Information for International Students
Welcome to Canada
For information about documentation please download this introductory Welcome-to-Canada
For information about banking in Canada please download this document Welcome-To-Canada_Banking
Accommodation in Vancouver
There are many choices of accommodation available in Vancouver. While it might be true that renting a place is challenging in Vancouver, knowing where to get the right information would help you in finding your ideal place to live in while you complete your studies!
At first, you might be confused and overwhelmed by all the different street names and areas, especially if this is your first visit to Vancouver. A good option is to book temporary accommodation in hostels, hotel,
or even a room-share through Airbnb.com. Finding temporary accommodations in Vancouver will also give you time to explore the city and help you to make better decisions on finding your long-term place to rent in Vancouver. If you arrive early in August, daily and weekly rentals are available at St Andrew’s Hall right across the parking lot from Vancouver School of Theology. St Andrew’s also has long term student accommodation.
The cost of rentals in Vancouver varies depends on the type of accommodation, and also the location.
These locations are relatively easy for commuting and are connected by skytrains, with buses to and from Metro Vancouver.
Downtown Vancouver: The most expensive area is Metro Vancouver. Located in the middle of the urban business district, hotels, apartments / condominiums, offices, etc.
South Vancouver / Marpole: Also expensive, located on the peninsula directly south of the city centre. This is where UBC/VST located.
East Vancouver: Least expensive in Metro Vancouver.
West Vancouver / North Shore: Can be less expensive than Metro Vancouver but you need to take SeaBus/Ferry to go to Metro Vancouver, or by bus to Metro Vancouver.
Burnaby & New Westminster: More affordable than Metro Vancouver but requires a lengthy commute by bus.
Surrey & Delta & Langley: Around 1.5 hours to 2 hours journey to Metro Vancouver by train and buses.
Richmond: Well connected by Canada Line skytrain, as well as buses which transports you to major parts of Metro Vancouver and UBC.
Share a bedroom with your friend/someone else in a shared house. This is the cheapest alternative that might be suitable for single student. Normally a room in shared house costs around $450 – 700 CAD/month depending on location. If you share your bedroom with your friend, then you will only pay half of that price.
Single Bedroom in Shared House/Shared Apartment
Many Vancouver homeowners want to rent their spare bedroom in his/her house for extra income. Normally, a room would cost you around $450-700 CAD/month depending on location. Since it is a shared house/apartment, it means you will share the kitchen, living room, and bathroom with other people living in the house.
Bachelor/Studio suite is a small room that combines bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen into a single room. There is no separation between your kitchen and bedroom. It usually costs about $700-1000 CAD/month depending on location.
Many Vancouver homes have basements that have been transformed into a suite. Usually, there are 2 rooms in the basement suite, which then can be shared with other people. Since the suite is located in the basement, normally it does not get much natural lighting as it only has small windows. A 1-bedroom basement suite normally costs around $900-1200 CAD/month depending on location. A 2-bedroom basement suite normally costs around $1200 – 1600 CAD/month depending on locations.
There are many high-rise apartments located in downtown area of Vancouver. They are typically more expensive than any other types of accommodation as it provides you with many facilities such as gym, swimming pool, etc. Apartments normally costs around $1600-7000 CAD/month depending on location.
Where to best find room-rent listings?
amsrentsline.com – This is the official UBC on/off-site housing site for students, faculty and staff and the general public. Please note that this site does not include UBC student residence housing, which is generally not open to non-UBC students.
Facebook Groups, such as “For Rent Vancouver” has 31,431 members (June 2017) or “Rent a Home-Vancouver” which has 4,764 members. There are lots of home-owners who list their places to rent on these Facebook pages. These listings generally include pictures of the rental units posted by the owners, and you can directly chat with the owners through Facebook Messenger.
Working in Vancouver
As a student of VST, you are permitted by the Canadian government to work for 20 hours/week during the school terms and full time (40 hours/week) in school’s holiday period. As a student, you are also able to bring your spouse (and children) to be with you in Canada. Not only that, your spouse can work here in Canada full-time as he/she will be eligible for an Open-Work Permit.
As per June 2017, the minimum wage in Vancouver is $10.85/hour CAD.There are many part-time jobs available for international students with or without any work experience.
Here are some of the most useful and widely recognised websites for job search in Vancouver:
Alternatively, you could also join Facebook group dedicated to connecting employers and employees at “JOBS VANCOUVER BC” which has 25,385 members (as per June 2017). Usually, someone will post a ‘hiring information’ message which directly connects you to the manager/HR through Facebook messenger.
Working part-time in Vancouver is not as difficult as many people think, because there are many companies which are always hiring, such as grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, non-profit organizations, and many others! You will be able to get a job here in Vancouver!
If you have any professional expertise, you can apply and possibly get a job here in Vancouver that relates to your profession. However, your skills must first be recognised and certified by the Government of Canada.
Urban Fare, Save on Foods, Walmart, and many others are always hiring new international students to work for them. It’s possible to earn up to $800 CAD/month per person (after tax-deduction) by working 20 hours/week at minimum wage, and some employers will pay more than minimum wage. In holiday season, you should be able to work full-time.
More useful websites:
If you work 40 hours a week, you can generate approximately $1600 CAD/month per person
Another excellent resource of information for International Students can be found on the University of British Columbia’s page at:
Back in my home country, I was worried I would not be able to secure a job here in Vancouver. However, within 10 days of arriving here in Vancouver, I was contacted by Salvation Army Thrift Store and directly hired by them! Currently, I am working at Urban Fare, which is ALWAYS hiring new workers including international students. (Sam)