency status. -Familiarize yourself with the cost of living in Waterloo. -Explore the local healthcare system to ensure you have access to the care you may need in retirement. -Look into what kind of transportation options are available in Waterloo. -Research the different types of insurance coverage you may need in retirement," said another person in Waterloo.

"Before retiring in Waterloo, it is important to consider the cost of living, the quality of healthcare and healthcare services available, the retirement taxation laws, the availability of recreational and social activities, the climate and weather, and the transportation options. Additionally, it is helpful to research the housing options and the taxes, fees, and utilities associated with them. Retirement tax credit and pension income splitting can also help to lower taxes. Finally, it is wise to explore the local culture and find out what kinds of services, organizations, and support groups are available to seniors in the area," remarked another expat in Waterloo.

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What do I need to know before moving to Waterloo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Waterloo, they said:

"Waterloo is a city located in Canada's province of Ontario, and is part of the region of Waterloo. It is known for its low unemployment rate, high average income, and vibrant tech sector. It is home to two universities, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. It is also home to two largest high-tech business incubators in Canada – the Waterloo Accelerator Centre and University of Waterloo's VeloCity. The city is served by a good public transport system, including city buses and lightrail. It is considered a safe city to live in, with low rates of violent crime. Additionally, its multicultural population and variety of cultural activities and attractions make it a great place to live," said another expat in Waterloo.

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How do I find a place to live in Waterloo?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"The best way to find a place to live in Waterloo is to use available online resources. For example, websites such as kijiji, craigslist, or rentfaster provide listings of available rental properties. You can also contact local real estate agents or landlords directly, or check the classifieds section in the local newspapers. Other options include attending rental open house events, or looking for rental accommodations through student groups or the Waterloo Off-Campus Housing Registry. Finally, Facebook groups specific to the area are a great way to find out about available rental accommodations," remarked another in Waterloo.

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We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Belgium. If you're moving to Belgium, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Belgium.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Waterloo?

"Expat homes and apartments in Waterloo typically have modern updates and upgraded amenities. The area is known to have a variety of options when it comes to housing, ranging from budget-friendly apartments to larger single-family homes. Many homes and apartments come with air conditioning, cable/satellite TV, and Wi-Fi internet access. However, some amenities may come with a premium. The area is well-serviced with reliable public transport and good access to schools, supermarkets, and other amenities, making the area attractive to expats," said another person in Waterloo.

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What is the average cost of housing in Waterloo?

If you are thinking about moving to Waterloo, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Waterloo varies depending on availability and location. Generally, it is more expensive to rent in the city centre, whereas suburbs tend to be more affordable. The average cost of housing in Waterloo is usually between $800 and $2,000 per month," explained one expat living in Waterloo.

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We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Belgium. If you're moving to Belgium, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Belgium.
Homelike RentalsFurnished Rentals in Belgium from Homelike

We've partnered with Homelike, to connect expats and newcomers with temporary accommodations in Belgium. If you're moving to Belgium, rent a short-term, furnished apartment or home for the first few months from Homelike and take your time figuring out the best place to live in Belgium.
SEARCH RENTALS

How do I meet people in Waterloo?

When we asked people living in Waterloo about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"There are plenty of ways to meet people in Waterloo! You can join student groups and clubs through the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. You can attend concerts and festivals held around town, or visit some of the local pubs and cafes. You can also join a local sports team or attend special events hosted at the Waterloo Public Library. You can even use social media like Facebook or meetup.com to find events and activities where you can meet new people," added another person living in Waterloo.

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What should I bring when moving to Waterloo?

People living in Waterloo were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothing, toiletries, dishes, kitchenware, bedding, towels, furniture, cleaning supplies, electronics, artwork, books, documents, personal items, storage containers, packing materials, tools, decorative items, portable heaters/air conditioners, pet supplies, plants, first aid supplies, and spare power cords," added another person living in Waterloo.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Waterloo?

We asked expats in Waterloo what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"The most convenient way to open a bank account in Waterloo is to visit a local branch in the area. There are several banks with branches in Waterloo, including: TD Canada Trust, RBC Royal Bank, Scotia Bank, CIBC, Desjardins, Alterna Savings, National Bank of Canada, BMO Bank of Montreal, ATB Financial, President’s Choice Financial and Kawartha Credit Union. Each of these banks has a presence in the city, offering advice and services to customers," said another person in Waterloo.

"You can set up a bank account in Waterloo at major banks such as Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, and CIBC, as well as credit unions like Liberation Credit Union and DUCA Financial Services Credit Union," remarked another expat in Waterloo.

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Will I be able to find a job in Waterloo?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Waterloo, they reponded:

"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Waterloo. With an international reputation for innovation, Waterloo is home to many tech startups and world-leading companies. There is an abundance of highly skilled engineers and software developers looking for new positions in the city, making it a great place to find a job in the tech sector. Additionally, Waterloo's diverse economy also provides ample opportunities for those with other skill sets, such as customer service, administration, and marketing," said another person in Waterloo.

"Yes, Waterloo is a great place to find a job. It is home to top tech companies such as BlackBerry, Google, and SAP. It is also a top university city, and home to leading research and development institutions, which offer plenty of job opportunities. Additionally, the city is surrounded by major hubs that provide access to other employment opportunities. With such a wide range of job opportunities, Waterloo is a great place to start your job search," remarked another expat in Waterloo.

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What is life like in Waterloo?

When we asked people living in Waterloo what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area can be an exciting and rewarding experience. There are many opportunities to explore the culture, food, and countryside. The region often has a slower pace than cities, and people usually have a close connection with their community. Expats will typically find a welcoming atmosphere, with locals being both hospitable and friendly. English is commonly spoken, though it may be beneficial to learn the local language for deeper communication with the locals. There is much to see and do, with plenty of outdoor adventures, cafe hopping, and shopping. The region is also known for its inventive and delicious cuisine, all of which contribute to the experience of life as an expat," remarked another expat in Waterloo.

"Living as an expat in this area can be an incredibly rewarding experience. There is a vast array of cultures and languages on offer, making it a very diverse area. You will find friendly locals who will be more than happy to show you around and give you an introduction to the city and its culture. Public transportation is efficient and affordable, making it easy for expats to get around. The cost of living is relatively low, which is a bonus for expats who want to stay longer. Additionally, there are a number of international schools in the area, giving expats the opportunity to find quality education for their children. Finally, while the weather is generally quite mild, the area is well known for its numerous spectacular beaches and stunning scenery, offering plenty of opportunities for leisure and recreation," explained one expat living in Waterloo.

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What do expats in Waterloo appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats living in Waterloo appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere, the vibrant cultural scene, the outdoor recreational activities, the welcoming locals, the modern transportation system, the diverse dining options, the abundance of green spaces, and the affordability of living," explained one expat.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often face challenges such as the language barrier, cultural differences, the ability to find and secure suitable housing, adapting to a new lifestyle and environment, making new friends, adjusting to new customs and laws, being far away from family and friends, and coping with homesickness," said another expat in Waterloo.

"Expats commonly find challenges such as navigating a new culture, finding a job, learning a new language, missing home and feeling disconnected, understanding and navigating bureaucracy, finding housing, and dealing with the associated stress," added another person living in Waterloo.

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Is there a lot of crime in Waterloo?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"No, there is not a lot of crime in Waterloo. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, the city of Waterloo consistently has one of the lowest crime rates in the province. Statistics from the Region of Waterloo's Police Service indicate that the city has seen an overall decrease in crime rates over the past several years. In 2018, the overall crime rate decreased by 3.2%," remarked another in Waterloo.

"No, there is not a lot of crime in Waterloo. The crime rates in Waterloo tend to be lower than both the provincial and national averages for most crime categories. In 2019, Waterloo's overall crime rate was lower than the national crime rate by 30%. The property crime rate was the lowest in 2019, and the overall crime rate has decreased year over year," explained one expat.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Waterloo accepting of differences?

"Yes, there is a lot of diversity in Waterloo. The population of Waterloo is made up of people from a variety of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and cultural backgrounds, creating a culturally-rich environment. Waterloo is also a very accepting and welcoming city for all types of people. The city has strong ties with the local Indigenous communities and strives to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for everyone. There is a wealth of resources and initiatives available in the city to support diversity and inclusion," explained one expat living in Waterloo.

"Yes, Waterloo is a very diverse area. With universities like University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, the city is full of people from all around the world, creating an enriching mix of cultures. Waterloo has long been celebrated as a city of acceptance, where people of all backgrounds have been welcomed and able to live in harmony. As a result, the area is incredibly inclusive and celebrates its many diverse communities," said another expat in Waterloo.

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What are the schools in Waterloo like?

"Waterloo schools provide a diverse range of educational opportunities for students ranging from elementary to post-secondary levels. The city is home to the University of Waterloo, one of the top universities in Canada and renowned for its research and innovation. Local secondary schools feature strong academic and co-curricular programs. The Waterloo Catholic District School Board and Waterloo Region District School Board both deliver French immersion programs, as well as extended day programs, gifted education and special needs programs. Additionally, area private schools provide alternative approaches to learning such as Montessori and Waldorf pedagogy," added an expat with kids at in Waterloo.

"Waterloo is home to a variety of schools offering diverse educational opportunities for all ages. Public elementary and secondary schools are managed by the Waterloo Region District School Board, which operates 108 elementary and 19 secondary schools. There are also French language public elementary and secondary schools managed by the Conseil scolaire Viamonde, as well as a Francophone Catholic school board, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. The University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are two of the top universities in the country and offer an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Private schools, in both English and French, are also available, such as St. Paul's University College, Renison University College, and several Christian schools. Students in Waterloo also have access to various public libraries, community centres, and learning centres," commented one expat when asked about in Waterloo.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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