University

University of the Fraser Valley: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more

Andrea Sadowski, 28
Global development studies

Andrea Sadowski (Courtesy of Andrea Sadowski)

Andrea Sadowski (Courtesy of Andrea Sadowski)

Why did you choose University of the Fraser Valley?
There are a few different reasons. UFV is affordable, both in terms of tuition and the cost of living in the Fraser Valley. As well, UFV has a small number of students with a large number of resources. The course catalogue is huge, class sizes are small, and professors are usually extremely passionate experts in their field.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
My best experiences at UFV probably have been the opportunities to travel and get practical experience in the field of international development. I went on a trip to Ethiopia with a local NGO; the school sponsored it as an educational trip. I also had the honour of being a Queen Elizabeth Scholar; I won the scholarship that funded the international internship for my degree. I worked at a grassroots NGO in India for three months.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
I went to fitness classes, joined the University Christian Ministries club that held weekly Bible studies, started writing for the campus newspaper, the Cascade, where I made many life-long friends, developed a portfolio and earned extra money. Many people will tell you that UFV has no campus culture, as it is a commuter school, but our culture is there if you look for it and become a part of it.

What do you think of your professors?
Nearly all the professors I had at UFV made it their personal mission to see that their students were successful in their studies. Every single professor has an open door whenever we need help with, or clarification on, an assignment. All my professors have been empathetic and understanding when the time comes to push deadlines for mental health reasons. It feels like they genuinely care about students.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
Many students end up on waiting lists for classes they want and have to settle for ones that aren’t as in-demand. I learned the secret to never getting on waiting lists: start working for the school so you get on the early registration list. That’s another good thing about UFV: the job opportunities they provide students. Yes, they pay only minimum wage, but there are perks, like early registration and discounted parking, to a part-time job at UFV.

What is off-campus life like in Abbotsford?
I’m going to be honest with you; I am not a fan of Abbotsford. I find it to be a conservative town with a dismal food, music and art scene. The one thing I do enjoy is that I have access to hiking trails that lead to pristine lakes and gushing waterfalls. Even in the city there is a vast urban trail network. The Fraser Valley is the place for anyone who loves to spend time outdoors.

PROFILE: University of the Fraser Valley | Abbotsford, B.C. | Founded 1974

If I wrote the school motto: ‘Get a degree without the debt’
Best place to study: BThe Cascade office, which features a quiet room to nap in, a conference table to spread all your textbooks on, a coffee maker and four iMacs to choose from, all with high-speed internet
Best campus events: Any event where you get free slices of pizza and a can of pop.
Best campus food: Fair Grounds is always reliable for the best espresso-based beverages on campus
Best place for a fancy dinner: S+L Kitchen & Bar has more upscale vibes and a lot of plant-based food options, something that’s hard to find in Abbotsford
Best bar for hanging out: I don’t hang out at a lot of bars, but a great spot is by the Vedder River. Invite some friends down to enjoy a beer and fire together.
Best live music venue: Before COVID, there was Tractorgrease and Carport Manor
Best hangover breakfast: Yellow Deli in Chilliwack
Best place for a nap: The backseat of your car in the parking lot
Best weekend activity: Being outdoors, somewhere in the forest or by a lake
The thing that surprised me most about the school: How much I would like it and how many friends I would make
If I could change one thing about the school: Get better food options; maybe bring in a food truck once in a while

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