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Studying in Vancouver

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By Perrin Grauer | filed in Students

Posted on August 02, 2020 | Updated October 07, 2020, 2:24PM

We’ve highlighted some aspects of living in the city to help you feel like a local in no time.

Food

One of the most popular things to do here is go out for food! Vancouver has a large variety of restaurants that serve everything from sushi to vegan to Lebanese.

Liora Agronov is a recent Emily Carr alum who moved here from Israel a year before starting classes. She also happens to be a big foodie. Her recommendation to students new to Vancouver is to “be adventurous and try things you haven't had the chance to before!”

When the sun is out, Vancouverites flock to restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating. Check out this list of the city’s best outdoor patios. Another food-related word you will likely hear a lot in Vancouver: brunch. For a list of a few places to get a delicious late breakfast, see Scout Magazine’s guide.

Our guide to Mount Pleasant also includes some tasty recommendations near campus.


Culture

“The thing that surprised me the most about Canada is the people and the calm culture,” says Liora, “I came from a hot country where I was used to having to rush everywhere...here in Vancouver, the people are more laid back and I am slowly losing that sense of urgency to do things quickly.”

If you’re concerned about feeling out of place, don’t worry, you’re not alone. When she first arrived, Liora was surprised by just how many people in Vancouver aren’t originally from here.

“But that’s what makes the city unique and colourful,” she says, and we couldn’t agree more. No matter your background, interests, or identity, there’s a place for you here.

When it comes to making friends, be patient. Liora says that people in Vancouver are welcoming and warm, but it can feel slow to get close.

“However, when you do, you get really good friends that will be understanding and accepting.”

Since such a large portion of ECU students are also international, our advice is to not be afraid to reach out to a classmate! Chances are, they’ll be happy you did.

Check out our Insights + Approaches from ECU Teachers and Students and Resources for Multilingual Students.


Living and Renting

We’ll cut to the chase—living in Vancouver can be expensive, and it isn’t always easy to find a place. Rent will typically cost around $800–$1,200 per month. For help on creating a budget, see our Undergraduate Expenses Overview.

Emily Carr has a dedicated Housing Assistant for part of the year who can help you find a place to live, as well as a Housing Resource website which can help you find homestays, navigate your renter rights, and even pair you up with a prospective roommate.

Other websites that can help you in your search include Craigslist, Kijiji, Apartment Love, PadMapper, Renthello, Rentseeker, and Rentsline. We also recommend checking out our Facebook Group to help find other students who are looking for roommates (you just need an Emily Carr email address to join).

Be wary of scams. Use caution in your search and always view a place in person before renting. A scam can often be spotted when it seems “too good to be true”: a fantastic place for a suspiciously low price. It may also be a scam if the landlord asks for personal information like your SIN number, credit card information, or bank account. These are not necessary to rent an apartment in Vancouver! If you are unsure, you can read the Residential Tenancy Act, or call one of their representatives.

For a full guide to Vancouver’s neighbourhoods click here, or take a look at this guide made by Emily Carr students for other students.


Weather

You’ve likely heard by now that it rains a lot in Vancouver. A raincoat, umbrella, and good waterproof boots will be your best friends!

If you begin classes here in the Fall, you will be welcomed with yellow, orange, and red leaves on the trees. The cooler air and rain usually don’t begin until October, so enjoy the mild weather and sunshine until then.

Winter tends to be more rainy than snowy, but we do get snow now and then, especially on the mountains. If you like skiing or snowboarding, or always wanted to try, now is your chance!

Spring is a whimsical season here when many of our streets become decorated with white and pink cherry blossoms. Along Great Northern Way by Emily Carr campus, you’ll see wildflowers sprouting up later in the season.

Summer is a wonderful payoff to our rainy season! From May to September, most days are filled with warm sun. It’s the perfect time to explore Vancouver’s many beaches or cycle around the famous seawall.


Transportation

All Emily Carr students receive a U-Pass which gives you full access to all public transit in the city. Plenty of bus routes and the SkyTrain make it easy to get around without a car.

Another popular way to get from A to B is by car share. You can access Evo, Car2Go, and Modo all from your phone; they’re all great options for convenient travel.


Outdoor Activities

For an easy escape into nature, we recommend spending time in one of our many local parks. One of the most impressive green spaces here is Queen Elizabeth Park with beautiful gardens, including an indoor tropical conservatory. For something more active, try walking through Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Across the bridge on the North Shore of Vancouver you can find longer and more challenging hikes, plus some incredible views. Here’s a list of North Shore hikes. Liora recommends avoiding touristy and expensive places, and instead choosing “the free forests, waterfalls, lakes, and more that are going to be more natural, less busy, and at least as beautiful.”

If you’re not a regular hiker, please make sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of hiking safety.

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Written by Madeline Barber