15 things you should know about moving to Vancouver for school

Aug 27 2019, 11:31 am

Written for Daily Hive Vancouver by Spencer Lucas Oakes. You can follow Spencer on Twitter at @cultofspencer.

As a new school year arrives, a fresh batch of students are settling into the city, scattered under cloudy skies, squished among the many, many B-line passengers.

Being new isn’t always easy.

Making the move to Vancouver can be pretty heavy for some people, and when you’re stuck between the pressures of figuring out your studies and your shiny, new one-year lease, it can be easy to forget the simple things.

So what do you need to know about moving to Vancouver? Below, you’ll find some advice and a few – one, maybe – words of wisdom that will help you with your recent relocation.

Not a no fun city

College Students Partying / ShutterstockLet’s get this one out of the way. Vancouver has a lot of great stuff to do, a lot. What’s not fun is constantly weighing what you want to do against what you want to do a little bit less, and coming to terms with your FOMO.

Pick up where you left off

You’ve changed cities, but you don’t have to change lifestyles. If, in your previous dwelling, you took art classes, take them here. Did you teach prenatal yoga? Namaste, baby. Floor hockey? Join a team.

Expect guests

Ever heard of a Vancation? Me neither. However, this city is a destination for many Canadians looking for a low-cost getaway. If you consider yourself a nice person, say bye-bye to the majority of your weekends. What’s that? The college roommate you haven’t seen since graduation is coming to town? Sure he can stay with you, how does January 12 to 14, 2020 sound? ‘Cause you’re all booked up until then.


Canadian money / KMR PhotographyThe secret’s out, Vancouver can be expensive. Rent, groceries, paying to go over those troll bridge thingys – not a problem though, now is your chance to learn how to be financially responsible – fun! This will payoff in the long run, promise.

Find a regular hangout

There are so many awesome green spaces, cool coffee shops, cultural centres, microbreweries, PokeStops, and hole-in-the-wall hangouts; you’re bound to fit in at one of them.

 The lay of the land

Learn it! If you’re moving cities for the first time, you might run into this problem: not knowing exactly where you are at all times, like you did back home. It can take a conscious effort to orientate yourself in Vancouver, but it’s easy to do. Just remember: mountains, north; water, west.

Put yourself out there



It’s possible you left your family and friends behind, but don’t worry, with a little bit of elbow grease and the right attitude, you’ll be making friends in no time. Remember to say yes often, and be open to trying new things – there are plenty of people in the city in the same situation as you, and when was the last time you heard someone say, “I have too many friends.”

Craigslist is your friend

Aside from Craigslist, there heaps of websites and online communities dedicated to used goods and good deals, and the people of Vancouver have a strong presence on nearly all of them.

No big deal

Vancouver’s area? 115 km2. Compared that to Canada’s other cities – Calgary: 825 km2, Saskatoon: 170 km2, Toronto: 630 km2, Montreal: 365 km– and settling into your new city starts to feel a lot less daunting.

Get on your bike

©Vegterfoto / Stocksy United

©Vegterfoto / Stocksy United

It’s a great way to save money and stay fit. Plus, Vancouver’s bicycle infrastructure is probably pretty good compared to whatever small prairie city you came from. You’ll learn a lot more about the city this way, and your body will thank you.

It’s just rain

Seriously, it’s okay.

It’s okay to feel alone

You’re human. Whether you’ve moved out of your parents’ place, or across the country – it’s a big step. You’re officially on your own now, vulnerable to the invisible forces of uncertainty, self-doubt, and bumps in the night.

Go to the beach



You can do that now. Vancouver is a beautiful place to live, and even though shaking up your entire world with a move can be stressful, and you’ve just left everything you thought you knew in the dust, you’re now in one of the greatest places on earth, and it’s your home.

Actually anywhere outside will do…

Avid hiker? There’s trails for that. Like running? That’s covered too. Snowboarding, biking, music? Check, check, and check.

Treat yourself

'Fufú Café

Matcha Mochi Soufflé Pancake (Hanna McLean/Daily Hive)

Vancouver is a mixing pot of mixing pots. With such a diverse culture, you can gorge in global delights at almost any time of the day, in almost any neighbourhood. Sushi, curry, pizza, falafel, burgers; you name it, and this city will have the best of it.

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