Vancouver is the third-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of British Columbia. Its beautiful location close to the ocean and mountains attracts residents and visitors from all over the world.
Below are some resources to help with transitioning to life in British Columbia and Vancouver:
The guide contains information and videos in a variety of languages. Topics covered include The First Few Days, Transportation, Finding a Place to Live, Money and Banking, Health Care and more.
The city of Vancouver puts together a guide with downloadable resources and Areas of the City sections. Use the navigation map on the Areas page to link to community-specific information including services, news & events.
All BC residents, including international students, are required to have medical coverage through the publically funded BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). There is a three months waiting period for all new residents to BC. During this waiting period, you will be required to have private medical insurance. (Please see "Private Coverage" below.)
The MSP plan covers basic medical services. Please visit Medical Services Plan of B.C. for more details.
During your first three months, you will be required to have private medical insurance to cover hospital and medical services, in case you have a medical emergency while you are waiting to be enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan. VCC International Education can assist you in purchasing this temporary private insurance. While it is possible to purchase after arrival, it is strongly recommended that you purchase your 3-month medical insurance prior to travelling to Canada so that you can be covered upon arrival. Please contact VCC to order the insurance.
Private medical insurance covers emergency medical care (ambulance, hospital, doctor, prescription medicine, etc.) for an unexpected sickness or injury, as well emergency dental services. For more information on coverage please visit: Health Insurance for International Students.
Full-time students in applicable programs are automatically enrolled in the Student Union at VCC’s (SUVCC) Health and Dental Plan. Coverage includes a percentage of dental services, extended health services such as massage, physiotherapy and acupuncture, and also prescription medicines and eyeglasses (vision care). The fee is automatically charged to VCC students’ first fee payment. Visit the SUVCC website for more information.
Note: The SUVCC health and Dental Plan does not cover BC Medical Service Plan premiums.
We encourage international students to experience life with a Canadian family until they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Homestay is a safe and secure choice, providing students with the opportunity to practice English outside the classroom and learn about the Canadian way of life. Liane's Vancouver Homestay places VCC international students with homestay families that provide the following:
Private bedroom with a bed, bedding, dresser, desk, chair, desk lamp, closet
Shared common areas of the house including bathroom, kitchen, and TV room
Use of telephone and laundry facilities
Three meals per day (be sure to check with your Homestay family for exact meal times)
Homestay Fees: January to July 2022
Placement Fee: $380 + GST
Homestay Fee (for 8+ weeks): $924 per 28 days ($1064 effective August 2022)
Airport Pickup Fee: $76 + GST ($100 effective August 2022)
Homestay Fees: August 2022 to July 2023
Placement Fee: $380 + GST
Homestay Fee (for 8+ weeks): $1,064 per 28 days
Airport Pickup Fee: $100 + GST
The above fees are subject to annual changes.
There are many accommodation options for students in Metro Vancouver. Examples include homestays, furnished and unfurnished rentals in houses, basement suites, condominiums and apartments.
Resources for locating available housing can be found online through Google search:
Other resources include newspapers and local communities: