Making the Most of Your Experience
- Keep your university apprised of an up-to-date address. You are responsible for receiving correspondence and important information, even when you are overseas.
- If you only intend to do partial studies in Canada, find out what you must do to facilitate your credit transfer upon your return. Inquire about transferring your credit well before departure as this can take considerable time. Always obtain written approval for the subjects you tend to take in Canada—do not assume you will receive automatic credit.
- Order your own academic transcript from your Canadian educational institution when your studies are complete. One may be sent to your home educational institution, but this can take some time and may be too late if you are expecting to meet graduation or class registration requirements.
- If you are expecting to graduate upon return to a home educational institution, find out the last day to resolve accreditation issues.
- Do not assume either educational institution is concentrating on your particular academic situation. It is your responsibility to fulfil any accreditation requirements.
Before You Go
- Think about your future – where do you want to be in a year? What steps can you take in Canada to get closer to this goal?
- Establish goals – come up with some concrete personal and professional goals to accomplish while studying in Canada.
- Check on scholarship opportunities with your home educational institution and other community-based organizations. You may be eligible for funding to assist with the costs of travel and living abroad.
- Make practical preparations such as checking to see if your passport and visa will not expire while you are in Canada.
- Obtain any necessary medical/dental check-ups before you leave for Canada. If applicable, arrange for enough medication for your period abroad or take a letter from your doctor.
- Keep a hard copy or electronic copy of any travel/medical insurance policies.
- Devise a realistic budget, and plan to take sufficient local currency on arrival in Canada for initial expenses.
- Obtain an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). This is a universally recognized student status card and will entitle you to travel discounts. This can be obtained from STA Travel Offices.
- Register with your country’s embassy when you arrive in Canada.
While in Canada
- Arrive a few days before your student orientation so you can familiarize yourself with your university, accommodation, and community.
- Contact the international students’ office at your educational institution in Canada upon arrival. They will assist you with enrolment, orientation and provide a referral service for other essential needs.
- Take part in your Canadian educational institution’s orientation program. This will be an invaluable experience that will assist you with getting to know your new environment and making new friends.
- Familiarize yourself with your Canadian educational institution’s policies related to the submission of assessment work and exams.
- Keep a diary. Writing about your experiences and emotions can ease homesickness, help you track progress on your goals, and remind you of your time abroad.
- Network. Take part in social and academic opportunities that come your way.
- Volunteer. Find an organization or cause that grabs your attention and get involved.
- Playing a sport or joining a team is a great way to meet new people and become part of the community. Ask your Canadian educational institution about its various clubs.
Adopt the right mind-set:
- Arrive with an open mind.
- Be willing to try new things, new foods, and customs.
- Remind yourself that differences are not necessarily bad.
- Try to find similarities, not just differences, between your culture and the new one.
When You Return
- Visit your international students’ office to resolve credit transfers and report on your experiences.
- Become a buddy for other exchange students or volunteer at your university’s international centre.
- Incorporate your international experiences into your everyday and academic life.
- Choose topics for your class presentations, discussions and projects that draw on experiences and knowledge from your study abroad.
- Join/start a returned alumni or exchange students’ association.
- Keep in touch with your Canadian friends abroad!
For more information about Education in Canada, please contact us. Imagine studying in Canada!