Posted in Opinions

What you don’t know about Fraser International College

Some pros and cons to attending SFU’s educational neighbour

Image Credits: DavidAshcroft (Flickr)

Before I start with a long rant about what you don’t know about FIC, why don’t I save you the trouble of Googling what FIC is in the first place. FIC stands for Fraser International College, and it’s a direct pathway into your second year at SFU.

To start with, FIC is your family, your home away from home. Being an international student in a new country, it’s comforting to be at an institute that only has other international students. It’s a place to make friends with people from various countries in the world. Though, truth be told no family is perfect, and FIC can be, at times, a dysfunctional family.

Fellow FIC student Katrina Mugume once told me that “FIC is like a box of assorted cookies. There’s literally a person from every continent in the world. It’s a great way to offend numerous people for the first time and correct your own cultural ignorance.”

Another nice thing about FIC is that you may not have exams during the regular SFU calendar. Instead, some teachers have final exams held in the last week of classes. It’s a highly competitive college, and once you’ve been accepted to FIC they will ensure you have a strong work ethic, so that once you’re finished you’re ready for anything.

FIC isn’t perfect, though. The classes are long: each class is four hours, and you have the option of taking it in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Can you motivate yourself to wake up for a class from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.? Yes, this is just for one course. To make things worse, you could be stuck with an evening course from 5:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

You don’t have access to a U-Pass, so you have to pay from your pocket to commute to school.

The distance to FIC is also a challenge. For those of you who do not know where the college is, it’s located in Discovery 1 — a.k.a. in the woods. Another unfortunate aspect of being an FIC student is that you don’t have access to a U-Pass, so you have to pay from your pocket to commute to school. Nonetheless, after facing all these challenges, you’ll be able to handle anything that SFU throws at you (and the added U-Pass will be the cherry on top!).

Did I mention the class sizes are relatively small, being at most 30 students per class? Depending on what kind of student you are, this could be a great or a not-so-great thing. For those of us, myself included, who like to disappear in a classroom — to sit back, relax, and open your phone to all the social media apps of your choosing — having a smaller class pretty much places you under a microscope.

This also means that, at some point during the four-hour class, the teacher will take attendance. However, on the plus side, you are given the opportunity to get to know your teachers and classmates, and the teaching staff are very supportive towards enriching your education.

So, if you’re considering attending FIC, or if you go to SFU and really don’t know anything about the college, you’ve now been given the basics. Take from this what you will!

  • ADZ

    There’s also, y’know, the almost criminally inflated tuition – UTP stage I and II, which are what is required to get into second year at SFU, cost $22,983 and $17,596 each.

    Add to that the mandatory ‘Academic Literary Course,’ $2,298, and you’re looking at a total tuition of $42,877 for five terms of post-secondary education – that’s $8,575 per semester, more than three times what the undergraduates pay just up the hill at SFU.