Although Vancouver might look like a safe city compared to others, you shouldn’t underestimate its dangers and risks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vancouver, and I think it’s a beautiful city, but like many others, it isn’t perfect. Safety is still a topic that’s not discussed enough, so I want to share this valuable information to help prevent unwanted circumstances. Rental scams and scams in general still exist, and newcomers (especially students) are actively targeted.

Rental Scams

With a competitive housing market and people looking for affordable housing, it sure is hard to come across good offers. That’s why rental scams are so easy to fall for. Scammers take advantage of newcomers and students who look for places with low prices. For this reason, they make the easiest targets and, thus, an easy way for scammers to make quick money.

So, how can someone identify these scams and avoid falling for them? Here are a few tips:

    1. If the listing is too good to be true, it probably is. It is almost impossible to find a fully furnished, one-bedroom apartment with all utilities included in a good location for $1000.
    2. Beware of what websites you use to search for housing. For example, you are more likely to find scams on Facebook marketplace and Craigslist than on
    3. The security deposit. Usually, landlords will ask for a security deposit to make sure you’re serious about renting the place. The deposit should not exceed half the amount of rent. If they ask for more, it’s most likely a scam, and they just want to take the money.

Other Scams

Unfortunately, rental scams are not the only scams you’ll encounter. Emails, text messages, and phone scams are not uncommon. You’re likely to get emails and texts from unknown numbers or addresses claiming you’ve won a price you’ve never heard of. Other claims include your bank account being emptied or having done something bad enough the Government is looking for you. These scams are all designed to evoke a sense of urgency, so you’re desperate to know more about the false claims. Also, beware of sketchy links (which are most likely to come with emails or texts) because as soon as you click them, your personal information can be stolen by scammers.

Finally, phone calls are also a common way to steal information. You might get calls from unknown numbers or calls with IDs saying they’re from the Canadian Government. The best way to avoid getting your information stolen is to simply not answer or hang up as soon as possible. Also, not engaging in a call with someone telling you your bank account has been emptied, so they need your SIN to get all your money back. It’s all lies. They’re trying to scam you.

Moving away often feels like a fall, different from enjoying the fluid change of a landscape seen from the window of a moving car or getting absorbed by a movie. I felt everything shifting around me when I moved to BC, like wind crowding the senses during a fall. I barely noticed, because when you’re falling there’s only one thought in your head: the landing.

If I were to discern the shape of a large sculpture during the night, I might have an idea of it by sensing its surface and trying to visualise how it comes together or by waiting until daylight and retrieving more information with a glance. I realized later this reasoning doesn’t apply to moving to a different country.

I didn’t do my homework before moving to Vancouver. I arrived in one of Canada’s rainiest cities with no umbrella, in both the literal and figurative sense. The silver lining is that I’ve been presented with several welcoming surprises. I grew up in a country with no access to the ocean. When I arrived here, I wasn’t expecting a horizon full of islands.

I was ready to hit the floor running and I found myself landing on a cushion. The part I thought was going to be the most challenging turned out to be the most welcoming. I thought I would be an awkward orange fish surrounded by blue fish, but I found myself surrounded by many colour combinations. Instead of feeling my unique colour interrupted an established palette, I felt like it added to one.

Moving to another city means there are many challenges to overcome, language barriers that need to be climbed, bus routes that need to be deciphered, paperwork that won’t do itself, and so on. But I know others have faced the same challenges. Their success stories, like mine, are meant to inspire. Our mishaps are here to learn from. The more willing you are to listen to these stories, the softer your cushion may be. In time, you’ll find yourself sharing yours.

I have been living in Vancouver for two months now and I love it. I’d say the most important thing I’ve learned during my time here is that hard work pays off. However, I admit I wasn’t the only one working hard. My being here is a team effort between my family and me. Between applying to university and applying for my visa, my journey has lasted one year. And I wouldn’t be able to have made it this far without my family’s unconditional support.

I always knew I wanted to study abroad; it has always been my dream. Before graduating high school, I wasn’t sure about which degree I wanted to pursue. It was until my mom showed me the program structure for University Canada West’s Bachelor of Arts in Business Communications that I felt so excited about finding what I love. I felt like the program was made for me, so I applied. A few days later, I got a letter that said I was accepted into the program, which made me happy.

So, the next thing I needed to do was apply for a study permit. This was the most complicated part of the process because I had to gather many important documents to submit to the application. It took my mom and me about three months to prepare everything for the application. However, the most stressful part was waiting for a decision on my visa. I waited around three months before the final decision. It was in July that I got my letter of introduction, which meant my application for a visa was approved. I can’t explain how relieved I was to get the news. Everything was finally coming together, and the most stressful part was over.

While preparing for my flight to Vancouver, I was excited to start my new life. What I didn’t think about, though, was how hard it’d be to say goodbye to my family. When I was at the airport saying goodbye, I got emotional thinking about not having my family with me anymore. However, now that I’m here, I realize I’ve made the right choice for my future. I love the city, and I’m glad my and my family’s efforts and sacrifice have paid off.

When you think about going abroad to study, the first thing you need to care about is how to get to your destination. On my way to British Columbia, I was met with various challenges that became memorable experiences later.

After receiving an acceptance letter from my school in BC, I had a few weeks of worrying while I waited for my study permit approval. But when I was holding my passport with a new visa to Canada in it, I knew that worrying meant I was getting closer to my dream.

My flight to Vancouver was more than 15 hours long. Even though the trip was fatiguing, during the whole flight, I was excited to get to BC, a place I had never been before. When the plane was making its descent, I could not take my eyes off the stunning views of my new home.

My biggest challenge was the two-week isolation period. (I arrived in Canada in 2021 during a high point in the pandemic.) Looking through my apartment window at the life going on outside and being unable to go out for 14 days was really tough. I spent that time getting used to a different time zone and practicing my hobbies. And when the time finally came, and I could stop my self-isolation, I felt like I was opening the door to a new chapter full of adventure.


After half a year living in Canada, I am learning to embrace my new identity: a global citizen. Individually, it’s given me the courage to validate my own experience and live louder because I am more aware of my inner power. Collectively, my sense of home has grown larger. Being a global citizen expands my definition of a community since no matter how different we are historically, culturally, and economically, human beings are interconnected, as long as we embrace our uniqueness and respect others.

Being a global citizen challenges ignorance. But it was not there to defeat us, because in this journey, we, as human beings, find the beauty in unity, in understanding that as our compassion for others grows much stronger, it changes the way we engage with the world.

This year we found ourselves sending hope and prayers to those who were once strangers. We acted, we choose to speak up, we advocated: for climate change, for liberation, for equality, for mental health, for everything that speaks to our hearts.