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 Study Abroad office (mailing address here). DO NOT send them to Enrolment Services, the Awards office, or your faculty/academic advisor. 

    Note: check with your host university international office if they require anything else before they will send your transcript (such as an exit report, transcript forms, etc.).

    If your host university doesn’t issue official transcripts in hardcopy, please provide your study abroad advisor with a link/verification code to access the e-transcript. The e-transcript can also be sent to your advisor by email at study.abroad@ucalgary.ca.

  2. Graduating soon?

    If you're graduating or applying to convocate soon after your exchange, make sure to tell your UCalgary study abroad advisor. You should also provide your advisor with an alternate email address so that we can reach you if you lose access to your UCalgary email.

    If you're concerned about transcripts arriving in time for convocation deadlines, please check with your study abroad advisor before asking your host international office to expedite transcripts. Exchange transcripts have a different deadline than the normal convocation deadline.

    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 deadline. Use the UCalgary website to check deadlines and complete your registration.

Note: all updates from UCalgary about course registration will be sent to your UCalgary email account. Please be sure to check it regularly. If you’re having issues with your email, contact itsupport@ucalgary.ca.

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. 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 in next semester, you will need to work with your academic advisor for your course registration progress. Once you return from your time abroad, bring your course/unit outlines from your studies abroad to your academic advisor. Doing this can help you with any course registration issues and ensure 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 study abroad advisor (you do not need to provide a second copy to Awards). If your transcripts & transfer credit has not been processed by the deadline, Awards will contact your study abroad advisor directly to ask for a copy. 

If you are applying for UCalgary awards and know that your transcript will come in near or after the deadline, please inform your study abroad advisor in advance. Your advisor may need an interim transcript 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 SU or GSA 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 attend the Returning Students Night (also called Re-Entry), which is held every semester! An invitation will be emailed to all returning exchange/internship/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 discuss other opportunities for going abroad again (internships, volunteering, grad school abroad, etc.). This is also meant as a social night for you to connect with other students returning to Canada alongside you and talk about your time abroad.

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 program returns from the field. 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 the International Study Travel Grant (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 here

"Ain't no mountain high enough"

Luke Iremadze

Other important information

  1. Mandatory Program Report

    If you received the International Study Travel Grant funding (or other funding through UCalgary 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, linked here

  2. Promotional Requirements

    If you received an International Study Travel Grant, you will be required to complete promotional requirements. 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 distance options for those of you who will not be on campus.

    The International Study Travel Grant page, linked here, details some of the ways you can complete your promotional requirement. You will receive emails 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). Please follow the instructions on the grant page to get approval for creating your own opportunity like this.

Students who received transfer credit for international exchange & research programs:

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 study abroad 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, again, please contact your UCalgary study abroad advisor. 

For graduate/after-degree program applications:

Most grad school 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 Global Learning Ambassador for UCalgary International and support other UCalgary students hoping to go abroad. You can also participate in International Student Service's Mentorship program to help out new international students as they adjust to life on campus. For both these programs, you'll get credit on your co-curricular record! There are also various one-off volunteer opportunities for Study Abroad events throughout the year, such as Go Global Month, info booths, faculty abroad fairs, and more.

  2. Get creative!

    Keep a journal or love to write? Write a post for our UCalgary Abroad Blog. If you're interested in submitting something, please contact study.abroad@ucalgary.ca with your idea (no completed blogs please). We'll work with you to make sure your blog post meets the requirements. 

    Love to capture the moment in a visual way? Showcase your creativity and experiences abroad by entering the International Video Contest (Fall semester, video entries typically due in November) and/or the International Photo Contest (Winter semester, photo entries typically due in January).

    Note: your creative content may count towards travel grant promotional requirements!

  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! The USpeak Global Program on campus will help you improve or practice a new language while teaching your own at the same time. For more details on applications & deadlines, see the link above. 

This doesn't have to be the end of your international experience!

  • You may be able to go abroad again through UCalgary! Use the program finder to check out semester, spring/summer, or block week Group Study Programs, semester or summer exchanges, research opportunities, or internships to cap off your degree.
  • 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 for free 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 opportunities 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.

Interested in continuing your studies abroad with a Masters or post-graduate degree? To find opportunities, you can browse sites such as: 

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

If you're continuing your studies at UCalgary, there is a variety of international exchange or other study abroad opportunities for Masters students in faculties such as Law, the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic StudiesHaskayne MBA, and Architecture (SAPL). Faculties may advertise their own opportunities separately, but some faculties (e.g. CMSS, Law, SAPL) are also searchable on the Study Abroad Program Finder here

Important Dates