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Discover Vancouver

Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the third largest city in Canada. The population, over 2.3 million people in the metro Vancouver region, is ethnically, racially and religiously diverse. Vancouver’s proximity to the ocean and to the mountains attracts residents and visitors from around the world.

Accommodation

Langara does not have student residences. Students who are not living with family or friends in Canada choose to live in homestay or off-campus.

Students in homestay live with a Canadian family while studying at Langara.

Students who live off-campus are generally renting an apartment, condo, basement suite or room in a shared house. Shared accommodations (roommates) will usually have lower costs as expenses are shared. Shared rental accommodation prices range from $500 to over $1,000 per month.

When renting, it’s important to know your rights as a tenant (renter). You will be asked to sign a rental agreement. Understand the terms of the agreement before you sign. Never send money to someone you haven’t met or for a unit you have not viewed. If you can’t view the unit, ask someone you trust to see the accommodation and meet the landlord before accepting a rental offer.

Things to look for when renting

  • Is it a lease (fixed term, usually 1 year) or a month-to-month agreement? If you are signing a lease, understand the penalty if you choose to move before the end of the term.
  • What is included with rent? Your rent may include Internet and/or cable television, heat, electricity, parking, laundry, or additional storage. If these are not included, you will need to plan for these additional expenses.
  • How much of a security deposit is required? This will be in addition to the first month’s rent.

Some references for off-campus accommodation

  • There is also a free online course renting right to help you find a rental unit.

Other things to consider

  • How close the accommodation is to public transportation?
  • Is the rental unit furnished, or will you need to purchase furniture?
  • How far you are from Langara and how long it will take to get to and from school?
  • What stores, restaurants, and recreational facilities are nearby?

Phones and Internet

To call an international number from Canada, dial:

011 + Country Code + Area Code + Local Number

International calling cards offer reduced rates and can be purchased from most convenience stores.

If you are living off-campus you may need to set up telephone service. Landline services are available (generally through Telus or Shaw) but most students choose the convenience of a cell phone.

Note: Residents in Vancouver use the following terms interchangeably: cell phone, cellular, mobile, and smart phone.

If you have an unlocked cell phone, it will work in Canada with a new SIM card from any service provider. Your international cell phone may also work in Canada, but understand your international fees before using your phone in Canada.

There are many cell phone providers with stores and information stands in the mall. Information is also available online. Ask about student plans as you may get a discount rate. Understand the terms of your contract including:

  • How much data is included
  • Fees for international calls
  • Limits on text messages or calls
  • Length of the contract or month-to-month terms
  • Financial penalties are for ending a contract early

Free wi-fi is available on campus with a Langara ID and all students will be issued a Langara email address.

If you are living off-campus you may choose to install high-speed Internet and/or cable (television) through a service provider for a monthly fee. These services can sometimes be bundled for a discount rate.

The two major service providers for home telephone, Internet, and cable services are Telus and Shaw – although there are many others that you may wish to consider.

Shopping

If you are new to Canada, get familiar with the currency right away so you can pay with the correct amount and receive the correct change.

Canadian paper bills are in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Many businesses will not accept $50 bills or higher. Coins are in denominations of:

  • 5 cents = nickel
  • 10 cents = dime
  • 25 cents = quarter
  • $1 = loonie
  • $2 = toonie

All stores accept purchase payments using Canadian currency. In addition, most stores accept credit cards or debit cards and will have signs indicating which cards are accepted.

Do not carry too much cash as it cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

When you make a purchase, keep a copy of the receipt in case you need to return or exchange the item (policy varies by store, terms are often printed on the receipt).

Specialty stores

Supermarkets – largest variety of food and household items with many locations. You can meet most of your grocery shopping needs at these stores.

Shopping mall – different stores at one location, the closest shopping mall is Oakridge Centre (Canada Line station: Oakridge-41st).

Convenience stores – small family-owned businesses or national chains located on street corners. Relatively expensive, but convenient.

Bulk and discount stores – least expensive shopping alternative, but a membership fee may be required. Shoppers may be required to buy large quantities of individual items.

 

Transportation

It’s easy and convenient to get around Vancouver without a vehicle. Public transportation system is managed by TransLink and includes:

  • Bus
  • SkyTrain, an elevated and underground light rail train
  • Seabus, a commuter boat connecting downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver

You can visit the TransLink to find schedules, plan your trip, and determine fare costs.

Students enrolled in Regular Studies (University transfer and Career studies) are eligible for a U-Pass Compass Card. The U-Pass Compass Card allows unlimited use on all Translink bus, SkyTrain and Seabus services.

All eligible students are required to participate in the U-Pass program, regardless if they use transit or not. Fees for the U-Pass program are automatically included with registration.

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