Budgeting for exchange

A breakdown of some key costs for an exchange at UBC

Living expenses

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

Because your financial requirements will vary depending on your individual goals, the cost of living in Vancouver, and your personal preferences, we are not able to provide you with a precise dollar amount.

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. Here's a sample budget worksheet 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, 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

Groceries: $2,000/term

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

UPass fee: $164 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, and it's such a fantastic deal that you will be glad to have it!
  • 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. For more information (including coverage dates), please visit this website for further information (including coverage dates).

  • Single-term exchange: $252 CAD per term plus a $9.55 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: $180 CAD plus a $9.55 direct billing fee for iMED covering 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. As there is a three-month waiting period for MSP, students are covered by iMED during this period. Full-year exchange: $75 CAD per month for BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

Educational expenses

Estimated academic expenses (books and supplies): $500 - $700 CAD per term.

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