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Hi!

I recently got accepted to the UBC data science program for the fall semester. I wanted to know a few things about areas in and around UBC such as -  Food? Housing expenses? Are there any groups I can get in touch with to find Indian roommates? Which is the best place to stay?

Cheers!

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On 05/10/2017 at 11:08 AM, Abishek_Murali said:

Hi!

I recently got accepted to the UBC data science program for the fall semester. I wanted to know a few things about areas in and around UBC such as -  Food? Housing expenses? Are there any groups I can get in touch with to find Indian roommates? Which is the best place to stay?

Cheers!

Have you looked at the university's cost of living calculator? It's reasonably accurate, based on my own living
expenses.

Try Facebook groups for finding roommates. There's also the AMS Rentsline but I really don't know if that's well-used anymore. Check Craigslist often, but be wary of scams, and if something seems too good to be true or if something doesn't sit well with you, be prepared to walk away.

Regarding food, Vancouver has lots of great restaurants, but I wouldn't classify most of them as being very cheap (that is, everything seemed so much more reasonable when I was in undergrad). For groceries, No Frills is the cheapest by far, and there's one near campus, but that location on 4th often has supply issues and isn't tremendously reliable. Persia Foods and Young Brothers, both on Broadway west of Macdonald street, have fantastic deals on produce year-round. I always just check out flipp and buy food on sale.

Best place to stay depends on what you want to do. The closer to campus or the beach, the more you should expect to pay. I live 10 minutes away from campus but probably would struggle to pay rent if I were charged the market rate. Kitsilano is often dead but has a few okay bars and things to do, especially if you like living by the water. Lots of activity downtown. Commercial and Main are both fun, but a bit of a commute. Burnaby is a nice suburb but 1+ hours on the bus.

Edited by isbutteracarb
typos

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Hi!

Am I exhuming a dead post? I have been accepted to UBC for a PhD and I really like the professor and the research group, but I don't know a lot about the university (I just know that the campus is awesome) and about the city. Just some introduction before asking questions: I am Italian, I love to cook and I don't usually eat out for breakfast lunch dinner like many americans do (I have lived in the bay area for 6 months and that's what I saw, I don't know if Canadians are similar, don't blame me :) ). I have studied in Italy where the organisation of the school year is in semesters with exams that last all summer with no real school ending and I really don't know what mid-terms, spring breaks, fall term things are.

I am questioning myself about the food, do you find good supermarkets where you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits and not only pre packaged or already cooked stuff?
I have always biked to school since I was 10; will I be able to bike also in Vancouver to go to campus and to go around the city?
Sports related: is there a recreational center in the university?
Are there climbing gyms? Still related to climbing, which are good outdoor spots for climbing?
I know that British Columbia is awesome for winter sports, what are the closest skiing spots and generally how expensive it is to get there and to ski there? Is the car needed or public transports are good enough?

The more you can tell me the more I will appreciate it, thanks :):) 

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4 hours ago, jeeenee said:

Hi!

Am I exhuming a dead post? I have been accepted to UBC for a PhD and I really like the professor and the research group, but I don't know a lot about the university (I just know that the campus is awesome) and about the city. Just some introduction before asking questions: I am Italian, I love to cook and I don't usually eat out for breakfast lunch dinner like many americans do (I have lived in the bay area for 6 months and that's what I saw, I don't know if Canadians are similar, don't blame me :) ). I have studied in Italy where the organisation of the school year is in semesters with exams that last all summer with no real school ending and I really don't know what mid-terms, spring breaks, fall term things are.

I am questioning myself about the food, do you find good supermarkets where you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits and not only pre packaged or already cooked stuff?
I have always biked to school since I was 10; will I be able to bike also in Vancouver to go to campus and to go around the city?
Sports related: is there a recreational center in the university?
Are there climbing gyms? Still related to climbing, which are good outdoor spots for climbing?
I know that British Columbia is awesome for winter sports, what are the closest skiing spots and generally how expensive it is to get there and to ski there? Is the car needed or public transports are good enough?

The more you can tell me the more I will appreciate it, thanks :):) 

Hi! 

Food: yes, of course there are lots of these!

Biking: yes, biking is very popular. however, it may be difficult to bike from the city to UBC depending on what direction you're heading from and how comfortable you are biking on busy roadways

Sports: Yes, there are actually several. The grad student society organizes intramurals. Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010 and the ice hockey arena for the olympics is on campus

Climbing: Very popular in Vancouver. I am not sure if there are any on campus, but there are many in Vancouver

Skiing: Expensive so I never did it as an undergrad. Car is the best way to get up the mountain but you can probably find people to carpool with

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Hi all,

I hope to revive this topic a bit and hear from somebody that is familiar with Vancouver. I have been accepted to SFU with a stipend of 21.000 CAD a year. Now, most of the people claim that is totally fine and one person can live on that. But I am starting to have serious doubts about this. The housing situation in Vancouver seems at least as bad as in Amsterdam and even tiny basement units are quite expensive. Canadian dollar is also weaker than US dollar, yet every US university that I applied to offers more in much smaller and cheaper cities. 

Unfortunately, I will not be able to live in studio or student housing as I would be coming with my partner and a dog. I wouldn't mind commuting to school from outside of Vancouver, but it also seems that owning a car in BC is a luxury (very high insurance rates). Is there anybody that could please please let me know what they think? Should I just admit this will not be the right option due to my personal situation? 

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3 hours ago, zuska said:

Is there anybody that could please please let me know what they think? Should I just admit this will not be the right option due to my personal situation? 

Vancouver is expensive, but people do make it work on limited budgets. Which campus of SFU will you be at? You might not need a car; there are public transit options. You can also bike! 

It is true that often Canadian universities do not have strong or competitive funding for international students and if you have better offers in the US you may want to consider them. However, will your partner be working? This could supplement your income and help pay for rent. I am not an expert, but it may be easier for your partner to find work in Canada than in the US.

I recommend asking other students in the program you are in what they do for housing options. If you mention your needs upfront they can give you some advice. 

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1 hour ago, high_hopes said:

Vancouver is expensive, but people do make it work on limited budgets. Which campus of SFU will you be at? You might not need a car; there are public transit options. You can also bike! 

It is true that often Canadian universities do not have strong or competitive funding for international students and if you have better offers in the US you may want to consider them. However, will your partner be working? This could supplement your income and help pay for rent. I am not an expert, but it may be easier for your partner to find work in Canada than in the US.

I recommend asking other students in the program you are in what they do for housing options. If you mention your needs upfront they can give you some advice. 

Hi, thank you for your response! :) I would be at the Burnaby campus. I heard that students typically do not use cars because the public transport is great, but not having a car when you own a 50kg dog is not really an option :( . Honestly I also can not imagine life without a car (even if I would traveled to SFU by bus), we had car even in The Netherlands which is a tiny country with well working public transport. 

I have purposely called my boyfriend a "partner" - while he is still just a boyfriend we have already lived together for over 4 years and will likely just sign the paper to make things official before moving back to North America (perhaps this sounds a bit pragmatic but we are not big on weddings and that kind of stuff) . You are correct that it would be easier for him to work in Canada, but at least one university in USA offers a J-1 visa for me, which means eventually he should also be able to work in USA. The 21000 CAD that SFU offers is approximately 16.000$. The US university that I like offers me 27.000$, that just seems like an insanely large difference, doesn't it? 

I feel a bit guilty to become the kind of person that chooses based on money/comfort but at the same time I believe I have to also consider these things....

 

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10 hours ago, zuska said:

I feel a bit guilty to become the kind of person that chooses based on money/comfort but at the same time I believe I have to also consider these things....

I think money and comfort are very important aspects. I would just investigate what your partner's job prospects are in both locations and the ease of getting a work permit. And then also consider the overall strength of the programs compared. It is not an easy decision! Good luck! 

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My partner and I are moving to Vancouver in late August to start our graduate studies. I am going to attend UBC and he is going to attend SFU. We want to rent a place together, which neighborhoods are more suitable for us? I was thinking of Commercial Drive but our budget is maximum 1500 CAD per month.

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On 5/2/2019 at 2:24 AM, nz1996 said:

My partner and I are moving to Vancouver in late August to start our graduate studies. I am going to attend UBC and he is going to attend SFU. We want to rent a place together, which neighborhoods are more suitable for us? I was thinking of Commercial Drive but our budget is maximum 1500 CAD per month.

If you can swing it, Commercial is a good option since your partner can take the Skytrain and you can just hop on the 99 or 84. Be aware that the 99 is incredibly congested. If you travel during the morning rush hour, you will more than likely be passed up by several buses before you can get on.

Main St wouldn't be a bad compromise, because you can just grab one of the buses to UBC while your partner heads downtown and catches the bus up to SFU. I'm not sure how congested the SFU bus gets but my feeling is that it can't be worse than the congestion to UBC, so it might be a wash. Rents are likely higher in this area since, like Commercial, it has a lot of great bars and restaurants, and even some breweries.

You can always move to Burnaby where rents will be cheaper. It will be a longer commute for you but be potentially easier for him, depending on where you find a place. You can probably just get on a bus and nap until you reach campus, since the bus shouldn't be too congested where you get on.

New West is a nice area, cheaper rents, and will be closer for your partner. 35-ish minute commute for him but 1.25 hour commute for you; however, you'll only have one transfer, and you will be on the Skytrain half the time, and the other half will be on a bus heading straight to campus. This isn't bad if you only have to be on campus once or twice a week.

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On 5/20/2019 at 4:52 AM, isbutteracarb said:

If you can swing it, Commercial is a good option since your partner can take the Skytrain and you can just hop on the 99 or 84. Be aware that the 99 is incredibly congested. If you travel during the morning rush hour, you will more than likely be passed up by several buses before you can get on.

Main St wouldn't be a bad compromise, because you can just grab one of the buses to UBC while your partner heads downtown and catches the bus up to SFU. I'm not sure how congested the SFU bus gets but my feeling is that it can't be worse than the congestion to UBC, so it might be a wash. Rents are likely higher in this area since, like Commercial, it has a lot of great bars and restaurants, and even some breweries.

You can always move to Burnaby where rents will be cheaper. It will be a longer commute for you but be potentially easier for him, depending on where you find a place. You can probably just get on a bus and nap until you reach campus, since the bus shouldn't be too congested where you get on.

New West is a nice area, cheaper rents, and will be closer for your partner. 35-ish minute commute for him but 1.25 hour commute for you; however, you'll only have one transfer, and you will be on the Skytrain half the time, and the other half will be on a bus heading straight to campus. This isn't bad if you only have to be on campus once or twice a week.

Thank you so much for all the information! What if I ride the 99 bus on the first stop which is close to Commercial-Broadway station? This is where 99 bus seems to start its path according to Google Map and I thought I may even be able to get a seat on the bus if I can ride from the first stop?

Also, looking at the map, Hasting-Sunrise seems a good option for us too but I have heard that East Hastings is unsafe and full of homeless people. Meantime, East Hastings is a long street, is it really unsafe through all the East Hastings st? or just the part that is close to Downtown is the unsafe part?

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On 5/22/2019 at 1:02 AM, nz1996 said:

Thank you so much for all the information! What if I ride the 99 bus on the first stop which is close to Commercial-Broadway station? This is where 99 bus seems to start its path according to Google Map and I thought I may even be able to get a seat on the bus if I can ride from the first stop?

Also, looking at the map, Hasting-Sunrise seems a good option for us too but I have heard that East Hastings is unsafe and full of homeless people. Meantime, East Hastings is a long street, is it really unsafe through all the East Hastings st? or just the part that is close to Downtown is the unsafe part?

I think there are usually a lot of people waiting at that stop, so you could just wait until you can get on and get a seat.

Depends where on Hastings you are. If you're on the DTES (which is generally confined to this area) then you probably won't want to be kicking around there, though it's not really violent crime you're going to be worried about, but property crime. But East Hastings in Burnaby isn't too bad, from what I understand. There's really a whole lot of noise made about Hastings by pearl clutchers who make it sound as though the whole area is a mess.

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