Getting Ready for Canada as an International Student

By University of Waterloo Modified on May 07, 2024
Tags : Community | Travel

From immigration documents to learning about your new country and city, here's what you need to know as an international student in Canada.

Getting Ready for Canada as an International Student

Preparing for your journey to a Canadian university? From organizing your travel arrangements to sorting out accommodations, there is plenty to consider as you enter this exciting new chapter. Here are some useful tips to help you prepare for your arrival before you start school in the fall!

1. Immigration documents

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

Study and work permits

If you're not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, obtaining a valid study permit for post-secondary education is required. To avoid any delays, it's recommended that you apply for your study permit when you receive your offer of admission.

Additionally, if you're enrolled in a co-op program at Waterloo, consider applying for a co-op work permit using your Letter of Acceptance at the same time! You will need a co-op work permit prior to starting your first co-op work term.

Documents for entering Canada

When coming to Canada as an international student, it's crucial to do your research and ensure you have all your required documents in order before your arrival. By doing so, you'll be able to enter Canada with confidence and focus on the exciting next chapter of your academic journey.

Depending on if you are from a visa-required or visa-exempt country, you'll also need to have a valid temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) when entering Canada. Other documents to bring are proof of finances and a copy of your immigration medical exam depending on if you are coming from a designated country.

Remember also to bring:

  • your passport
  • letter of acceptance
  • study permit letter of introduction
  • and any other required documents for entry into Canada!

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

2. Learn all about Canada

Once your paperwork is sorted, take the opportunity to explore Canadian culture and lifestyle! You may be surprised to learn that the way Canada is 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, our comprehensive international student guide offers valuable information to help you navigate life in Canada!

As well, 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 extra tips to prepare.

3. Learn about your university and the town

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your arrival at a Canadian university is to get acquainted with your university, as it's essential for a smooth transition.

Take the time to explore the various ways you can get involved in the opportunities available, from clubs and campus activities. Joining groups can help you make friends and adjust more easily to your school and Canada.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the city where your university is located! 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 the Rocky Mountains. Find out if your university is close to these and start planning a trip! (Explore what the city of Waterloo has to offer at this link!)

We hope this guide has provided you with a helpful overview of what the key steps are for your academic journey in Canada. Best of luck, happy packing, and safe travels!

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