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To study at UBC, or not to study... that is the question
Posted February 20th, 2009 - 11:54 pm by from Winnipeg, Canada (Permalink)
Hey there,

I am thinking about moving to Vancouver from Winnipeg to study Oceanography at UBC, I'm also considering a university on the other coast, so I was wondering if I could get some information that might help me make my decision.

Is it easy to get around the city? public transportation? (as i dont have a car and what about cycling in the city?)
What do you like about the city?
Is it very difficult to find employment?
What areas would you recommend for me to look for accommodations, what areas are recommended against?
What is the University like? I hear its one of the most beautiful in the country, but i mean how are the professors, class sizes, are people friendly?
and if you know anything about the earth and ocean science department please, tell all :)

I have a lot of questions I know, but i've never been to vancouver, or even BC for that matter so I would appreciate any info

Thanks a bundle!


Posted February 21st, 2009 - 9:41 pm by from Waterloo, Canada (Permalink)
Hi Maha,

If you're studying Oceanography, then UBC is the PERFECT place! I'm not in Oceanography myself but being that Vancouver is next to the ocean and that it has connections with a marine centre, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, that has amazing facilities/resources/staff/etc., I would definitely recommend you to come here!

1) Public transportation: some people diss the transportation but I think it's great. it gets you where you want to go. and all the lines are expanding (especially with the new skytrain) so places should be even more accessible soon

2) Cycling: extremely bike friendly. a lot of people here bike. even my friend who's visually impaired took a biking class and can bike around herself. another CS-er who visited from Pittsburg also agree that Vancouver is very bike friendly. lots of bike paths/routes everywhere. not too hilly either.

3) the City: is gorgeous. if you come visit on a sunny day, you will understand. words can't describe it. i've been here for 7 years and the ocean and mountains on a sunny day still takes my breath away.

4) Employment: as an Oceanographer or otherwise? i'm not sure about the job prospect here. but i'm assuming there is more jobs for an Oceanographer here than in Winnipeg.

5) Accommodations: Craigslist is always a good start. near UBC is expensive (Point Grey, Kits) farther is cheaper (Commercial) or if you like high-rises downtown = West End. or go even further into Burnaby = lots of apartments but you can still get to UBC within an hour by skytrain and bus. Richmond is more difficult to get to UBC by bus (slower) North and West van = more expensive and need to cross the bridge (= major rush hour traffic). I wouldn't recommend farther than those cities because then you'll have to commute forever. East Van is the "sketchy" part of town.

6) University: also beautiful. i took ecology so i did some marine sciences research (at the marine station) and according to my encounters with people in this field, they all seem super chill and nice and hippy-ish and outdoorsy and parties a lot! but i think it's true for this area of study (in contrast to psych majors...true story). class-sizes: undergrad or grad? 1-st and 2nd year classes = huge (but like 200 max..not like U of T where it's like 1000's). upper level = 30-40 max and grads = 15 max.

7) Earth and Ocean science (EOSC) is somewhat in an obscure location but it's cool because it has a museum on the bottom floor. a small building and smaller program = everyone seems to know each other. lots of field experiences i think.

hope that helps!

Posted February 25th, 2009 - 8:11 pm by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
Hi Maha,

I think Pylin answered your questions very sufficiently.

As for employment, I think it is a bit difficult to find at this time with the economic crisis and all. But it's not impossible, especially if you make yourself marketable and are proactive about job searching.

Are you going to do Undergrad or Graduate studies in oceanography? It makes a difference for how the classes etc. are like.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


Posted February 26th, 2009 - 12:33 am by from Winnipeg, Canada (Permalink)
Thanks Pylin for all the info ... gives me a lot to think about.

I am going to be doing my undergrad, hopefully a combined honours of oceanography and geology.

Another question I had was in regards to the weather, specifically during the winters, how do you find them, does it rain alot? I've heard that it could be a bit depressing ....

Posted February 26th, 2009 - 12:37 am by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)
Well it definitely rains a lot, but it's not as cold as Winnepeg I've heard. I have a friend from Winnepeg and she said that since she's already dealt with the tough weather there, Vancouver is a piece of cake and I believe she finds it quite pleasant here.

And most of the time it's not really monsoon-style rain or anything. Just a drizzle. Furthermore, it's really awesome when the weather is nice. For example, we just had 2 weeks straight of sunshine and it was gorgeous!

Posted February 26th, 2009 - 8:33 am by from Vancouver, Canada (Permalink)

You want to study Oceanography and Geology. Beautiful British Columbia has ocean and mountain. As an outdoor person, I'm never an expert, but I believe the fact says it all.

In terms of weather in the winter, it could get really ugly, like 2 or 3 years ago, I still remember we had non-stop pouring rain for like 10 days or 2 weeks. But it can also get very nice, as Reena said what we just had in the past few weeks. What was that quote again?? Someone please remind me... basically it says: As long as you dress right for the weather, you are happy! Then, when summer (or just a few sunny breaks) comes, words cannot describe the beauty of this place.

In short, if you like nature (I don't see why not with your academic ambition), BC will not disappoint you.


Posted March 4th, 2009 - 1:52 am by from Winnipeg, Canada (Permalink)
It sounds fantastic, thanks a lot guys !