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UVic vs UBC

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Been accepted into both. 

I’m interested in UBC because of their Centre for Asian Legal Studies. My undergrad major was Asian Studies, I currently live in Asia and speak an Asian language, and I’d be interested in keeping that connection going in my future career. I can only assume there are BC law firms that deal with international trade, intellectual property, tax treaties etc with Asian countries.

I’m interested in UVic because (a) I have family there and (b) over three years I would save like 50 grand in living expenses.  

If money were no object I’d probably prefer UBC but the idea of taking on that much debt to live in Vancouver is spine-chilling to me.

If anyone can offer me any insight it would be much appreciated.

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Firstly, congrats on getting accepted! I can only speak from the perspective of an undergrad (in my third year at UBC) and prospective law applicant for next year, but hopefully this insight is still helpful. However, the pros and cons vary depending on what you're willing to tolerate and what pluses are more important for you.

For example, your fear of the atrocious living costs are justified. I live off-campus/at home to save money, but for that affordability I have to commute a very long way (by car). Most of the on-campus housing is for the undergrads, although they do have some specific buildings for graduate/law students - but as far as I know it can be difficult to secure a spot. Did I mention it was expensive? If you live off-campus and commute by bus, many of the buses are full in morning/afternoon rush hour by the time they get to your stop. And you're not guaranteed to pay much less in rent, if at all. On the plus side, the campus is beautiful, and the law school is kind of sequestered up at the top near the ocean view, so you're not in the thick of things. However, if you want to go elsewhere to get food more substantial than a coffee, be prepared to walk a potentially long way through a beehive when class lets out. UBC is massive and there are always lineups, regardless of the time of day. 

I know UVic has a co-op program, which is a big plus for some people, and Victoria is a beautiful city too. The rent is definitely less, although not as cheap as, say, living at/by a law school in the prairies. I do believe both UBC and UVic can offer bursaries to cover extra costs, though. But I'd assume UBC has more direct access to Vancouver firms in terms of making connections. Personally, although I intend to apply to both next year I'm looking forward/hoping to get into UVic, because as much as I love my university the commute is exhausting and I live in fear of the rent costs, lol. Best of luck with your choice.

Edit: UVic's tuition is also a few grand cheaper. 

Edited by lh22
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IMO (current UBC The Peter A. Allard School of Law 1L), go to UVic. 

The Centre for Asian Legal Studies focuses on academic research, not on connecting students with firms that have a substantial Asian law practice. If you attend UBC, you'll be busy enough during 1L (7 courses plus additional studying, LSLAP, PBSC, clubs, committees, eating endless amounts of free pizza, the rest of your life, etc.) that you likely won't be involved with the Centre much, if at all. Based on my limited understanding of it, the Centre caters much more to professors and visiting scholars than to students, so it shouldn't factor into your decision to attend UBC. 

You can join FACL BC as a UVic Law student (membership is free for students!) to connect with Asian-Canadian lawyers without paying a 50k premium. Heck, UVic's co-op program might give you a better shot at working overseas during your 1L summer, too.  

Edited by Tagger
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I think UBC has the edge if you're interested in Asian legal studies. There are a few professors who specialize in that area and UBC has exchange/dual degree options with Asian law schools. From what I've heard, there's also an alumni base that's practicing in Asia. That being said, it's probably not worth $50 k extra. If you can live with family and save that money, then do it. 

If you're planning to stay in Canada doing some kind of work that's related to Asia, either school will get you there. If you want to work as a lawyer in Asia, then maybe go to an Asian law school?

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“Endless amounts of free pizza” makes UBC a no-brainer choice, IMHO. My school only has free beef burger once a year.

But seriously, the extra cost is something to consider if your estimation is correct. 50k is not an insignificant amount. The dual degree program offered by UBC is with HKU (maybe Beijing as well?), it’s for students who want to practice in HK. Cantonese is a must if one wants to really assimilate, and the tuition is very high.

Edited by qwopwo

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I go to UBC and I've had a good experience there and would recommend it, but still I don't think anyone would argue that a UBC education is worth $50k more than one from UVic.

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