About living in BC

People from many cultures call British Columbia their home, creating a diverse and vibrant society that welcomes international students.

Our people

Communities in BC are culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse, with immigrants accounting for approximately 28 percent of the population. An additional six percent of BC’s population is made up of Indigenous people, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

English and French are Canada’s official languages, with English being the main language of BC. There are many other languages spoken here as well including Cantonese and Mandarin, Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Farsi, as well as many Indigenous languages. The people of BC, as in the rest of Canada, are friendly and welcoming.

Helpful resources:

  • WelcomeBC provides detailed information about BC, the people, economy, and facts, and trends.
  • Multiculturalism & anti-racism provides resources and tools that promote multiculturalism and anti-racism.
  • HelloBC provides information on BC’s geography, culture, and people.
  • The Newcomers’ Guide to Resources and Services contains information and videos in a variety of languages. Topics covered include the first few days, transportation, finding a place to live, money and banking, health care, and more.

Getting around

BC has many transport options to help you get around our beautiful province. Some options include:

  • Translink – BC’s transit system that services most areas. Visit Translink for more information about transit schedules in your region of study.
  • Taxis and ride hailing – are fast and easy ways to get around without the hassle of owning a vehicle. Find a taxi company in your area or download the Uber or Lyft app to your cell phone.
  • BC Ferries – will help you experience BC’s breathtaking ocean views. BC Ferries is a convenient way to get to BC’s beautiful islands and inlets.
  • Car rentals – are found in most major cities in BC. You must be a minimum of 21 years of age and have a valid driver’s license and insurance – other restrictions may apply so please consult with car rental companies.


All provinces in Canada use the Canadian dollar for currency. It is recommended that you use Canadian currency when you first arrive and while you are living in BC. You can visit any Canadian chartered bank, trust company, credit union, or a foreign exchange broker to exchange your currency.