I am a 3rd year Bachelor of Economics / Commerce student and I spent a semester at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada! Exchange was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can guarantee my testimonial won’t do it justice, you have to experience it for yourself! In terms of academics, I thought I would struggle taking the standard load of 5 subjects however I found the assessment to be significantly less demanding than UQ, which meant I could really enjoy the exchange lifestyle and still have lots of time to travel. I lived on campus at Walter Gage where I had stunning views of the bay and downtown Vancouver from my 9th floor apartment. I would highly recommend either Gage or Fairview where most exchange students are placed as they don’t have the ‘first year vibe’ that Totem Park does.

Surrounded by snow capped mountains, Vancouver is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities I have visited. It is a great city to be based in due to its close proximity to the United States and with Whistler only 1.5 hours away, there are plenty of opportunities for a quick exam study break! Definitely make the most of your weekends to get off campus and go exploring. Some of the trips we did during the semester included Vancouver Island, Grouse Mountain, Seattle, Portland and a road trip through the Rocky Mountains. During the first few months of my exchange it was beautiful weather but towards the end of the year it rains constantly, so invest in some waterproof shoes and try to do trips such as Vancouver Island and Grouse early on to make the most of the weather. If you can fit in some travelling after your exchange definitely take that opportunity. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the East Coast of Canada where I visited Montreal, Quebec and Toronto with my new exchange buddies.

In terms of expenses, I took over $10,000 in spending money (not including residence fees and airfares) which lasted the five month duration of my trip, but it really depends on how much travelling you intend to do. Things like going out for dinner, alcohol and cabs are a lot cheaper than home but groceries are definitely more expensive. The UPass, which is compulsory for all UBC students, gives you access to unlimited public transport and saves you a ton of money compared to Brisbane’s go card system. Phone plans are very poor compared to Australia so take your time in finding a good plan so you don’t get stung with long distance charges every time you venture to Whistler like I did!

Top 5 tips!

  • Make the most of UBC’s close proximity to Whistler by purchasing a student ski pass and joining the Ski and Snowboard Club for some wild parties and the infamous ‘Condo Cram’ weekend!
  • Flying internally in Canada is expensive. To save money you can cross the border to the States and fly out of Bellingham or Seattle, it saved me hundreds of dollars when I flew to Montreal.
  • Try the amazing sushi Vancouver has to offer, trust me, you’ll never be able to eat Brisbane sushi again!
  • Enjoy the Vancouver nightlife, from the legendary Pit Night on campus to Backstage on Granville Island and Fortune nightclub downtown for some crazy nights.
  • While you will often gravitate towards hanging with Aussies, getting to know students from around the world is a must, you never know when you will need a place to crash overseas one day!

On this site

Go to top