Alex in Vancouver

Table of Contents

Overall Thoughts & Feelings

Do you love stunning sceneries? Are outdoor sports your thing? And do you want to experience the perfect combination of beaches, mountains, and a vivid city? Then Vancouver is the place to go! Since the workload at uni is very similar to Vienna, I had lots of time to experience nature, discover new sports, do amazing trips, join fun events, and enjoy the food scene. While the expenses can sometimes be frustrating, I can nevertheless say that I had the best time of my life and every loonie was worth it! (Tip: Come here in early August to enjoy the weather!


Vancouver is expensive. The inflation made living costs and expenses be at an all-time high. Compared to Vienna, I spent roughly 200% more per month. 

  • Total average monthly expenses: 3.050€
  • Rent: ~810€ (C$1100/ month (all incl.))
  • Food: 210€. Groceries are generally expensive. On average 50-100% more expensive than in Vienna.
  • Eating out: 350€ (Ramen: 18€, large beer in pub: 7€, cappuccino: 5.25€)
  • Parties: drinks: 10€, cover: 15€, coat check: 4€
  • Public transport: 150€ in total (Sep-Dec, via UBC)
  • Trips: 5 day Vancouver Island: 650€, 5 days Hawaii: 1.400€, 10 days Rocky Mountains: 1.000€, 4 days Seattle: 600€, 1 week Toronto/Montreal: 800€


I was lucky to find a private mansion directly in front of UBC campus. I shared the house with 6 other people. Therefore, going to classes took me 8 minutes, going downtown 40 min. UBC campus and the area surrounding it is beautiful and calm: huge parks and amazing beaches, but also beautiful campus amenities. I am happy with my choice to stay close to UBC since it saved me at least 1000€ in rent compared to downtown shared flats, the area is beautiful, I could do lots of sports, did not have to commute to uni, and did not experience the city buzz daily

Even though some people say you should start looking for accommodations early, in my experience, most ads were posted very shortly before the respective move-in dates. 


UBC’s campus presents itself in a very “typical” Northern America manner: lots of libraries, many restaurants, plenty of restaurants, an abundance of events (parties, fairs, shows, sports, talks & speeches, club events, …). Basically, if you live on campus, you do not need to go anywhere else. This makes it very different and exciting for an European student. 

As marketing students, we attend the classes of UBC Sauder School of Business’ MBA program. Therefore, the classes are very hands-on and discussion-based, the average age is somewhere around 30, and there is a wide range of subjects. I decided to choose (five) classes with low to medium workloads, but there are definitely classes that you would need to spend your nights on. Receiving Austrian 1’s and 2’s (70-79% and 80+% respectively) is not hard. As in Vienna, I needed to write assignments, do group works and presentations, do simulations, and write one exam. I took “Integrated Marketing Communication”, “Two-Party Negotiations”, “Growing and Exiting a Venture”, “PR”, and “AI Commercialization”.


You will never feel bored in Vancouver – that’s for sure! Student clubs, numerous venues, and the city itself organize so many events, you would never be able to even attend 10% of them. This website is quite good to check out what is going on in the city. 

Drum circles on Tuesdays at Second Beach (crazy experience– you need to go!), theater and ballet (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nutcracker), professional football (Whitecaps) and ice hockey games (Canucks) as well as university games (Thunderbirds), disco rollerblading, Fright Nights at an amusement park, and the christmas market are only some examples of things I did. 

I did some research and asked friends before I went to Vancouver what I would like to do in order to also decide when would be the best time to fly to Vancouver and when to do what. But in general, I just organized a lot by myself or with friends. 

Moreover, I was also very lucky with my roomies and the people I met here, so they took me to many cool events and places, too (e.g. camping in Squamish, underground and beach parties, downhill biking in North Van, cliff-jumping at Lions Bay, and Red Bull-sponsored Crankworx in Whistler). I refrained from events exchange students organized as much as possible since I wanted to spend more time with locals and have a more “natural” experience. 

Places to Visit

As mentioned before, Vancouver has lots of things to offer! During my exchange, I prioritized cultural experiences, hikes / trips in nature, and lots of sports!

  • Active life: Maaaaany places to go hiking, swimming, canoeing, cliff-jumping, kite surfing, sailing, and much more!
  • Nature: Whistler, Squamish, Joffre Lakes, Garibaldi Lake, Vancouver Island (must see!), Rocky Mountains, beaches
  • Trips: As mentioned above, I went to Vancouver Island, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains, Seattle, Toronto, and Montreal.

Country & City Vibes

  • Lifestyle: Vancouverites love sports (you see fit people and Lululemon leggings everywhere), but also good (Asian) food, amazing shows, and ice hockey.
  • People & friendliness of locals: Canadians are very polite. Compared to other Canadian cities, Vancouver is nevertheless regarded as “cold”, which can be true since it is very hard to make real Canadian friends. Apart from that, Vancouver is very politically correct and puts a lot of effort into the relationship to Indigenous people.  
  • Infrastructure: Let’s not talk about it…they have a metro, but it basically only goes to major places surrounding Vancouver. You will definitely sit in busses a lot, but hey!, these have bike racks
  • Activities: Everything you could wish for (especially if you have a good budget and love being outdoors)
  • Safety level: Very safe, but as in every bigger city on earth, you will find shady places and people. People living in tents is unfortunately also not uncommon in some areas.


You do not need a Visa if you stay less than 180 days. eTA costs C$7 and takes approximately 15 minutes to apply for and 1 day to get it. The same applies for the US ESTA.

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