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Living in Richmond


Richmond is an island city surrounded by the calming effects of nature, located at the mouth of the Fraser River. Richmond began as a small farming and fishing community over 100 years ago. Today, Richmond is a booming cosmopolitan suburb of Vancouver, with over 180,000 residents. The city has an increasingly diverse economic base, including fishing, market gardening, manufacturing, high technology electronics, and is home to the recently expanded Vancouver International Airport. It’s a safe, clean, community which welcomes international students into its vibrant multi-cultural population.

Richmond is a special place to live and learn. It is situated within minutes of downtown Vancouver using an efficient public transportation system. Students can easily access a wide variety of cultural events, fine arts opportunities, and professional sporting activities. Due to the proximity of the mountains and the ocean, recreational activities like skiing, sailing, cycling, swimming, fishing, and golf are popular. Many of Richmond’s different ethnic and cultural organizations host celebrations and cultural events throughout the year. In addition, cultural centres, community centres, and places of worship offer a warm welcome to students from abroad. Information about Richmond is available from


International Students may obtain a Go-Card Pass through their school. This pass entitles them to unlimited local travel by public transit at a reduced rate.


In addition to the school library, Richmond has a free Public Library System with a Main Branch (Brighouse) and 2 branches in the city. The Main Branch contains approximately 300,000 volumes, and 3,000 sets of periodicals (in electronic format) and newspapers. Library cards which will entitle students to borrow books may be obtained from any branch of the Richmond Public Library. THe University of British Columbia Library (Vancouver) is also open for the public use.


There are two universities and numerous colleges in the Vancouver Lower Mainland: The University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver is the largest. Simon Fraser University in neighboring Burnaby, also accepts International Students. In the city of Richmond, there is Kwantlen University College and a campus of the British Columbia Institute of Technology.


International students have come to the Richmond School District from the following countries: Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Thailand, China, Slovakia, Croatia, Taiwan, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, The Philippines and Singapore. Program enrollment at each school is limited to enable students maximum opportunity to utilize their English skills. International students make up less than 1.5% of the student population.


It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain a Study Permit from the Canadian High Commission or Embassy in the country where the applicant resides. Final acceptance into the International Student Program will occur only when this is done. Applicants must obtain a Study Permit before leaving their country of residence to attend school in Canada. This can be done by:

Submitting to the Canadian High Commission or Embassy in the country of residence

  • an acceptance letter from the Richmond School Board,
  • an official receipt of payment of tuition fees
  • proof of sufficient funds to maintain themselves for one year
  • in most cases, passing a medical examination.

It is also the student’s responsibility to keep the Study Permit updated. Student Study Permits must be renewed five weeks before the expiry date. It is recommended that this be done before leaving Canada. Renewal forms are available from the office. When renewing, immigration authorities have the right to contact the school to inquire about the student’s record of attendance and achievement at school. If attendance or achievement has been poor, the student may be refused renewal. This may result in the student having to leave the country.


Comprehensive health and accident insurance is mandatory in British Columbia. Every International Student must have this coverage while studying in Richmond. International students are entitled to medical and hospital benefits through the government Medical Services Plan (MSP). The Richmond School Board will administer payment of provincial Medical Insurance premiums for all students enrolled in the International Student Program. The annual payment is assessed and paid with the tuition fee. In addition, students are insured for accidental reimbursement expenses in accordance with a group insurance policy.


All parents are required to name a Custodial / Responsible Person in Richmond who will act on their behalf and who will ensure that accommodation and other living expenses such as food, clothing and transportation are provided. The Responsible Person must be an adult Canadian citizen, ordinarily resident, be accessible by telephone contact and live within the Greater Vancouver Regional District. If language is a concern, an English speaking contact person may be appointed to assist the Custodial / Responsible Person. There are no residential schools in the Richmond Public School system. However, Homestay with a Canadian family can be arranged. Parents of applicants should check with the Canadian High Commission or Embassy in their country of residence for specific Custodial requirements.