It's that time of the year. New students are arriving in Canada for the Fall (September) term. Are you a new international student in Canada, or do you know anyone who is, or who has plans to be?
This may be of help.
1) Obtain your study permit
This is inevitable but many new students don't know. What most (if not all) foreign students have from their country is a temporary resident visa. Study permit is issued upon arrival
Put your documents in your hand luggage to avoid unnecessary delay
2) Obtain your Social Insurance Number
If the condition of your study permit allows you to work in Canada, you need to get your S.I.N. You may be able to get one at the airport upon arrival (ask there)
If not, locate a Service Canada office near you & go with all your docs.
3) Arrange accommodation
If possible, do so before arrival. Classes start immediately here & you don't want to spend time going up & down in search of accommodation
University residence (or Air BnB in the first few days) may be your best bet if you don't know anyone in the city
If your preference is to live off-campus residence, avoid a basement apartment as much as possible. Although they are cheaper, basement apartments are also extra cold, and as we say, Winter is coming!
Also consider finding other students to share a house with
4) Attend your orientation
This is very important! Here you get to know more about your university, program, things to do or not do, and network with people. If you need someone to share a house with, you may also find one at the orientation
There are also plenty freebies here
5) Submit copies of your study permit/docs
I'm not sure if this is a standard procedure in all universities, but some require you to submit your documents upon arrival. Find out if this applies to you and do as required
The Universities may need this to provide updates to IRCC
6) Get your student ID Card
With your student ID comes a lot of other benefits. Some of these are free bus pass, access to libraries, access to recreational facilities or university events. Some university buildings may even be accessible with your ID alone, so get yours ASAP.
7) Register for classes
One of the perks of attending orientation is that you get to know the classes to register for. Some classes have limited spaces that are filled quickly, make sure you register ASAP. Also check with the general office in your department for more guidance
8) Update your address
Once you have a Canadian address, don't forget to update your address and other information on your university/student account. Your old address & contact information when you applied for admission will remain on your student account until you change it.
9) Sort out your health insurance or health card
International students mostly have health/dental insurance provided by their university, confirm this. Some Provinces would require you to also have a health card to see a Physician, find out if this applies to you and get one.
10) Open Bank Account
Popular Banks in Canada are RBC, Scotia, BMO, CIBC & TD. On this, I will advise you to find out which offers the best incentive to you as a student. You may need to book an appointment with a financial advisor, so do that ASAP. Its a busy time for them too
11) Get a Phone (Number)
There are many phone service providers in Canada. Find out the one that offers you the best incentive as a student. If you already have a good phone,you may consider getting a prepaid number or sign a phone contract without the extra cost of a new phone
12) Get a Drivers License
If you want to buy a car/drive in Canada, you should find out the licensing procedure and get on it as soon as possible. The requirements differ per province. This is also important because some jobs would require you to have a Canadian Drivers license
13) Get a Provincial ID Card
Many places in Canada would require you to provide two pieces of Government-issued photo ID to access certain resources. As an international student, the Provincial ID comes handy for this purpose. Find out how to get one in your city/province.
14) Prepare for Winter
I know its still Fall, but time goes by so fast & winter is coming. If you are in the Prairies where Winter can be extreme, start preparing now. Buy your winter jacket, hand gloves, boots, etc. If on a tight budget, go to thrift stores like Value Village.
15) Work and play
All work and no play..... Work hard & also enjoy yourself. One key to success as a student is work-life balance. Study hard, be a part of social activities, make new friends, but remember your primary purpose always.
I wish you an awesome experience in Canada!