Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable places, and the city is a dream for urbanists and outdoor loving students alike. Filled with quirky neighborhoods, a multicultural population, and more culinary fare than you can possibly sample in a lifetime (even with a student budget), it’s also surrounded by easily accessible beaches, rainforests, and snow-covered slopes. Deciding to study abroad in Vancouver is an easy choice, but fair warning: finding the will to leave might be much harder!
How to Study Abroad in Vancouver
With all there is to see and do while studying in Vancouver, you might be wondering when you’ll find the time to hit the books. Luckily, the city lends itself to multi-tasking, and many programs allow you to learn while also taking advantage of Vancouver’s history, environment, and location. A classroom field trip doesn’t sound so bad when it involves visiting the set of a new blockbuster film, right?
Popular Subjects to Study. The most popular subjects to study here include hospitality, English, and film. Vancouver has become a popular filming location for both movies and television shows, which has made the city a hub for studying the industry. Vancouver’s wealth of restaurants, hotels, and ski resorts also makes it a great location to study hospitality. Lastly, over half of the city’s population speaks English as a second language, so you’ll be in good company as you study the present perfect and modal verbs.
Short Term vs. Summer vs. Long Term Programs. Top schools for international students in Vancouver are similar to other North American institutions in terms of structure and expectations. The school calendar consists of three terms (fall, spring, and summer), with short breaks in between each. With its fairly temperate climate, you should consider which activities you enjoy to best determine when to study here.
Attending Universities vs. Other Program Types. You could choose to take courses through your own university, universities in Canada, or an outside program provider. Some students might choose to directly enroll in Vancouver universities, such as University of British Columbia. You could opt to do a program through your own university or through a third party provider. Your university study abroad advisor will be your best resource in determining which options are right for your curriculum needs.
Life in Vancouver
It’s safe to assume there’s never a dull moment in this Canadian city, as long as you know where to look. With a populace that comes from every corner of the globe, you’re sure to discover interesting dishes, activities, and people at every turn. Spend the weekend sampling Japanese izakaya in the West End or head out of town for some world-class climbing in Squamish.
As with any large city, Vancouver’s culture is wide and varied. Many Vancouverites enjoy the outdoors and pursue hobbies on the water, slopes, or trails. Getting involved in outdoor or environmental projects is a great way to meet locals and learn more about the city. There is a large percentage of immigrants from Asia — great news for your belly and friendships alike.
If you prefer to stay indoors, the arts scene is booming with frequent theater festivals, dance performances, and museums. Be sure to check out the extensive exhibit on the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations culture at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. If you’re in town in September, don’t miss the Vancouver International Film Festival, one of the largest in North America.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
While Vancouver is rife with possibilities, one hard reality is that it’s an expensive city to live in. Lodging will likely be the biggest expense along with tuition, so it’s important to look at finances when deciding on a program. That isn’t to say it’s not feasible, and those extra shifts over the summer will definitely be worth it once you’re strolling along the Stanley Park seawall at sunset.
Some programs offer on-campus housing like dormitories or shared apartments. The cost for this is usually separate from tuition, and can be fairly high, yet the benefits of on-campus housing are often worth it, as you’ll be close to school and your classmates with little to no commute. If your program for study in Vancouver doesn’t offer on-campus housing or you’d rather look farther afield, rental apartments are available all over the city at a variety of costs. The rule of thumb is the closer to city center, the more expensive the apartment will be. Less expensive options exist, though they will usually involve a longer commute on public transit.
At first glance, studying in a city like Vancouver may not seem to offer special differences from other large North American cities, but if you talk to locals, you’ll understand there’s something special about it. Maybe it’s the mix of ocean and land, rainforest and skyscrapers, natives and immigrants, all coming together to achieve an interconnected community. Of all the lessons you’ll learn while studying in Vancouver, understanding your profound connection to this new place might be the most important of all.