Living & Studying in Vancouver – Draft


The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching. The University is consistently ranked among the best 40 universities in the world and is home to more than 40,000 undergraduate and 10,000 graduate students. In addition to offering an excellent education combined with competitive tuition rates, UBC’s Vancouver campus is located 30 minutes from the heart of downtown Vancouver, one of the most livable cities in the world [’s_most_livable_cities].

Cost of Living

The actual cost of living varies considerably between individuals, but typically ranges from $17,000-$20,000 per year. The largest cost is housing, typically ranging between $800-$1000/month depending on the type of accommodation and where in the city you choose to live. Our students live all over the city – from the convenience of on-campus apartments to neighborhoods such as Kitsilano, Main Street and Commercial Drive. Vancouver has a large public transit system and your student fees cover monthly subsidized transit passes.

The table below breaks down the estimated costs for major living expenses based on a typical graduate student sharing an apartment. Costs shown are per year:

This table provides an approximate idea of how much you should expect to spend per year to live in Vancouver while pursuing graduate studies at UBC. Tuition fees – $4,524.84 per year (domestic students) and $4,749.40 (including the tuition award for international students) – need to be added to this total. Our minimum stipend meets these basic costs. A Cost of Living calculator on the G+PS website [] allows you to input details specific to your own situation although, like the table above, the calculator can only provide a broad approximation of what it might cost you to live in Vancouver.

Vancouver and the surrounding regions

[portfolio_slideshow id=505 size=large pagerpos=disabled navpos=disabled showdesc=true showtitles=true showcaps=true autoplay=true slideheight=400]

Vancouver is located in the southwest corner of British Columbia, the westernmost of Canada’s 10 provinces.

Nestled between the Coast Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, the city is considered the most livable city in North America. Vancouver is also one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada.

The city has a mild climate (it is the only major city in Canada where the average temperature remains above freezing during the winter), but the region’s mountains are renowned for their large snowfalls. Three ski resorts – Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour – are less than 1 hour from campus. The largest ski resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb, is only about a 2 hour drive north of Vancouver.

Hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities are on your doorstep. Surrounded by the ocean, Vancouver is also a centre for water activities including sailing, kayaking and scuba diving [link to].

But it’s not just about the great outdoors! Vancouver has a vibrant music, arts and culture scene, is one of the largest film production centres in North America and is the home of the annual TED conference [link to].

Easy to get to

The city is on Canada’s Pacific Coast and is just 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the US border. Vancouver is on major air routes from across Canada and around the world.

Mild weather year-round

Vancouver has a temperate climate with warm, breezy summers and mild, wet winters. Snow is rare in the city but is plentiful on the surrounding mountain resorts (perfect for snowboarding and skiing).

Getting around

Your student fees include an unlimited local transit pass called the U-Pass. With 14 bus routes from UBC, as well as dedicated bike lanes and on-campus parking for car-poolers, getting around is easy.

No matter what you like to do, you’ll find it in and around Vancouver.

Whether you want an exciting outdoor adventure, a relaxing day at the beach, funky neighbourhoods for shopping and enjoying international foods, or opportunities to catch pro sports, music, and theatre, Vancouver has it all!

Whistler / Blackcomb

Stay at the UBC student lodge at the world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb mountain resort, available as a low-cost getaway.

Granville Island

Head to Granville Island for the city’s biggest public market.


Visit Chinatown for summer night markets and the Chinese New Year Parade.

Engage with Vancouver’s arts communities

Take in the latest exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, see a play at the Stanley Theatre, or go to any one of the city’s many museums, art galleries, music venues, cinemas, and theatres.


No matter what you like to do for fun, doing it on the beach will make it so much more enjoyable. Volleyball, picnics, swimming, relaxing with a good book — even studying — on one of Vancouver’s many beaches adds a fresh dimension of fun to the experience.

What can you do on a Saturday in Vancouver?