Vancouver City- All You Need to Know About Vancouver Before Your Arrival

Vancouver is amongst the most highly populated cities in the British Columbia region in Canada. Termed as beta global, it is also one of the most diverse! Over 52% of the people living here have a first language that is not English. You will also be happy to know that a large percentage of these are students.

Know more about Vancouver Canada:

Has it ever happened that you went to a beach for a vacation and returned with only two thoughts pervading your mind – one, you have to go back soon and two, someday you want to live on a beach! But neither stays there for too long for, next time you go to the hills for a vacation and come back with the dream of settling your house amidst snow-capped mountains! Well, Vancouver is one of those few places in the world that gives you the opportunity to do both! You can see white peaks of huge mountains and golden sand of beaches. That’s how great this city is.

Vancouver City

Vancouver is an amazing city to visit as a tourist and an even better place to settle in. It has the perfect weather, kind and warm people, cultural diversity and tolerance and a natural setting coupled with a healthy and developing urban life.

There are four great experiences of Vancouver that someone living here must not miss out on – dining in Gastown, Stanley Park, shopping in Granville Island’s public market and visiting Grouse Mountain. These four activities are as diverse in nature as possible. Places like the Science world, Hot Art Wet City, and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park are also worth a visit.

Vancouver gives you both a taste of the serenity of Nature as well as the hustle of urban city life. On the one hand you have smoky mountain valleys and good summer beaches and natural wonders like Stanley Park, and on the other hand, you have perfect dining experiences, indie bars, art galleries and coffee shops.

Vancouver city

The teeming cultures and communities of Vancouver have divided it into various settlements that are called neighbourhoods or just ‘hoods in the local parlance. There are as many as 23 of such areas. Each area has its culture and society so distinct from the others that it often makes people feel that Vancouver has 23 cities within itself.

Accommodation and Housing

Vancouver city is one of the safest cities for students whether international or national. The people here are culturally diverse and tolerant. The crime rate too is extremely low. As a student you can opt to live on campus in the university, you are applying. But if you wish to get a feel of the city and live off-campus you have several other options as well. These include- renting or sharing apartments, going for homestay or buying a house. The last one being the most impractical and improbable one. Homestay is the recommended approach for international students. Living with residents of the city helps you understand and get absorbed into the local communities faster.

It is obviously recommended that before you set out to find your place in the city, you contact your school or college since most universities have facilities and services specially designed to help students locate appropriate lodging whether on campus or off. However, once you’ve spoken to them, you might want to go around and talk to locals or do online searches to ensure you’ve covered the entire scope for often these college facilities are limited and not up to the mark. The people of Vancouver city and as mentioned earlier nice and kind if not overly friendly. It takes a little effort to get them talking, but once they trust you, they are very helpful. So walking around and exploring the city and talking to locals might help you out with accommodations.

Here are a few online websites you can check out:


Food and Grocery Shopping

Food and groceries are easily available with several local shops, marts and stores available in most places in the city the likes of which include – No Frills on Alma, Persia Food on Broadway, Fruiticana on Fraser, Kins Market, Sunrise market, Dollar grocers and of course the cheap roadside vendors and stand. Brands like Cosotco and Wal-Mart can also be found here. For dining, students have several options ranging from cheap food trucks to fine dining restaurant serving gourmet food.

A major part of students’ life is enjoying take-out at midnight in the midst of working on projects and studying for exams. Vancouver allows you to enjoy that facility as well! There are numerous roadside stands and vendors whose names can’t be put down here but who students need to discover when they go exploring the city. Talking to the localities will help students discover the best food joints. Eating in the various small restaurants of Gastown or Chinatown is a must.

The best part about grocery shopping here is that the prices are reasonable, especially for students. Discounts and schemes designed specifically for students are extremely popular here. Here are a few advisable schemes one should keep an eye out for:

  • SPC Card
  • Sura Korean Cuisine
  • Entertainment

Students have umpteen number of recreational activities to partake in for their entertainment. Whether you are an individual who likes peaceful outings like picnics that include soaking up nature’s beauty, or an individual who wants to go on museum visits and art galleries or someone looking for an exciting night of clubs and hotels – Vancouver offers everything.

Stanley Park is a haven for Nature lovers, Chinatown or Gastown for foodies, stores of Kitsilano for shopaholics, and indie bars, hipster haunts and coffee shops of Main St. for adventure junkies. Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, KTV Party World, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach program and Vancouver Aquarium are some of the places one can visit without spending too much.

Travel and Transportation

Vancouver has seen a lot of urban developments recently. One of this is transportation. The entire city is now very well connected. With schemes like the U-Pass for students, transportation is not just easily accessible but also affordable! Also for students hoping to go for road trips during summer, there are rentals available that rent out self-driven cars. Zip Car is one such agency. Students living on-campus are often given transportation services like buses. For off-campus students, transit lines and Metros are the best options.

Vancouver city transportation

The bus, Sky Train, and Sea Bus are the major forms of transport provided to students by the state. Public fares for all three are almost the same. The fare system divides the entire city into three zones. The regular fares are computed by the number of zones crossed by the vehicle one boards. Regular fares are in effect until 6 30 pm every day. Discounted fares come into effect after this time until the end of the service period. The discounted phase does not take zone boundaries into account. Cash fares are also accepted in all three means of transport. Fare cards are also available for cheaper rates.

Cost of Living

Cost of living is a factor which can be subjective based on the standard of living. If you have the money to afford luxuries, Vancouver can be made expensive. However, if you don’t have that kind of dough and are thrifty enough, you can pull the cost of living as down as you wish to. Regarding Canadian Dollar here are a few basic prices for average amenities that might help you estimate your average cost of living:

  • Average lunch in a business area – 17
  • Lunch in a fast food joint – 9
  • Chicken – 7
  • 1 litre of milk – 2.67
  • 2 litre of Coke – 2.49
  • Bread for one day – 2.70 (varies depending on bread consumption)
  • Monthly rent for a studio of 480 sq. ft. in an average area – 1227
  • 1 Levis jeans – 72
  • Average price of a summer dress (includes brands like Zara) – 60
  • Shoes – 114
  • 1 litre of gas – 1.24
  • Public transport ticket (monthly) – 104
  • Two tickets to the movie – 28
  • Cold medicine – 9
  • Antibiotics (12 pills) – 21
  • Private doctor’s fee – 111
  • Deodorant or roll on – 5.56
  • Hair shampoo – 5.76
  • Four toilet paper rolls – 2.56
  • Toothpaste – 2.86
  • Dinner in an average pub – 50
  • Best theatre tickets for two – 256
  • One drink (alcoholic) in a downtown club – 11
  • One beer in an average pub – 7
  • 1 box of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 12Monthly Gym Membership in a business area – 62
  • Monthly Gym Membership in a business area – 621 min phone call for prepaid plans – 0.27
  • 1 min phone call for prepaid plans – 0.27Cappuccino in an expat region – 4.67
  • Cappuccino in an expat region – 4.67Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

All universities in Vancouver have placement divisions that ensure students get excellent job opportunities that suit their abilities and the skills learned by them in their time with the students. Also online, applications are available for students looking for jobs off campus. The job scenes are promising overall.

Part Time Work

Students looking to ease the pressure of student loans upon their parents and themselves have several part-time job opportunities open to them here. First off there are opportunities within the campus like TA positions, mentoring, dorm managers and so on. However, if you are looking for something that pays more of gets you out of campus you have options like summer internships, receptionists, program assistant, international education assistant, summer camp leader positions and so on.

Many students can’t afford to devote entire days to a proper job. They may opt for part-time work. They can take up positions of waitresses or waiters in diners, cafes or McDonald outlets. They can search online for hiring positions available with various institutions and companies. They can go around the area they are staying in and talk to local businesses about working part time. They have several options. For college students, their high school degree and passion for working is what will work in their favor. For school kids, the biggest disadvantage will be their lack of defined skill and certificates, but if they can still prove their worth, there is no dearth of opportunities here.


A city like Vancouver offers grand options for students looking to let their hair loose after a semester’s hard work is done. Universities themselves have well-developed student facilities. Washington State University Vancouver organizes trips and expeditions around the city’s many mountains, lakes, and beaches for its students. These include ski trips, backpacking trips, visits to major tourist destinations and so on.

UBC walking tour, SFU Walking tour and visits to popular locations such as the Museum of Anthropology, The Aquarium, Granville Island, Whistler, Playland, Capilano Suspension Bride, Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park are other activities students can indulge themselves in. Also the University of British Columbia Vancouver conducts regular meets and social events in various pubs, bars, parks and other places across the city. Vancouver is a beautiful city. It has magic in its air that makes it fun to just walk on its streets and explore all its nooks and crannies. Its beaches, natural landscapes, and picturesque mountains are a sight to take in. It’s a breath of fresh air after the stuffed concrete cities and hustle bustle that has come to be attached to urban life in general.

Indian Communities

The University of British Columbia is a global university with over 61000 students enrolled out of which over 13000 are international students. A large portion of this number is from Indian. UBC also has a liaison office in New Delhi. A few notable Alumni from India have graduated from UBC are:

Swamy Yeleswaram – Vice President in Incyte Corporation

The Indians here have found a way to preserve their culture and traditions. They banded together to form the Indian Student Association. ISA helps conduct Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali. They spread awareness about South Asian culture, specifically India. And they allow fellow Indians to band together and not feel alone in a new and alien country.