Small school, small city: University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C.

Shelby Petersen
Josh Dehaas, Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze
Small school, small city: University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C.
Shelby Petersen, University of Northern British Columbia | Photograph Simon Hayter

Shelby Petersen is a fourth-year political science student from Prince George, B.C. She edits the school paper.

What’s Prince George like?
“A lot of people coming to UNBC are from smaller towns of, like, 1,000. You get some of that city feeling, but also the community feel.”

Is there stuff to do?
“It’s small, but Prince George has got lots of local venues and independent bands,” says the music fan. “Dan Mangan was here recently. We also have Coldsnap, a winter music festival. I saw Joel Plaskett last year. It was awesome.”

How are your professors?
“Everyone in my program is on a first-name basis with professors. My American politics professor invited us all to join him at the campus pub to watch the American mid-term election results roll in. Plus, you have the same teachers throughout the degree. You get to know them, which is good for reference letters.”

Ever wish you were in a bigger city?
“Only in terms of shopping. We’ve just got a lot of strip malls and they don’t have clothes targeted at younger, hipper students.” Petersen stocks up when she travels. “The last time I went to Edmonton I went straight to H&M and Forever 21.”

What’s housing like off campus?
“On 15th Avenue, there are about 50 apartment buildings. They’re inexpensive but well-kept. I live in a two-bedroom and we pay only pay $720 [$310 each] per month. That’s the going rate here!”

What’s special about small schools?
“The community takes care of each other. There was a really large Halloween party and I thought I couldn’t go because I didn’t get a ticket in time,” says Petersen. “But then a friend asked another friend and I randomly got a ticket from a stranger.”


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University of Northern British Columbia
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University of Prince Edward Island
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St. Thomas University
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NSCAD University
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Royal Military College of Canada
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