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Canadian student flies to school twice a week to avoid paying high rent in Vancouver

By staying in Calgary, the student—Tim Chen—saves around $2,100 (Rs 1,74,358) that he would otherwise have to spend in Vancouver for housing.
Last Updated : 20 February 2024, 09:04 IST
Last Updated : 20 February 2024, 09:04 IST

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Commuting to work or college is a part of routine life for many. However, have you ever considered flying to college from your place of residence? A student residing in Calgary, Canada, boards an Air Canada flight twice a week to attend school at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Vancouver, the seaport city in British Columbia, is notorious for its sky-high rents. By staying in Calgary, the student—Tim Chen—saves around $2,100 (Rs 1,74,358) that he would otherwise have to spend in Vancouver for housing.

Chen spends approximately $150 for every round-trip flight, every week for two days— taking his monthly school travel expenses to $1,200 or Rs 99,631. Chen recently posted a message on Reddit, where he called himself a "super commuter".

A Google Maps screengrab showing the distance from Calgary to University of British Columbia.

A Google Maps screengrab showing the distance from Calgary to University of British Columbia.

Credit: Google Maps

Chen's post read, ''As titled, I'm a super commuter at UBC and I live in Calgary. I have two days that need to go to school for class (Tues and Thu), I fly to Vancouver in the morning and return to Calgary at night. I've been flying on Air Canada for all these flights, and for Jan, I did 7 round trips like this. I found there's saving on rent since I don't need to pay rent in Calgary (live with my parents) except just casually paying for utilities, and it's much cheaper than renting a 1b for 2k for more in Vancouver.''

https://www.reddit.com/r/UBC/comments/1aghuoo/supercommuting/?utm_source=embedv2&utm_medium=post_embed&utm_content=whitespace&embed_host_url=https://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/canada-student-takes-a-flight-to-his-college-twice-a-week-to-save-rent-5088222

Many netizens have praised Chen's choice of commute, as the Air Canada flight he takes to UBC is quicker compared to the approximately 989 km journey by road between Calgary and UBC. One of the users on Reddit wrote, "Honestly doable. The flight is pretty quick and good deals on flights would be way less than rent, food, and other costs."

In response to another comment on his post, Chen also mentioned that the place he stays at with his parents in Calgary is only 10 minutes away from the airport, making the flight option the most convenient for him.

The University of British Columbia has reportedly acknowledged the persistent issue of high rent accommodations in Vancouver and is now considering the creation of below-market housing facilities for students facing this challenge.

Andrew Parr, who is UBC’s Associate Vice-President of Student Housing and Community Services, was quoted by Daily Hive as saying, "We recognize that finding affordable rental accommodation in Vancouver and Kelowna is a challenge for some of our students, as it is for others renting in the communities,” Parr said. “In Vancouver, it is especially difficult.”

UBC's website does not provide details about any transportation facilities or allowances specifically aimed at assisting students with commuting from distant locations like Calgary. Instead, it lists travel reimbursements and allowances for students attending events outside the campus or British Columbia.

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Published 20 February 2024, 09:04 IST

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