New Student Info

Information for New Students: ( Provided by UTSAV, Indian Student Association at UBC)

Obtaining the VISA

  • Things to Pack
  • Things to do on arrival
  • Vancouver City
  • Transportation
  • Food and Accommodation
  • Entertainment
  • ECE/CS Tuition Fee sample
  • Funding/Scholarships
  • UBC campus maps

Obtaining the VISA

This webpage explains a comprehensive information about obtaning a student authorization in Canada.

A useful checklist of documents one should have while applying for the visa

The various forms required are:

Visa application form
Supplementary Questionnaire
Personal Information Form

Things to Pack

Good sweaters, preferably two.
A good winter jacket. These are available here but these might be cheaper in India.
A good pair of walking shoes.
A good pair of water proof shoes.
Your favourite music cassettes.
A spare pair of spectacles.
Textbooks related to your field of study, as these are very costly here.
Woollen gloves, muffler and a woollen cap.
Thermal vests and long johns.
Umbrella and raincoats, a must, you might need them very often.
Pictures of family members, pictures of deities etc.
Recipes of your favourite dishes.
Utensils, since you have to cook your own food. Do not bring all of them but a basic starter set should do. Once you are familiar with the city and the stores around it you can buy them when you need. The set should include a plate, spoons, basic cooking utensils, pressure cooker (if you need), glasses, and any other basic cutlery. Please note that utensils are available here but they might be cheaper in India.
There is no particular dress code in the campus. People wear casual attires. Bring as many set of dresses you want.
All the traditional masala powders are available here but you may want to bring some with you for the first few days.
Basic every day utilities(bed sheets, Towels, woollen socks, etc.)
Birth certificate, degree certificates and work experience certificate from your employer.

Things to do on arrival

Apply for social insurance number (SIN).

Apply for private medical insurance for three months Apply for medical services plan (MSP) of B.C.

Open a bank account.
Meet your supervisor and register for courses.

Check your department welcome package for details.

Vancouver City

Vancouver is on the west coast of canada and it is the third largest city in Canada. It is 60 miles north of Seattle, which is the closest American city. Vancouver has a pretty large airport and it connects to almost all the major cities in North America as well as to the rest of the world.

Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city and here the size of the Indian community is around 60,000. The city is in the pacific time zone and that puts it 13 1/2 hours behind India during winter and 12 1/2 hours behind India during summer.

In general Vancouver has a milder weather than the rest of the Canadian cities. During winter the temperature rarely dips below zero degrees celsius and in summer the average temperature is around 23 degrees. Vancouver is famous for its rain, so pack an umbrella, raincoat, and waterproof boots if you have them. The rainy season lasts from mid-November until mid-Fevbruary.

Vancouver is one of the most livable cities in the world. Its crime rate is low. UBC campus security is provided by the UBC patrol and RCMP(Royal Canadian Mounted Police).


Vancouver has a very good public transportation system. UBC students are provided with a subsidized Student Transit Pass (U-Pass) which allows for unlimited usage of the system. UBC automatically deducts the fees for this pass as part of your student fees ($26.75 per month). You just have to collect your pass when you first arrive on campus. There are three modes of public transportation buses, sea buses and sky trains. The U-Pass can be used for all of these. If you don’t have a U-Pass, an individual one zone bus ticket costs $2..50. Taxis can also be used as means of transport but they are expensive. Generally it costs about $30 to reach UBC campus from the airport, and it takes around 25 minutes. Airport buses are available from the lower level of the airport. One should board bus number 4 and number17 from downtown to reach UBC. You can plan your trip and get more information about transit schedules and fares at Shuttle service is also provided by the International House. Please check the International House Web page for details.

Another option to get to UBC from airport (courtesy Ashish Uthama):

Bus number 424 from the airport (as you get out, walk to the right, its a small mini-bus, stops on the far right, please ask someone for directions). Buy a ticket for $2.25 (please have exact change in coins ready).
Get off at the last stop of this bus (called airport station). Catch the 98B line bus (its a blue long trailer bus), your ticket from the first bus would still be valid, so you dont have to buy another.
Get down at Broadway'[a street]. These buses have a nice stop name indication and a voice that calls out the stop, so you should be fine. You will be getting off on the right side of Granville street (thats the route on which the 98 plys). Broadway is perpendicular to Granville, you need to get to the far left side for the next stop.
Take either the 17 (electric bus) or the 99B line (looks like the 98B line) from this stop, the last stop of both is UBC campus. Both ply along broadway.
You can find the full details, with exact timings here: tranlink

Food & Accomodation

Vancouver has an assortment of cuisine such as, Indian, Chinese,Thailand, Mexican, Japanese etc. Indian spices and condiments are freely available in the local market situated 15 20 minutes from the campus and these areas are easily accessible by bus.

Its good to apply for residence beforehand. There is a good sized waiting list for on-campus housing (the ones that you see on the on-campus residences map). An example would be booking for a Thunderbird apartment in April and getting it in November. All the on-campus housing information is available at
Make sure to take a look at the alternative housing options along with the conventional ones. For off-campus housing, check out www.amsrentline.comand  http://vancou


The UBC campus has a well equipped cinema theatre which screens recent English films. There are many cinema complexes around the city (Silvercity, Tinseltown, Paramount) and a few of them that exclusively screen latest Hindi movies (Raja Cinemas). Many Indian films and music are available at video rentals and music stores. IMAX and OMNIMAX theaters are also located in Vancouver. Local Indian Radio stations include 1600AM (Radio India), 1200AM (Rim Jhim), 1550AM (Radio Punjab) and 93.1FM (REDFM). Indian TV shows and movies are screened on Channel 8 (Omni BC) and Channel 119 (Shaw Multicultural Channel) on various days/times throughout the week. Weekly South Asian newspapers include ‘The Link’, ‘The Voice’, ‘The Asian Star’ and ‘The South Asian Post’.
Vancouverites are an active bunch, and there are many outdoor activities one can take part in during your spare time. In the summer, biking, hiking, and camping are quite common, and in the winter, you can go skating or skiing. There are also various UBC intermural sports leagues students can take part in, including soccer, volleyball, badminton, tennis, and basketball. Vancouver also has 2 different cricket leagues which run during the summer.
For those who are spiritually inclined, there are at least 8 large Temples, 2 large Mosques, and countless Gurdwaras and Churches spread all throughout the Lower Mainland

ECE/CS Tuition Fee sample 

Courtesy Ashish Uthama

This is a sample for an MS program in ECE starting 2005. It is more or less the same for CS department (but aid in the CS dept is guaranteed through TA/RA).


Processed Date Payment Reference   Description Amount
May 9, 2007 CCRD 2313569 SSC Credit Card $474.62
May 9, 2007 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $1,000.00
Apr 30, 2007 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,101.57
Jan 3, 2007 CCRD 2017507 SSC Credit Card $1,474.23
Jan 2, 2007 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,101.57
2007 Total $5,151.99
Sep 8, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $689.00
Sep 6, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $1,000.00
Sep 5, 2006 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,134.95
Jun 29, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $473.00
Jun 28, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $1,000.00
Apr 25, 2006 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,101.56
Jan 6, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $425.00
Jan 5, 2006 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $1,000.00
Jan 2, 2006 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,126.55
2006 Total $7,950.06
Nov 3, 2005 HSBC BRANCH = 0001 Payment processed by HSBC $23.29
Sep 12, 2005 RFAW 04884 Awards refund -$23.29
Sep 10, 2005 AWRD 04884 Scholar/Bursary/Loan $1,160.69
Sep 8, 2005 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $800.00
Sep 7, 2005 TDDB Payment by Debit Card $1,000.00
2005 Total $2,960.69
Total $16,062.74


Excerpts from Siddharth Srinivasans mail to ubc_bharat mailing list:

As a UBC graduate, let me first say that as far as I know, at least until last year, an international graduate student had to pay 50% of the tuition fees, the remaining 50% is covered by the International partial Tuition Scholarship. Your arrangement with your department/ supervisor has no effect on the tuition fees, they could pay you as much or as little as they decide, you have to pay the remaining 50% anyways. The exception to this (and this is purely from my experience, there may be other exceptions too) is if you get a University Graduate Fellowship, where they pay your remaining 50% and give you in cash whatever is left over from the fellowship amount.

The UGF is highly competitive, and is given across PhD candidates and Masters students irrespective. So Masters students are by default at the end of the list of reccipients, though quite a few (I was one of them) receive the UGF. Its also not department specific, the Department will first screen your application and will forward only its top few to UBC, since the UGF spans all (or most) faculties. It depends mostly on the research potential of your Masters work, and will need the full cooperation of your supervisor to plan out your research area and its relevance. Its not a good idea to depend on the UGF for assistance, for sure apply for it but that can happen only once you have decided on a supervisor, research topic and have a very clear(ish) idea of where your research is going and its relevance. By the way I initially got a partial UGF worth $8000 then it was upgraded to a full one worth $16000.