Returning to Canada

The transition back to life in Canada can be both exciting and challenging, but we're here to support you.

While some people may be interested in hearing your stories, others will just want to hear you say "it was great!", and that's it. Because your experience was unique to you, others may be able to emphasize but will never fully understand it.

You may also have become aware of things at home that you previously never gave thought to, that no longer feel comfortable in the way that they used to, or maybe there will be things about home that you appreciate more now that you've been away. You developed and changed while abroad, and are now trying to integrate your expanded identity and worldview back into your old life, which isn't easy! It is often harder to adjust to being back home than it ever was to adapt to life abroad! 

We are here to support you in your transition home, and would love to hear about your time abroad, as your experiences will assist us in providing advice to future students. We’ve got some important information and tips below to help you get set up back in Canada, and we also have some suggestions on how you can use your experience and stay involved “internationally” here in Calgary!

Next Steps

For Individual exchanges, and research programs with transfer credit:

Don't forget to embrace your last few weeks! Be sure to use what time you have to enjoy some of your favourite places and local foods! And don't forget to take lots of photos or videos, even of the mundane things like your dorm room, your favourite restaurant or shop, the view from your window, your classrooms, the route you take to school, etc. These are some of the things you'll look back on most often when you're back in Canada and reminiscing on your time abroad. 

  1. Transcripts

    Ensure that official transcripts from your host institution will be sent to UCalgary, directly to the address of your Exchange/Research advisorDO NOT send them to Enrollment services, the Awards office, or your academic advisor. 

    Note: check with your host university international office if they have any other requirements to be fulfilled before they will send your transcript (e.g. exit program report, transcript forms, etc.) as some will not send them without this!

    Please contact your UCalgary exchange/research advisor for the correct address to send your transcripts to!

    If your host university doesn’t issue official transcripts in hardcopy, please provide your exchange advisor with a link/verification code to access the e-transcript. 

  2. Graduating soon?

    If you're concerned about transcripts arriving for convocation deadlines, please check with your home exchange/research advisor before asking your host international office to expedite transcripts.

    If you're graduating, make sure to send your home exchange/research advisor (who will be receiving your transcripts) your alternate (non-UCalgary) email address, and let them know if you are planning to apply to convocate soon.

    Note: Law students do not need to ask for expedited transcripts unless they are graduating earlier than June.

For those of you that haven’t already registered in for courses next year, please make sure to do so before the March deadline (use the UCalgary website to check March deadlines and complete your registration)!

We cannot guarantee that we will have a transcript from your host university by the registration deadline or that your transfer credit will be processed by that time, so if you need a certain year status to register in courses or if you’ve taken a course on exchange that is a prerequisite for one you wish to register for the next semester(s), you will need to work with your Academic Advisor to ensure a smooth registration process.

Note that all updates from UCalgary about course registration will be sent to your UCalgary email account, so you’ll need to check that regularly or ensure it’s set up on your phone or tablet (NOTE: Email forwarding has ceased, so please check your UCalgary email & junk mail regularly).

If you’re having issues with your email, please contact itsupport@ucalgary.ca.

Once you Return (optional): If you want to speed up the transfer credit process, you can take your course/unit outlines for the courses you took abroad (and if available, a copy of your transcript as well) to your academic advisor to discuss your transfer credit. Doing this as soon as you return can help in ensuring a smooth transition when your transcripts do come in.

If you are applying for awards, please note that the Awards Office will have access to all processed transcripts sent to your exchange/research advisor (you do not need to provide a second copy to Awards). If your transcripts have not yet been processed by the deadline, Awards will contact your exchange advisor directly for a copy. 

Please make sure that if you are applying for UCalgary awards (and your transcript will come in near or after the deadline), that you let your UCalgary exchange/research advisor know in advance. Your advisor may need an interim transcript sent direct via email from your host international office while they wait on originals to arrive, so it is a good idea to arrange this before the awards deadline, if necessary.

  • Apply for Financial Aid/Student Loans from your home province as per the standard application method.
  • Apply for residence at UCalgary if you will be living on campus.
  • Check to make sure you have been reinstated to the Health & Dental Plan.

Your exchange/research advisor will email you a link to your Post-Exchange/Research Questionnaire after your program wraps up. We would really appreciate you taking the time to fill it out as thoroughly as possible, as this will help us to advise future students.

If you received International Study Travel Grant funding, or other funding through University of Calgary International, you also need to complete the International Study Travel Grant Program Report. The grant report is a separate requirement from the questionnaire mentioned in above and can be found in the drop-down section #2 on the grant page

Don't forget to register for and attend the Returning Students Night held every semester (an invitation will be emailed to exchange/internships/research students once the date is set).

The session includes information on incorporating your study abroad experience into your resume and using your experiences in job interviews, amongst other advice. We'll work on coping strategies for re-entry culture shock/disorientation (and you can talk to others going through similar experiences), and discuss other opportunities for going abroad again (internships, volunteering, grad school abroad, etc.). 

Next Steps

For Group Study, internships, and non-credit bearing research programs:

Your program advisor will email you a link to your Post-Program Questionnaire after your GSP, research, or internship program wraps up. We would really appreciate you taking the time to fill it out as thoroughly as possible, as this will help us to advise future students.

If you received International Study Travel Grant funding, or other funding through University of Calgary International, you also need to complete the International Study Travel Grant Program Report. The grant report is a separate requirement from the questionnaire mentioned in above and can be found in the drop-down section #2 on the grant page

"Ain't no mountain high enough"

Luke Iremadze

Other important information

  1. Mandatory Program Report

     If you received International Study Travel Grant funding, or other funding through University of Calgary International, you also need to complete the International Study Travel Grant Program Report. The grant report is a separate requirement from the questionnaire mentioned in above and can be found in the drop-down section #2 on the grant page

  2. Promotional Requirements

    If you received an International Study Travel Grant you will be required to complete promotional requirements as set out on the travel grant page. This helps us to build awareness across campus and ensure other students know about their international opportunities and the benefits of study abroad. There will be a number of promotional opportunities throughout the Fall and Winter semesters, and opportunities for those of you who will not be on campus.

    The International Study Travel Grant page details some of the ways you can complete your promotional requirement. You will receive emails from intlstdt@ucalgary.ca with further details as opportunities arise. You can also create your own promotional/ marketing opportunities, such as submitting an article for a Faculty or Department newsletter, in which case you will need to connect with intlstdt@ucalgary.ca for approval, and for reporting when you complete your own promotional activities. 

Only for exchange/research programs that awarded transfer credit:

If you are planning to graduate soon, or applying to any after-degree or graduate program, please make sure to follow up with your UCalgary exchange/research advisor to let them know. 

The deadline for transcripts to UCalgary for convocation is not the same as the application deadline - if you're unsure of whether you will need expedited transcripts or not, please contact your home exchange advisor. 

For graduate/after-degree program applications:

Most applications require both official UCalgary transcripts AND official transcripts from your host university.
You'll need to know how to have additional official transcripts sent from your host university (and how long that process takes) as the copy originally sent to your exchange/research advisor for transfer credit cannot be used for grad school applications, unless you are applying for a program at UCalgary that has access to your transcripts through Synergize. If you are applying to a UCalgary program, you should confirm if the program at UCalgary has access to your exchange transcripts through Synergize. 

Keep in mind that obtaining extra transcripts is not always as simple or as quick as an online form to fill in the way it is here. We do not keep extras on file beyond 12 months of your program completion. Many universities will not/cannot triage the transcripts directly, so we recommend a request date 2 months or more in advance of deadlines, especially if they need to be sent through our office. We also recommend keeping in mind host university staff holiday periods in December and summer holiday periods (commonly June - August, but may differ depending on your host university academic calendar), as request turnarounds may be even longer at this time. 

With transcript requests for grad school applications, please include a list of all graduate programs, forwarding addresses, transcript format requirements, and deadlines for your UCalgary advisor to have to assist the triaging of transcripts. Also note that some universities no longer issue physical official transcripts for environmental purposes, and are instead converting to issuing e-transcripts only. 

Want to find Graduate programs abroad? See our section on going abroad again below. 

  1. Get global in Calgary

    There are lots of opportunities to help out and gain volunteer experience at the same time - you can become a Study Abroad volunteer for University of Calgary International, or apply for a position as a Study Abroad Promotions Assistant (PA) (a paid position at our office to help promote study abroad to others). You can also participate in International Student Service's (ISS) Mentorship program to help out incoming international students as they adjust to life on campus - and your participation is recognized on your co-curricular record! Other opportunities include but aren't limited to:

    • Volunteering at Go Global Day each September
    • Helping out at a marketing booth or table
    • Promoting programs at Faculty-specific study abroad fairs
      ...and more opportunities as they arise!
  2. Get creative!

    • Keep a journal or love to write? Write a post for our UCalgary Abroad Blog (which can count towards study travel grant promotional requirements!). If you're interested in submitting something, please contact our Promotions Coordinator at intlstdt@ucalgary.ca with your blog idea (no completed blogs please). She will work with you to make sure your blog fits our requirements. 
    • Love to capture the moment? Film a video for our International Video Contest each Fall (which can count towards study travel grant promotional requirements!).
    • Have a good eye for composition or have great selfie game? You can also share your photos in our International Photo Contest each Winter to showcase your creativity and experiences abroad. Last year, prizes included lift tickets, gift certificates to restaurants, theatres and camera stores, t-shirts and more! Note: The entry deadline of our photo contest will be in January, so keep an eye out for more info on this!
  3. Alumni

    Join the Canadian Learning Abroad Alumni Community LinkedIn Group! This group is specifically for Learning Abroad Alumni who wish to network with others who have had similar experiences, find posted opportunities such as speaking at CBIE or institutional conferences or presentations, if you are interested in articles, posts and information on Learning Abroad and its link to soft skill development, or want assistance with career-finding and tips and hints on how to integrate your experience into interviews, your resume, or Linkedin profile.

  4. USpeak Global

    Improve or learn a second (or third, fourth, etc,) language! You can sign up for the USpeak Global Program on campus to improve or practise a new language while teaching your own at the same time. For more details on applications and deadlines, see the link above. 

This doesn't have to be the end of your international experiences:

  • You may be able to go abroad again through UCalgary! You can research semester, spring, summer, or block week Group Study Programs, semester or summer exchanges, research opportunities, or internships to cap off your degree on the program finder.
  • For working abroad, check out International Experience Canada, a program offered by the government of Canada assisting young adults under 35 years of age who want to work or intern abroad. 
  • MyWorldAbroad is available to you through your UCalgary email account! For legacy access once you've graduated, contact study.abroad@ucalgary.ca to permit access to MyWorldAbroad under a non-Calgary email.
  • Don't forget to check out other International opportunites around campus! UCalgaryCares runs service-learning programs to places like Costa Rica, New Orleans, the Yukon, and Toronto and participation is recognized on your co-curricular record!
  • Don't lose your intercultural experience! The Government of Canada's Country Insights's "Cultural Information" sections on each country were developed by expats and locals, comparing the local culture to Canadian culture in a helpful guide that can help you prepare for any vacation or trip abroad.  

GRADUATE STUDIES ABROAD
For post-graduate studies abroad, you can browse sites such as: 

You can also search online for funding/opportunities for Masters programs abroad. 

UCalgary also offers a variety of International Exchange or Faculty-led opportunities for Masters students in Law, the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies,  Haskayne (MBA), and Environmental Design. CMSS, Law, and some EVDS partners are searchable here

Important Dates