Welcome to Canada
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The list of acceptable documentation and level of assets required is available from Immigration and Citizenship Canada.
Information about the Cost of Living in Vancouver can be found at www.numbeo.com.
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!
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.
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.
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
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 $450 – 700 CAD/month depending on the location.
Single Bedroom in Shared House/Shared Apartment
Many Vancouver homeowners want to rent a spare bedroom in their house for extra income. Average cost is approx. $750 CAD/month depending on location. Living spaces – kitchen, living room, and bathroom – are shared with other people living in the home.
Bachelor/Studio suite is a small apartment that combines bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen into a single living space. Rental cost range from $1200 – $1800 CAD/month depending on the location.
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. $1200 – $1500 CAD/month. A two-bedroom basement suite costs approx. $1600 – $2200 CAD/month.
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.
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.
The current minimum wage in Vancouver is $13.85/hour CAD. 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.
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:
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the following people:
Julie Lees, Recruitment Coordinator
Margaret Trim, Coordinator of Admissions