Documentation:Science Co-op/Lethbridge - AB
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Helpful Tips For Co-op Students Going to Lethbridge, AB
Purpose: This document was created to help you prepare the necessary documents and funds
BEFORE your departure to Lethbridge, AB. This information may help to prevent some difficulties with
paperwork and make it an easier transition for you.
Lethbridge is the fourth largest city in Alberta and is a few hours south of Calgary. As a prairie town, it is not a metropolis like Vancouver or Toronto, but it is comparable to cities like Victoria, BC in respect to size. Walking along Oldman River or on the coulees is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. In the evenings, you can watch the junior hockey team, the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL, at affordable prices.
The province of Alberta has a sales tax of 5%, which is one of the lowest in Canada. If you need to visit a bank, most major charter banks are here (e.g. RBC, TD Bank, CIBC, Scotiabank, etc.).
The BC Medical Service Plan or the UBC AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan should still work since you are not leaving Canada; however double check to confirm if your extended health benefits are covered. Bring your BC CareCard or other medical information with you (e.g. vaccination history).
Temporarily owning a vehicle during your co-op term in Lethbridge is not required but would enhance your stay. Look into it if you are interested in having weekend trips to the other towns like Vulcan or even Calgary!
Talk to your employers to see if they can connect you with their HR department. From there, it is possible that they could connect you to staff member willing to host a student for several months. You can also look into the University of Lethbridge's housing options; however it is in your best interest to rent so you can plan which bus routes connect to various amenities in the city. Rent can start from as low as $400/month, but this is typically for a single room in a shared living space.
Since Lethbridge is significantly smaller than Vancouver, plan well ahead if you are considering taking the bus around town, especially on weekends because the buses do not run as frequently. Most locals commute by car so if you are not bringing your car over, don't be shy to suggest a carpool for work! Biking can be an option if it is during the summer months, provided you do not live too far away from your work.
In addition to any medical insurance documents, you may need to bring your SIN card for your reference. A security check may also be required, but this can be done prior to relocation.
If you are expecting your stay to be bad from the get-go, you're gonna have a bad time. It is clearly not Vancouver (so yes, the trees are lacking) but if you come to this city with a desire for adventure and a positive attitude, you will have no problems befriending your coworkers and making memories. The locals are very nice, generous, and laid-back so it is not uncommon to spend a summer evening relaxing around a fire pit.
Unlike Vancouver, Lethbridge is sunny and quite warm during the summer months, which is fantastic if you are the outdoorsy type. The winter months are very cold (-20°C), but this is common for the prairies. You may also witness some lightning storms, which is unlike anything you have seen (and heard!) before in Vancouver.
If you are fond of ethnic food, be prepared make it yourself because there are not a lot of restaurants there that do it justice. A few restaurants I enjoyed were O-Sho (Japanese), Thuan Hoa (Vietnamese), and Backstreet Pub and Pizza. If you require special ingredients for cooking, you might want to consider taking a flight to Calgary so you can do a little bit of shopping before driving down. Shopping centers are smaller than what is found in Vancouver; however they do have the same basic places like the Bay and a movie theatre.