My exchange to UBC was in the 2nd semester of my 2nd year in a bachelor of science and was one of the best experiences of my life. With semester 1 at UQ finishing in late June, and the UBC semester not beginning until the start of September, there was plenty of time to travel before making it to UBC. When heading for a semester in Canada, the opportunity of travelling in the states is far too inviting to refuse. If planning on going to UBC, I would recommend travelling the west coast of America and finishing in Vancouver. It’s what I did for about 7 weeks with a couple of other friends from UQ also heading to UBC, and it was some of the best travelling I have ever done. It seems that a lot of people plan on visiting America from UBC, but as semester kicks in, Seattle seems to be the only place easily accessible with the time available. I would definitely recommend utilizing that break time to travel, then once you get to UBC, you can focus on Vancouver and surrounds without the states enticing you from just over the border…

Once you’re in Vancouver and UBC, there is so much to do. Vancouver as a city is great and I can now see why it was voted one of the most live able cities in the world. The public transport around Vancouver is really convenient and getting from UBC to downtown and back is super easy.

Places to visit in and around Vancouver

  • Whistler of course! I spent 7 weeks there after semester and did not get sick of the place. Day trips are possible as well.
  • Lynn Canyon in North Van
  • Vancouver Island

As for UBC, the quality of teaching and learning is high and the campus is quite amazing. It’s hard to judge how the two semesters there would differ since the seasons seem to change so rapidly so I’ll just describe mine. When I arrived in September it was summer and we watched as the campus changed from green to red, orange and yellow through fall, eventually turning white for a couple of days as winter rolled around. Get used to the cold in winter, and the rain. It rains A LOT in Vancouver as winter approaches but you get used to it and accept it like everyone else over there does. I lived in Totem Park, which was fun and I believe the cheapest residence. I met some really good friends there and had a great time, but it is a first year residence, which can get a bit annoying at times. I would still recommend it, but this being a testimonial, positives and negatives have to be included.

As for expenses: It’s hard to suggest how much you would need, or even say how much I spent, every one will spend more or less then the next person depending on travel, skiing, shopping, eating out, drinking, etc. The UQ abroad website has helpful information on expenses. Also look at accommodation prices at UBC before deciding.

Academically, I took 2 physiology courses over there that were required for a course back at UQ and found them really good. Teaching and course structure was quite different and was a good change. I also took 3 electives. I would definitely try and take some electives if you can. I had one subject in natural disasters and another in biogeography, and another in the conservation of forests in British Columbia. All three focused on surrounding areas of British Columbia and were really interesting. What I’m trying to get at is look at doing subjects that aren’t available anywhere else in the world. You’re on exchange; it’s good to get a different perspective on things.

What to do at UBC?

  • Join the UBC Ski & Board Club – parties, rides to whistler, great people
  • Pacific Spirit Regional Park
  • Wednesday night is Pit night but get there early!
  • Go watch the UBC football team.
  • Wreck beach
  • Day of the longboat


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