ISCI 320 Questions and answers


How much will it cost?

Fees for the course–beyond regular tuition–are $600, which includes accommodation and meals and a water taxi to/from the retreat. Important: Students must pay the full course fees at least three weeks before the start of the retreat. Payments should be arranged with the IntSci office, LSK 466 (cash or cheques only). Cheques should be made payable to “Integrated Sciences - UBC”. Your Name and Student number must be on the cheque.

Where are we going?

We will stay at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island in Howe Sound. We hope the beautiful surroundings will help you focus and inspire you to think about nature!

How do we get there?

First, you've got to get to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. You can drive or take a bus (250 Horseshoe Bay or 257 Horseshoe Bay Express). There's pay parking at the terminal. From there, we'll take a water taxi to the camp. Details will be provided. Check back here to make sure you'll be on time so you don't accrue any late penalties!

What do I need to bring?

You can expect temperatures between 6 - 15 C so bring appropriate clothing. The following list covers other essential equipment:

  • A pen and paper,
  • A laptop computer and flash drive,
  • An alarm clock (or app),
  • Towels and toiletries (toothbrush & paste, shampoo, soap, etc.),
  • Pillow and bedding (sheets & blanket) or sleeping bag,
  • Earplugs (if you're a light sleeper),
  • A flashlight (or app),
  • Hiking boots (for fun),
  • Sunglasses, a hat, & sunscreen,
  • A swimsuit? (maybe for the day off), and
  • Entertainment (frisbee, balls, musical instruments, etc.).

Will I get my own bedroom?

Sorry, no. You'll be in bunk-beds, sharing a common room in a cabin. The cabin is unheated so bring warm bedding (or a sleeping bag). Washroom facilities are in another nearby building.

Where do we get supplies?

Meals will be provided. Vegetarian diets—up to but not including level 5 vegans—and food allergies can be accommodated if you let us know in advance.

Do I get to choose my research group?

Partly. You'll be working with the same group on a project for the duration of the retreat. Early on, you'll be placed in a larger "super-group". One of your first tasks will be to break into smaller groups based on your interests.

I'm graduating. Is that ok?

It's fine if you're graduating this May. The grades will be submitted promptly on our return and they will make it into your transcript. Since we introduced the current course format in 2003 no students have been prevented from graduating because of this course.

Do we get any time off?

You will be working most of the time but we will take an afternoon/evening off to relax (see the Schedule). We haven't got any plans but it would be good if we could organize some kind of group activity. Any volunteers or ideas?

Will there be internet/cell access?

Don't expect it; we've deliberately chosen a place where cell phone service and internet access are limited. You will have to rely on your own knowledge and reasoning skills instead of looking up external sources of information. Even if you do have cell service, neither phones nor internet may be used without express permission.