Back in school, I toyed with the idea of ​​enrolling in some reputable foreign university. My parents, generally, agreed with me, but all conversations usually ended like this: "This is, of course, very interesting, but it is just too expensive." Eventually, after much consideration I chose Canada: after the United States, this was the second best thing, there are many world-famous universities, and the tuition fees are approximately two times lower than in the United States.

Which university in Canada should you choose?

I chose from IT programs, firstly, because they interested me, and secondly, IT is an in-demanded specialty. After analyzing the cost of studying at the most famous Canadian universities, I came to the conclusion that my path lay to the University of British Columbia — one of the best universities in the country. The cost of training in it is 17,000 USD per year. To be fair, to this amount you will have to add another 13,000 USD a year for housing, food, textbooks and other expenses. The result is about 30000 USD per year.

Deadlines for submission of application documents to the University of British Columbia

Unfortunately, documents for admission to UBC must be submitted in September-October, and since one of the required documents is a school certificate, I panicked a little. The academic year had just begun, and sending a certificate was out of the question. However, there is a way to solve this problem: it is enough to send certified report cards with grades for the previous two academic years, and send the school certificate itself when it is issued. The whole thing must be translated into English and verified by the headmaster with a signature and seal. I didn't have to go to a notary, although the certificate itself still had to be notarized.

Basic requirements for admission to the University of Canada


The minimum TOEFL score requirement is 90. I scored 98. I ran into some problems filling out the application form on the UBC website. There was a section called Personal profile. It contained four questions, the answer to each should not exceed 200 words. These questions were:

  • Explain what you did to solve a serious problem you were facing and what you learnt from the experience.
  • Describe your most significant leadership experience and explain why you consider it so.
  • Tell us about an experience in school or outside of it that made you change your mind.
  • Describe the most significant experience of working in a team, tell about your role and contribution to the common cause.
Another thing that is important for admission is sports achievements. The fact is that the best students enter such a respectable university as UBC. Therefore, the administration of UBC tries to make student composition as diverse as possible.

It sounded rather menacing, and I struggled with these questions for a while. Under my belt I only had school achievements, so I wrote about them — nothing extraordinary, but I tried to present them in a somewhat interesting fashion.

Can I apply for multiple programs or to multiple universities?

I was determined to enter the UBC so I did not even consider other universities. In retrospect, it was risky and stupid — if everything had turned out differently, I would have kicked myself for being so careless and, perhaps, even burst into tears, but I didn't want to pay 200 dollars for each additional application. But all's well that ends well. Having received a letter from UBC about my admission, I applied for a visa.
A lifehack for applicants: you can move into a student dorm only at 12pm on September 1. Accordingly, if you do not want to spend the night at the airport, you will have to adjust to this time. Well, or find some other temporary accommodation if you arrive before the start of classes.

The process of studying at Canadian universities

UBC has the same credit system as the USA. This means that each subject studied is worth a certain number of credits (usually 3-4). In one year of studies, you need to collect 32-34 credits, so you have to choose about five subjects to learn in the first half of the year and five more in the second.

In fact, at UBC it is customary for first year students to take a standard set of subjects, and division into specializations occurs only in the second year. For freshmen, several timetables have been developed here (STT — Standard Time Table), of which everyone has the right to choose the one that is the most convenient. And despite the fact that Computer Science is related to the Faculty of Sciences, an exception was made for programmers, as always. Therefore, we could choose most of the items ourselves. I chose:
  • Programming Basics;
  • Differential Calculus;
  • Integral Calculus;
  • Fundamentals of Object-Oriented Programming;
  • Electricity and Magnetism.
There are also some compulsory subjects, for example, the Scientific Seminar in English, which allows you to learn the basics of philosophy and deepen your knowledge of English.

There is no concept of groups in UBC. Here, everyone chooses the schedule that suits him or her best. Almost all work (homework, essay writing, extracurricular communication with teachers) is done via the Internet. A special service called Connect UBC was created for this. Also, each student will have to purchase an iClicker — a remote "voting" tool, which is essential for lectures.

How to save money on studying in Canada?

Vancouver is a fairly expensive city. But even here you can save a little here and there: buy used textbooks, cook your own meals at least once a day, choose a cheaper dorm room (here it is called a Residence). There are a variety of rooms in the Residences: single, double (cheaper), with the bathroom, with a shared bathroom, with a kitchen (private or shared), without a kitchen.
As for the meals, you need to select its plan (maximum, average, minimum), then put 1,800 USD on the UBC Card. When I take a dish in the dining room, money is withdrawn from the card. One lunch costs about 6-10 USD. I prefer to cook breakfast and dinner myself. For students, there is a single pass for all types of public transportation — uPass. It needs to be renewed every month using a special machine that recognizes the UBC Card. UBC covers a very large area, and breaks between lectures are mere 10 minutes. To be on time, it is best to buy a bicycle — this is how almost all students move around here, although in winter there is a lot of snow and it is more difficult and dangerous to ride a bicycle.
Canada is a country where great prospects open up for programmers. Even when applying for citizenship, IT workers have priority. Since I am an excellent student, I hope that I will not have any problems with finding a job and obtaining citizenship.