An Orientation Guide for International Students in Canada

Studying abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience, and Canada is a popular destination for international students. With its world-class education system, diverse culture, and welcoming environment, Canada offers a rewarding educational journey.

If you are planning to pursue your studies in Canada, this orientation guide will provide you with essential information and resources to help you navigate your new journey as an international student.

Begin your studies in Canada confidently by checking our orientation guide for international students in Canada!

Orientation Guide for International Students in Canada

orientation guide for international students in canada

Pre-Arrival Services for International Students in Canada

Before you arrive in Canada, it is crucial to take advantage of the pre-arrival services offered by your chosen educational institution. These services are designed to assist you with:

  • Preparig to move to Canada,
  • Getting your education, credentials, and relevant qualifying work experience recognized in Canada,
  • Connecting with potential designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada, and
  • Directing you to free newcomer services after you arrive in Canada.

Applying For a SIN as an International Student in Canada

As an international student, you will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in Canada. The SIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Canadian government that allows you to work legally and access government programs and services.

Find out more about Canada’s Social Insurance Number.

Accommodation for International Students in Canada

Finding suitable accommodation is an essential aspect of settling in as an international student in Canada. Many educational institutions offer on-campus housing options, including dormitories and student residences.

On-Campus Housing

Most universities offer accommodation on campus or near campus. You'll likely be able to choose between dormitories/residence halls, townhouses, or apartments. Dormitories usually mean sharing a room with another one or two students and are probably the most cost-effective and convenient option.

Off-Campus Housing

Living off-campus can be great if you prefer separating home and campus life and are looking for a little more freedom and independence. Finding private accommodation off-campus may be a more expensive option as your rent will depend on the location and quality. You will also have to pay for utilities (electricity and water) as well as internet and cable but these expenses are usually split between you and your flatmates.

Please Note

We recommend setting aside 25% of your budget for student accommodation. Furthermore, according to Educanada, accommodation costs as an international student in Canada will set you back 500- 2,000 CAD.

Learn more about how to find accommodation in Canada.

Registration for International Students in Canada

This is one of the first things that you'll need to do, especially if you've arrived close to the start dart of your course. When you enroll, you will get a student number and identification card.

This will come in handy when scooping up those student discounts at a wide variety of retail stores, restaurants, and cafes as well as even public transportation, that you'll soon have access to. You will also receive information about dates for enrollment and will receive your schedule once enrolled. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your schedule once you receive it.

We recommend using Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can provide you with all of the help and guidance you need to apply to the university of your choice, get your study permit, and be prepared to start your first week on campus on the right foot.

Healthcare for International Students in Canada

As an international student in Canada, it is crucial to have proper healthcare coverage. Most provinces and territories in Canada offer healthcare services to international students through their provincial health insurance plans. Examples include the:

However, it is essential to check the specific requirements and eligibility criteria for your province or territory. If you do not qualify for provincial health insurance, it is advisable to obtain private health insurance to ensure you have access to necessary medical services during your stay in Canada.

Find out more about health insurance in Canada.

Getting Financed as an International Student in Canada

Financing your education and living expenses as an international student in Canada can be a significant concern. Fortunately, there are several options available to help you manage your finances. Many educational institutions offer scholarships, grants, and bursaries specifically for international students. This includes the:

  • Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED),
  • Canada-China Scholars' Exchange Program (CCSEP),
  • Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarships,
  • Study in Canada Scholarships, and
  • Organization of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarship Program.

Opening a Bank Account as an International Student in Canada

As an international student in Canada, you will have a variety of banks to choose from and will need to choose between a savings or checking account. To open a bank account, you will need two of the following documentation:

  • Passport,
  • Letter of Acceptance,
  • Study Permit,
  • Temporary Permit,
  • Canadian or driver's licence,
  • Canadian Government Identification Card, and
  • Travelers' Checks.

Furthermore, you can explore part-time job opportunities on or off-campus to supplement your income. It is essential to create a budget and prioritize your expenses to ensure you can meet your financial obligations while studying in Canada.

Learn more about the 5 cheapest universities for international students in Canada.

Making Connections as an International Student in Canada

Building a network of connections is an essential part of your experience as an international student in Canada. Joining student clubs, organizations, and associations is an excellent way to meet fellow students who share similar interests and experiences.

Many institutions also have international student support services that organize events and activities to help you connect with other students. Moreover, volunteering in your community can provide valuable opportunities to engage with local Canadians and contribute to society.

Mobile and Internet Networking

Choosing the right cell phone or internet plan is key, especially when you want to stick to a tight budget. There are various providers in Canada for international students that will cater to your needs and budget. This includes:

  • Chatr,
  • Public Mobile,
  • Lucky Mobile, and
  • Virgin Plus.

Internet Providers in Canada

You'll be able to choose between a variety of options in Canada to get set up for internet services. You'll have to choose between:

  • Wireline Telephony,
  • Mobile Wireless,
  • Broadband Internet or,
  • Mobile Internet Access.

How to Become an International Student in Canada?

how to become an international student in canada

To become an international student in Canada, you will need to follow specific steps and meet certain requirements. Here is a general overview of the process:

Step 1: Research Educational Institution in Canada Suitable For You

Research Canadian universities and colleges to find the right institution and program for your studies.

Find out more about universities and colleges in Canada.

Step 2: Check The Admission Requirements For Your Chosen Study Programs

Check the admission requirements for your chosen program such as academic qualifications, language proficiency, and tuition fees.

Step 3: Apply to Your Chosen Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

Apply to your selected designated learning institutions (DLIs) through their online application portals.

Step 4: Gather The Necessary Supporting Documents

Prepare the necessary documents for your study permit application, such as your passport, acceptance letter, and proof of financial support.

Learn more about the Canadian immigration documents you must get ready.

Step 5: Submit Your Application on the IRCC Portal or Visa Application Center

Submit your study permit application online via the IRCC portal or through a Canadian visa application center in your home country.

Find out more about how to apply for a Student Visa in Canada.

Canada Study Permit

The Canada Study Permit is a crucial document for international students studying in Canada. It allows you to remain in the country for the duration of your study program. It is important to apply for a study permit well in advance of your intended start date to allow for processing time.

Learn more about Canada’s study permit.

Canadian Student Direct Stream

The Canadian Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a streamlined visa processing program available to students from select countries, including China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The SDS program aims to expedite the visa application process for eligible students, allowing for faster processing times as fast as 20 calendar days.

Found out more about the Student Direct Stream.



Do I Need to Complete an Online Orientation Before Arriving in Canada?

Many educational institutions offer online orientation programs for international students. These programs provide valuable information about academic expectations, campus resources, and Canadian culture.

While completing an online orientation is not mandatory, it is highly recommended as it can help you feel more prepared and confident when you arrive in Canada.

Are There Any In-person Orientation Events for International Students?

Yes, many educational institutions organize in-person orientation events specifically for international students. These events typically take place a few days before the start of the academic semester and provide an opportunity to meet other students, learn about campus services, and familiarize yourself with the campus.

Attending these events can help you feel more connected to your institution and make the transition to student life in Canada smoother.

Are There Any Tutoring Programs Available For International Students?

Yes, most educational institutions in Canada offer tutoring programs to support students academically. These programs provide one-on-one or group tutoring sessions to help students with challenging subjects or improve their study skills. It is advisable to inquire about tutoring services at your institution's student services office or academic support center.