Firstly when I was applying for my year abroad I was mainly considering living in off campus housing. However Vancouver has a very competitive housing market and so it can often mean that students are priced out of the market. Taking this on board and advice from previous exchange students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) I chose to apply for on campus residence. I am so glad I did this. Firstly because it meant that my experience searching for accommodation was relatively simple. Also it helped to provide a more sociable start to my year on exchange.
The application was simple and just involved ranking the different residence options, this was completed alongside the application to the University in March. Exchange students and first years are also given priority so almost everyone ends up with their first choice. I was also very pleased to see that compared to prices back in Leeds my residence is a lot cheaper at $6,790 for the entire academic year (September to April). This means more money saved for travelling and enjoying life on exchange.
All residences here are on campus and some come with a mandatory meal plan- so look out for that if you are not wanting one. My residence is self-catered and I like it because it offers me an opportunity to cook a variety of things whenever I want. However I wouldn’t necessarily discount a meal plan here as they work with a card system which can be used at lots of different on campus food outlets, including Canada’s beloved Tim Horton’s. It really is up to your personal preference.
Life in residence here is very sociable and there are plenty of activities put on throughout the year in order to encourage you to get to know other people in your residence. For example there have been film nights and on the day of Homecoming here the entire residence was invited to have pancakes downstairs. Additionally there are specific residences which are favoured by exchange students, most exchange students this year that I know live either in Walter Gage or Fairview Crescent. This has made it so much easier to meet other people on exchange and generally help me settle in.
Overall if you are planning on coming to UBC for a year on exchange I would strongly recommend applying for on campus residences. The UBC campus itself is huge, even when living on campus some of my walks to lectures are 15-20 minutes so being on campus is a huge advantage.
Written by Eleanor King – University of British Columbia, Canada