Budgeting for exchange

A breakdown of some key costs for an exchange at UBC

Living expenses

Estimated total expenses: $6000 - $8000 CAD per term

Go Global is not able to provide a precise dollar amount for your total expenses because your financial requirements will vary depending on your individual goals, the cost of living in Vancouver, and your personal preferences.

To get a clear financial picture during your studies at UBC, it is always wise to create a budget that considers both university and living costs. See the sample budget worksheet (pdf) that you can use to estimate your monthly expenses for exchange. Fill in the table with realistic amounts for each category that applies to you.

Accommodation costs

Estimated on-campus housing: $3,000 – $3,500 CAD per term

The cost of housing depends on the location, size and type. There are apartment and townhouse style accommodations available (eg. Walter Gage, Fairview Crescent, Ritsumeikan-UBC House, Marine Drive). For detailed costs for each residence, please check the UBC Vancouver Housing website. 

Estimated off-campus housing options

  • Shared housing: $2,800+/term 
  • Private housing: $4,000+/term

Estimated meal plan/grocery costs

Cost of groceries are estimated to be $2,000/term.

Local transportation - mandatory student public transit pass (U-Pass)

UPass fee: $170 per term

  • All exchange students receive the U-Pass, a universal transportation pass that gives unlimited access to all TransLink buses, the SkyTrain, and the SeaBus during the Winter Session.
  • The U-Pass is mandatory for all students attending UBC, providing students with accessible and affordable access to public transit across the Metro Vancouver region.
  • Only those students registered in credits will be eligible for the U-Pass. Research exchange students (not enrolled in credits) will not have access to the U-Pass.

Medical insurance costs (iMED and BC MSP)

Mandatory iMED insurance for international students

iMED is the basic health insurance required for all new international exchange students. Enrolment is automatic upon registration in your courses. Find more information on iMED, including coverage dates.

  • Single-term exchange: The cost is $315 CAD per term plus a $9.94 direct billing fee for iMED.  If you are a single-term exchange student, iMED will cover you for the duration of your stay (approximately four months and one week). 
  • Full-year exchange: The cost is $225 CAD plus a $9.94 direct billing fee for iMED. The cost covers the three-month waiting period for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP). Students on exchange for six months or longer are required to apply for MSP. The MSP plan costs $75 CAD per month.
    The total cost of health insurance for Full-year exchange students is $609.94 CAD.

Educational expenses

The estimated academic expenses such as books and supplies is $500 - $700 CAD per term.

In most cases, students on exchange at UBC pay tuition directly to their home institution.