Getting Ready for Canada as an International Student

By University of Waterloo Modified on May 24, 2023
Tags : Arts & Culture | Campus Life | Community | Travel

Useful tips and advice to help you prepare for your arrival in Canada.

Getting Ready for Canada as an International Student

You've accepted your offer of admission and you're coming to a Canadian university. So, what's next? Here are some tips from the University of Waterloo on how to best prepare for your arrival.

1. Organize and apply for necessary documents

When coming to Canada there are many important documents to get in order so that everything goes smoothly once you land.

Study permit and work permit

If you're not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, you must have a valid study permit for the post-secondary level. Apply for your study permit as soon as you receive an offer of admission to avoid processing delays, and which could delay your studies in Canada.

At Waterloo, we recommend that if you received an offer of admission to a co-op program, you apply for a co-op work permit with your study permit application using your Letter of Acceptance.

If you're not issued a co-op work permit approval from a Canadian visa office or a co-op work permit at the port-of-entry into Canada, you can still apply for a co-op work permit once you're in Canada. You need a co-op work permit prior to starting your first co-op work term.

Documents for entering Canada

Don't forget your passport! Depending on if you are from a visa-required or visa-exempt country, you'll also need to have a valid temporary resident visa or electronic travel authorization when entering Canada. Other documents to bring are proof of finances and a copy of your immigration medical exam depending on if you're coming from a designated country.

It's important to do your research to ensure you have all your documents in order for coming to Canada.

Although Canada has lifted travel restrictions for entry, it's recommended that you download the ArriveCAN app and submit your customs declaration in advance to save time at the border.

2. Learn about Canada

Once you get all the documents out of the way, you can spend some time doing more exciting things, like learning about Canada!

You may be surprised to learn that the way Canada and Canadians are portrayed in TV shows and on the internet is not always accurate . If you're curious about what Canadians are really like, average temperatures during the year, or what holidays we celebrate, check out our University of Waterloo international student guide for information on Canadian culture.

If you know anyone who's been to Canada before, connect with them! They can be a great resource for finding out what to expect and getting some tips to prepare.

3. Learn about your university and the city

Last but not least, learn about your university, such as ways you can get involved through clubs and campus activities. Joining groups can help you make friends and adjust more easily to your school and Canada.

Learning about the city you'll be studying in can also be exciting! Find out what types of attractions exist to enjoy during your free time. Canada is known for landmarks like the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and Rocky Mountains. Find out if your university is close to these and start planning a trip.

We hope this list helps you with preparing to come to Canada. Best of luck, happy packing, and safe travels!

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