University of British Columbia

Vancouver, BC, Canada: Vancouver is settling into its rainy season, and I am settling into life at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus.

UBC boasts a reputation as one of the top schools in Canada, with a student population of 50,000. This means a wide range of classes and extracurricular activities. We even have a Quidditch team. I love the diversity; in my first term, I have met classmates from all the continents except Antarctica. (For that, the Vancouver Aquarium has penguins. Cute, fluffy penguins.)

And the campus is beautiful. It is located right beside the beach, and students can be seen jogging on wooded trails around campus. There are always art displays, and squirrels are everywhere. The campus is very big, which could be a downside because consecutive classes can be located at different ends. For those who like city life, downtown Vancouver is a 40-minute bus ride. The seclusion adds to the beauty of UBC, but makes it a bit inconvenient to work off campus.

The residences are varied enough to cater to students’ different preferences, from single-gender floors to co-ed floors to suite-style apartments. I’m not a huge fan of the mandatory meal plans for first-year students, though. The dining halls’ food isn’t very good. However, there are plenty of other choices around campus. There is a great sushi bar, pizza places, and at least three Starbucks.

One downside of UBC is the cost: upwards of $20,000 per year, and even more for international students. Most of my friends at UBC believe that the cost is worth the quality of education.

Overall, UBC is a great school for those who want to challenge themselves academically, have many options for extracurriculars, and meet a diverse student population.