International Students

Three students walking on campus.

“It’s a sense of community—always buzzing with activity—that makes residence life so unique.” – Holly Dysserinck

Welcome. Bienvenido. Huānyíng.

UBC houses more than 9,000 students in 12 residence areas, each designed to help students—new, returning, and international—adjust to life away from home, make connections, and succeed academically.

Living in residence makes it easy for international students to meet people, live in a study-oriented atmosphere, get help for academic and personal challenges, and be part of all that UBC and its surrounding neighbourhoods have to offer. Residents have easy access to beaches and recreational activities, theatre, restaurants, guest speakers, and special interest clubs.

Year after year, students tell us that living in residence helped them become better learners and make social connections that will last a lifetime.

First Year Guarantee & Priority Access

Many international students in their first and second year of study will qualify for the First Year Guarantee or Priority Access to residence, which means they are given first consideration for a space in residence. Most international students who quality for the First Year Guarantee will be placed in Totem Park and Place Vanier. Demand to live in residence at UBC is high, which means some new international students may be assigned to a residence area where upper year students live: Marine DriveRitsumeikan-UBCThunderbird, or Walter Gage. International student families and couples can apply to live in Acadia Park.

Returning Students

Demand to live in residence greatly exceeds supply because of growing enrolment and expansion of the First Year Guarantee. A spot in residence is not guaranteed for returning students.

Residence Meal Plan

Students dining on a patio.

“The dining hall gives you a huge array of options and they switch it up every couple of days so there’s always something new to try.” – Amy Miles, Totem Park resident

All students who live in Totem Park and Place Vanier must purchase the mandatory Residence Meal Plan, valid at more than 30 UBC Food Services locations and partner locations around campus. Our residence dining halls are always stocked with tasty, nutritious options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fees vary depending on the size of the plan you choose: the more you plan to eat, the more you will pay.

Students who live in other residence areas can purchase an optional Savings Plus Meal Plan or UBCcard Plan for added convenience and savings.

Support & Fun

No matter which residence you live in, you will be part of a safe, supportive environment that’s designed to help you pursue your academic goals, adjust to life in Canada, and enjoy your time as a student. Our Residence Life teams are among the best-connected people at the university. Residence Advisors, current UBC students, are plugged into the resources and support services available to you around campus, including health servicessafety programs and international student services. RAs spend countless hours organizing fun opportunities to get involved on and off campus. You could be an actor in a residence play, join a committee, or go on a field trip to an Olympic ski hill. When you live at UBC, there’s always something to do.

Jump Start

“Before arriving at UBC, I was anxious about moving to a new place, meeting new friends and being in a different academic setting. I made friends and got to know UBC through Jump Start and now I feel more confident going into my classes” – Jump Start participant

All first year international undergraduate students are expected to register and participate in the Jump Start Program, which takes place over two weeks in August. Jump Start is a transition program specifically designed to help Aboriginal and international students adjust to university life and living in Canada.

Other Housing

Demand to live in residence at UBC greatly exceeds vacancies, which means many students will need to find alternate accommodation. Vancouver is a safe, vibrant city with many diverse neighbourhoods—some are a short distance from UBC, while others will require a mode of transportation to get to campus (bicycle, vehicle, transit pass). Options include:

Visitor Accommodation

Family and friends visiting from other countries have a convenient place to stay when visiting UBC. West Coast Suites offer beautifully appointed suites that include a well-equipped kitchen, king or queen bed in a separate bedroom, and double sofa bed in the living room.  TRIUMF House, a boutique guesthouse located a block from Wesbrook Village, provides short-term accommodations at affordable prices. UBC Conferences and Accommodation offers short-term housing rentals from mid-May to late August.

How to Apply

International students can choose to apply to live in residence in two ways:

  1. Apply at the end of the UBC admissions process.
  2. Apply directly to Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

It’s critical to review Essential Application Facts and Important Dates to ensure your application is submitted properly and on time. Demand to live in residence is high so don’t wait until you are admitted to UBC to apply for residence.

We look forward to seeing you on campus!