UBC 101: A Beginner’s Guide to The University of British Columbia


This won’t be the most comprehensive guide for UBC considering I’ve only been here in Vancouver around 2 months, but it should give you some useful information about student life here. I know when I was applying for my year abroad I had so many questions and hopefully this will be helpful for anyone who is currently deciding where to go.

I’ve found there is a really lovely community for exchange students at UBC if you make the effort to go to the Student Exchange Club events. I’ve not heard of similar clubs at many other universities and it has been such a good way to meet people from all over the world and see some amazing parts of Canada. They organise weekly events which could be anything from going to see an ice hockey game to ‘Painting and Pinot’ to your typical themed club night. They also plan a few trips such as to Sunshine Coast and The Canadian Rockies.

Lake Louise
Visited on the Student Exchange Club trip to The Rockies

If you decide to live on campus the best options for exchange students are either Fairview Crescent or Walter Gage as you are guaranteed to be living with other exchange students. Fairview is a bit further from campus (but still no more than 10 minutes from the centre) whereas Gage is in the centre of campus, but they are both pretty nice as far as student halls go.

If you come to UBC you will be entitled to a compass card which gives you access to public buses and trains everywhere in Vancouver for a small fee paid at the start of each semester. They are infinitely more reliable than Lothian buses and run basically all night (although the service is less regular so be prepared for long journeys back to campus if you decide to go out late at night in the other side of the city).

Wreck Beach
The ‘Clothing Optional’ Beach located on the edge of UBC campus

One thing I didn’t realise until I got here was that the campus is literally surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. There are multiple beaches you can get to within five minutes which provide a nice escape from campus life if you want to go for a run, swim or even just to watch the sunset. There are also countless things to do and see in the city and surrounding areas from hiking to street food markets to skiing. I couldn’t be happier to have another 6 months ahead of me to explore Vancouver. Hopefully this has given an insight into university life at UBC for anyone who is curious, and I would recommend an exchange here to anyone who wants to see for themselves what an amazing place it is.

Categories: British Columbia, Canada, INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE, North America

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