Studying abroad at University of British Columbia presented me with many challenges, but also very memorable experiences and I loved meeting people from all over the world! Vancouver is a beautiful city and UBC has a massive campus full of trees, old buildings and views of the mountains. Vancouver is perfect for active people, with cyclists everywhere in the environmentally-conscious city. The nearby mountains also offer hiking during summer and skiing during winter.

Before my semester of exchange, I was studying BScience/BArts. Dual programs are notoriously difficult for juggling subjects for exchange and I have since changed into BScience. Science courses are structured very differently at UBC, with pracs confined to their own course and almost no assignment work required – just readings for exams. This worked well for travel, although midterms lasted 1.5 months, leaving everyone university-bound in that time.

I enjoy living at Grace College so I was looking forward to North American dorms. Unfortunately, with less events and a larger population almost entirely of first years (I was one of two exchange students I knew of in Place Vanier), it was difficult to get to know others with a similar mindset (ie. travel and fun over study!). The food was good though, if expensive.

Some of my travel experiences:

  • Early morning kayaking on Thetis Island
  • Seeing Shia LaBeouf filming on campus
  • Visiting Stanley Park
  • Watching hockey
  • Eating Beaver Tails
  • First time skiing – at Whistler!
  • Weekend trip to Seattle
  • Snow-covered Banff in winter
  • Strolling along Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach

    My Top Tips:
  • See live shows! They’re cheap in Vancouver/USA (The Naked and Famous - CAD33, The Wombats - CAD15)
  • Ski & Board Club offers plenty of events during semester plus Whistler condo cram
  • Plan ahead for Halloween – there’s heaps of parties but they sell out first day of ticket selling
  • QuickCoach offers the cheapest shuttle service to Seattle and SeaTac Airport
  • Take any opportunities that come to you!

Most importantly:
Have goals for your time on exchange. Research the city you’re going to and its surrounding areas beforehand so you have ideas of what you want to achieve and places you want to visit. From there, choose the university best for you. This way, your experience is guaranteed to be as rewarding as it possibly can be.
 

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