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your ultimate guide to thriving as an international student in burnaby
Your Ultimate Guide to Thriving as an International Student in Burnaby
your ultimate guide to thriving as an international student in burnaby

Your Ultimate Guide to Thriving as an International Student in Burnaby

Congratulations on your decision to pursue your education in Burnaby, a vibrant and multicultural city located in British Columbia, Canada. As a new international student, it’s natural to feel excited and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the idea of meeting new people, figuring your way around the city, and stepping into a new environment. So we’ve created a comprehensive guide using articles from the Burnaby School District to help you settle into life as an international student in British Columbia. We’ll cover all of the essential aspects so that you can navigate your way through this life-changing experience with plenty of ease!

Transportation 101

When you arrive in Burnaby as an international student, one of the first things you’ll want to familiarize yourself with is the city’s transportation system. Burnaby boasts a well-connected system, making it easy to navigate the city and explore the surrounding areas. TransLink, the Metro Vancouver public transit system, operates an extensive network of buses and SkyTrains. It is a rapid transit system that connects Burnaby to Vancouver and other neighboring cities like Richmond and Surrey. There are other places to visit besides Burnaby. Many people would agree that downtown Vancouver is an ideal option to visit. If you would like to travel there, be sure to make good use of the convenient Skytrains available! Skytrains run quite frequently and can take you to your destination fast. If you would like to travel from Burnaby to Vancouver, be sure to take the Expo Line or the Millennium Line. You can also use the Translink Trip Planning Guide to plan your next trip!

The Compass Card is your ticket to seamless travel on public transportation. This reloadable smart card allows you to conveniently pay for your bus and SkyTrain fares. To get a Compass Card, you can visit any Compass Vending Machine or an authorized retailer. You’ll need to load funds onto your card and tap it on the card reader when entering and exiting buses or SkyTrain stations. Familiarize yourself with TransLink’s website and mobile apps to access schedules, routes, and updates, and don’t forget to keep your Compass Card with you at all times!

Get to know the neighborhoods: North, Central, East, and South

North Burnaby

North Burnaby is surrounded by stunning mountain and ocean views and lush greenery. The area is home to Burnaby Mountain, which boasts scenic hiking trails and panoramic views of the city. The Heights, a vibrant shopping district along Hastings Street, offers a variety of local shops, restaurants, and cafes, while the Burnaby Public Library and Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool provide communal entertainment for those living in the area. 

Central Burnaby

Central Burnaby, which is part of North Burnaby, is a bustling neighborhood that combines a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. Metropolis at Metrotown, one of the largest shopping malls in North America, is a major attraction in Central Burnaby. For sports enthusiasts, Burnaby 8 Rinks, a sporting facility with six NHL-sized rinks, an indoor soccer field, and a dedicated figure skating rink, is a must-visit destination. 

East Burnaby

East Burnaby is known for its ethnic diversity, and its neighborhoods embrace a multicultural community that contributes to its vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. The new Edmonds Community Centre provides a range of recreational opportunities for residents, with amenities like swimming pools, fitness facilities, and youth programming. The Tommy Douglas Library, which offers a wide range of books, educational materials, and community programs, is also located there. 

South Burnaby

South Burnaby has undergone significant development and densification over the past two decades. With the increasing demand for housing and the desire for urban living, the area has seen the construction of numerous high-rise residential buildings, offering a range of housing options for residents. Deer Lake Park, the cultural hub of the city, provides a serene escape with its picturesque lake, lush greenery, and tranquil walking trails. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, making it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and picnic-goers. 

Activities any student can do while studying in Burnaby

  • Walking/hiking at Central Park, Deer Lake Park, and/or Burnaby Mountain
  • Joining a sports team – soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee, etc.
  • Embarking on a student excursion
  • Ice skating at the community rink
  • Visit the Burnaby Village Museum and Burnaby Art Gallery

Popular eats around the city

With its multicultural population, Burnaby boasts an array of restaurants, cafes, and eateries that cater to various cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re craving international flavors, fusion dishes, or local specialties, Burnaby has something to satisfy every palate. According to the Burnaby School District, here are four restaurants and eateries every student should try while in Burnaby:

  • Cockney Kings Fish & Chips
    • Serves English-style fish and chips, tacos, poutine, a variety of fish, burgers, seafood, etc.
    • 6574 Hastings Street
  • Sfinaki Greek Taverna
    • Serves spanakopita, calamari, wraps, souvlaki, mousaka, etc. 
    • 4061 Hastings Street
  • Mon Paris Patisserie
    • Serves chocolate croissant, cannelés, cherry turnover, kouign-amann, palmier, macarons, etc.
    • 4396 Beresford Street
  • The Gray Olive Cafeteria
    • Serves chicken and waffle, pulled pork benny, avocado toast, chicken bacon club, daily soup, coffee, tea, etc. 
    • 4190 Hastings Street

Introducing Burnaby School District

As you embark on your educational journey in Burnaby, here is more information on the Burnaby School District, your guide to success in this vibrant and multicultural city. The Burnaby School District is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, diversity, and inclusive learning environments. With a wide range of programs and courses, state-of-the-art facilities, and dedicated educators, the district is dedicated to ensuring every student reaches their full potential. From elementary to secondary schools, Burnaby School District offers a nurturing and supportive educational experience that will empower you to thrive academically, socially, and personally. Embrace the opportunities that await you within the Burnaby School District and let your educational journey in British Columbia flourish.


Sources: Quick Guide For New International Students In Burnaby, Burnaby Transit 101: A Guide To Getting AroundBurnaby Neighbourhoods: Get to Know the City, 5 Activities to Try When You Study in Burnaby, Canada, Eating in Burnaby: Student Guide, 5 Restaurants & Eateries To Try While You’re In Burnaby, Burnaby Schools
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