International Students

International Students

International Students
 As of October 1, 2022, all travelers entering Canada via air, land, or marine mode will NOT be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination; will NOT be required to take a pre-entry COVID test, and will NOT be required to quarantine after arrival in Canada.

Welcome to Canada

International students are an important part of the community at VST. Unique and diverse voices come from worldwide, and that wealth of experience offers valuable insights both in and out of the classroom and greatly enhances the VST community. Vancouver School of Theology is pleased to offer International Students the same tuition rates as domestic students, making a VST education more affordable than many comparable schools. 

Vancouver School of Theology sits on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia. UBC’s website has a wealth of useful information; topics include health insurance, immigration, taxes and more. It’s definitely worth a read: UBC International Student Guide.

Whether you are considering an education with Vancouver School of Theology or have already been accepted, this page has information that will help you settle into your new life as a student in Canada! Read on to find out about opening a bank account, acquiring a social insurance number, finding a place to live and more.

Financial Independence
Accommodation in Vancouver
Employment in Vancouver
Before You Arrive
After You Arrive


Applicants who do not have Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status in Canada will require certain documentation, such as a Study Permit, before beginning a program of study in Canada. These documents must normally be obtained from a Canadian consular office outside of Canada. Applicants should contact the Canadian Embassy or Consulate nearest their residence about admission to Canada. Contact should be made as early as possible, as the time needed to process a visa can vary depending on the visa office. (Applicants who are a resident of the United States, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, or Greenland, may apply for a Study Permit at the Port of Entry into Canada; provided all documents are in order.)

Visit Study in Canada as an International Student for more information.

General information on Canadian Immigration can be found here, Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

English is the language of instruction at VST. IELTS or TOEFL score may be required.

Financial Independence

All students from outside Canada must give evidence at the Canadian border that they have been admitted to the School as students and that they have adequate means of financial support without being employed while they are in Canada.

Please refer to Canadian Immigration & Citizenship for the most current information.

Information about the Cost of Living in Vancouver can be found at

Accommodation in Vancouver

There are many choices of accommodation available in Vancouver. Having the right information will help you find a great place to live while completing your studies!

Find Accommodations

Discover Greater Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Downtown Vancouver (including the West End)

Located at the heart of the urban business district, the always bustling Downtown Vancouver is home to well-known destinations like Stanley Park, English Bay, Robson Street, Yaletown and Gastown, as well as the Vancouver Art Gallery. Find everything from beaches, to shopping, to great restaurants.

South Vancouver

With easy access to VST from South Vancouver, neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale and Marpole are a little quieter, but still possessing amenities like shops, restaurants, and community centres.

East Vancouver

With popular destinations like Main Street and Commercial Drive, East Vancouver is overflowing with local shops and restaurants. The neighbourhoods of Sunrise-Hastings and Renfrew-Collingwood are commuter friendly to VST.


Well connected by the Canada Line SkyTrain, as well as buses, Richmond is home to the Olympic Oval, Steveston Villiage, and some of the best Chinese food in Greater Vancouver.

West Vancouver & North Vancouver

Located on the North Shore across Burrard inlet, West Vancouver and North Vancouver are just a few minutes from the mountains. Cypress Mountain, and Mount Seymour Resort are popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding. The Grouse Grind (Grouse Mountain) and Quarry Rock (Deep Cove) are very popular hikes in the summer.

Burnaby & New Westminster

Situated east of Vancouver, the cities of Burnaby and New Westminster can be more affordable options for housing, though require a longer commute by bus to VST. Metropolis at Metrotown Shopping Centre, Richmond Night Market (summer), and Westminster Pier Park are popular destinations.

Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta & Langley

The cities of Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, and Langley are the furthest from VST, and commuting can take 1.5 hours to over 2 hours each way by train and buses.

Types of Accommodations


Single-Family House

A building with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms. There may be more rooms for eating, watching TV, or doing laundry. There is usually a yard and a place to park a car.


A building divided into 2 houses.


A group of small houses joined together.


A building that is typically entirely owned by a leasing company that leases out its units.

Apartments and suites can be in an apartment or condo building, or an a single-family house.

Most apartments and suites have 1 or 2 bedrooms.

Most apartments and suites have a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room.

  • Studios or bachelor suites have 1 room with a kitchen area and a bathroom and no bedrooms.

There are many high-rise apartments located in Vancouver’s downtown. They are typically more expensive than any other type of accommodation as they offer many facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, concierge, and more. Rental cost spans between $2000 – $7000 CAD/month depending on the location and its amenities.

Condominium (condo/strata)

A building owned by a separate condo owner. A company, called a condominium corporation, manages this condominium under the supervision of a chosen circle of condo owners who made up the condo board.

Shared Room (House or Apartment)

Share a space with someone else. This is the cheapest option for a single student. Normally a shared room in a house costs between $800 – $1500 CAD/month depending on the location.

Bachelor/Studio Suite

Bachelor/Studio suite is a small apartment that combines bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen into a single living space. Rental cost range from $1800 – $2500 CAD/month depending on the location and the age of the building.

Basement/Garden Suite

Many Vancouver homes have basements that have been transformed into suites. Often there are two bedrooms in the basement suite, which can be shared with a roommate(s). A one-bedroom basement suite costs approx. $1800 – $2500 CAD/month. A two-bedroom basement suite costs approx. $2200 – $2800 CAD/month.

Employment in Vancouver

As a full time VST student, you are permitted by the Canadian government to work up to 20 hours/week during the school terms and full time (40 hours/week) in the school’s holiday period. You may be able to bring your spouse (and children) to be with you in Canada, and your spouse may be able to obtain a spousal work permit.

Details about the current minimum wage can be found under this link:
Minimum wage – Province of British Columbia
There are many part-time jobs available for international students with or without any work experience.

If you have any professional expertise, you can apply and potentially secure a position in Vancouver relating to your profession. However, your skills must first be recognized and certified by the Government of Canada.

Here are some of the most useful and widely recognized websites for job searches in Vancouver. Please do your due diligence as these have not been endorsed by VST.

Alternatively, you could also join a Facebook group dedicated to connecting employers and employees such as “JOBS VANCOUVER BC” which has over 25,000 members.

Social Insurance Number
To work in Canada you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You can apply for a SIN once you arrive. Information on how to apply can be found here, Social Insurance Number – Overview.

Working after graduation
As a private institution, a VST grad’s eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit is under discussion with the provincial government and not automatic at this point.  We are seeking to meet the qualification criteria.

Insider Tips:
Urban Fare, Save on Foods, WalMart, and many other stores are always hiring new international students to work for them. It’s possible to earn as much as $1000 CAD/month (after tax-deduction) working 20 hours/week at minimum wage, and some employers will pay more than minimum wage.

Employment – Spouses:
Your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit. For more information visit Spouse Work Permit.

Other useful websites:

Immigration Workshop

Congratulations on your admission into VST! We run online immigration workshops for outside Canada study permit applicants. If you are applying for your study permit from outside Canada, this workshop is for you. Details and registration for 2024 immigration workshop will be released soon.

Apply for Your Study Permit:

You can access resources on the UBC website, as well as consult the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) website for more information and to help answer your questions at:

Documents to Bring to Prepare For Your Arrival:

Click here to see what you need to bring.

Look For Short-Term and Long-Term Accommodation:

VST does not operate our own residence. You should arrange your own off-campus housing.

As an international student, it is challenging to find a place to rent in Vancouver. Please refer to to help you start your search equipped with the knowledge to find a great place to live, avoid scams, know your rights, and more.

Book Your Flight and Make Travel Plans:

If you plan to fly, review some of the helpful pages on the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) website:
Arriving at YVR, Navigate YVR, Transportation and Airlines and Destinations

Keep Us Updated Once You’ve Booked Your Flight and Are Ready to Start with Us!

Getting Your BC Identification:

When you arrive in Canada, there are steps you need to take before you start your studies:

As an international student, you need to apply for a Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as possible. You can find information on checking your UBC MSP Identification/how to apply for MSP here. There is a 3-month waiting period before MSP coverage begins. Please check “When I am covered.

For registering for BC Fair PharmaCare, please see more information at

Health Insurance

All international students are required to have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies at VST:

You will need 2 kinds of health insurance:

  • Basic insurance, which covers most medically required services.
    • Private Health Insurance by David Cummings Insurance Group for your first 3 months in Canada.
    • Medical Services Plan (MSP) from your 4th month in BC until the expiry of your study permit.
  • Extended health insurance, to cover some fees and services which are not covered by basic insurance.
    • AMS/GSS Extended Health and Dental Plan for the duration of your studies at VST.

Accompanying family members are also strongly recommended to have basic and extended health insurance.

Doctor’s Appointments in BC:

There are two types of services available for students who get sick in British Columbia: visiting a doctor or visiting the hospital.

  1. Visiting a Doctor
    • For minor illnesses or injuries, you should visit a “walk-in clinic”. You do not need to make an appointment. Walk-in clinic hours can vary; make sure to check operation hours before you visit a clinic.

More information on visiting a doctor:

  • Go to Medimap for wait times at nearby clinics. Click here for a list of convenient medical, dental, and optometry clinics.
  • Always take your BC Services Card with you when you go to a doctor or clinic.

2. Visiting the Hospital

  • You should only go to the hospital if it is an emergency, or you need care urgently when walk-in clinics are closed and you cannot wait until they re-open.

More information about visiting a hospital:

  • Always take your BC Services Card with you when you go to a doctor or clinic; If you are covered under AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan, you will need to submit a claim.
  • If you do not have MSP, the hospital will charge you a non-resident fee. If you have MSP, show your B.C. Services Card when you register so charges can be billed directly to MSP.

Banking in Canada

Click here: to get started with banking in Canada.

What Kinds of Frauds Should Newcomers to Canada Watch Out For?

Click here to read about some common scams aimed at newcomers to Canada. Read them so you know what to do if you are targeted.


BC Settlement and Integration Services (BCSIS) is an initiative that helps a number of people including post-secondary international students. They offer workshops in a variety of areas. BCSIS is part of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and is funded by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. VST students can take advantage of the many services BCSIS offers.