Urban discovery meets outdoor adventure in this naturally spectacular metropolis
Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics and ranked one of the world’s “most livable cities,” Vancouver is a place like no other. The city’s amazing landscape invites exploration and offers outdoor adventures for every interest, from skiing and snowboarding, to kayaking and beach volleyball, to biking and hiking, or even just relaxing with friends on the local beaches. You can also experience Vancouver’s urban culture at the city’s many museums, art galleries, nightclubs, restaurants, coffee shops, festivals and more.
555 Richards, Vancouver, BC
V6B 2Z5 Canada
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If you are coming in from an international or domestic flight, you will be landing at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which is around 30 minutes from the school by train. The Canada Line train service departs regularly from the international terminal.
If you request airport pickup, your homestay family or an ILSC staff will meet you at the airport and bring you to your accommodation.
It is mandatory in Canada for you to provide proof of medical insurance when you arrive. ILSC can organize your medical insurance through Guard Me International Insurance. Visit www.guard.me for more information.
Health and Safety
Vancouver is generally a very safe place to live and study, but it is important to look after yourself and always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to look after your belongings, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you. Always use your common sense, whether at school, home or outdoors.
Tipping and Taxes
In Canada tipping is generally expected in restaurants, bars, hotels and other service industries such as hairdressers and taxis. It is customary to tip approximately 15% on the total bill in restaurants. Keep in mind that many restaurants and bars will automatically charge 15% or more for larger groups, so make sure you check the bill before calculating your tip. Taxes are not included in the advertised price of goods. Most products and services in British Columbia are subject to a 5% Goods and Service Tax (GST) and 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) which will be charged when you pay.
Most car rental companies in British Columbia require drivers to be 21 years of age, however many companies will charge additional fees for drivers below the age of 25.
Typical Living Costs
While in Vancouver you should make sure you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses while you're studying. In addition to tuition fees, airfares and medical insurance, living costs may include, but are not limited to: rent, food, groceries, transport, utilities, entertainment and clothing.
- Average cost of a meal: $6 to $15
- Average cost of a drink: $3 to $5
- Average cost of groceries: $30 to $90 per week
- Cover charge at a club: $5 to $15
- Public transportation: $10 to $50 per week
- Phone and Internet: $20 to $50 per week
- Accommodation costs: $150 to $400 per week
This is a guide ONLY. Prices are subject to change. All prices are in CAD.
The climate in Vancouver is a lot milder than most other parts of Canada, which means you can enjoy outdoor activities most of the year! The wettest months are November to February, and these are typically also the coolest months, with an average temperature of 6°C. The warmest months are July to September where the average summer temperature is around 20°C, but sometimes it gets hotter than that.
Vancouver’s public transport system has a great network of train, bus and ferry services operating throughout the downtown and metropolitan areas. For more information on the services available, timetables, ticket costs and more visit: www.translink.ca
Legal Drinking Age
The legal age to buy and drink alcohol in British Columbia, Canada is 19 years.
Connect with friends at ILSC and explore Vancouver with daily after-school activities. Activities vary depending on the season and can include things like cycling, rollerblading, kayaking, skiing, skating, movie nights, beach barbecues and more! Afternoon activities typically have minimal fees and an ILSC teacher or activities coordinator will be your guide.
Travelling to the USA
Some weekend trips include travel to the USA for shopping or other activities. If you plan to enter the USA while you are studying in Canada, you need a separate USA Visa. For most students this must be organized before you come to Canada. Students from Western European Countries & Japan do not have to arrange for a USA Visa in advance, as you can get one from USA Immigration at the border. Also, all passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months and be machine readable.
Get out of town with ILSC! Explore Western Canada's incredible wilderness and amazing urban sites. Enjoy adventures like camping, horseback riding, whitewater rafting or even sky diving. Take the highway south to Seattle for sightseeing and shopping, visit the spectacular Rocky Mountains, or explore Tofino's rainforests and beautiful beaches.
Make a Difference in the World
One of the best ways to live like a local and to connect with Vancouverites is to volunteer for a cause you care about in the local community. The Activities Department can connect you to fun and interesting volunteer opportunities that will provide you with experience and references to add to your resumé, and it’s a great way to make new friends. Not to mention, volunteering is also a great way to “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Check out our Activities Calendars to see What's Happening!
Live with a Family
Are you looking for a home away from home? Be welcomed into one of ILSC’s Homestay families, and experience a supportive living environment. It’s an excellent opportunity to practice your English conversation skills and experience Canadian culture and family life.
ILSC’s Vancouver Homestays:
- Are located between 40-60 minutes travelling distance from the school
- Provide you with a clean, comfortable, private room, equipped with a desk, bed, dresser, closet and good lighting
- Are culturally diverse and reflect Vancouver’s multicultural population
- Are safe, secure, inspected and approved by our Student Accommodation Department
- Can provide healthy meals for students choosing Full-board or Half-board homestay options, or a kitchen for preparing your own meals for Roomstay students.
Are you feeling adventurous? Do you want to experience Vancouver on your own, or with other students or travelers? ILSC can connect you with a wide selection of accommodation options that meet a range of budgets and tastes, including:
- Furnished apartments
- And more!
Check out our accommodations partners in Vancouver: