New International Student Checklist
Use this guide to plan for important steps as you prepare for your studies and arrival in Calgary. Check for important COVID updates too!
After You've Received Your Letter of Acceptance
Updated: April 1, 2022
Carefully read all documents and emails from the University of Calgary. These messages will include important reminders and deadlines.
Set up your UCalgary email account and check it regularly.
Apply for your study permit. Review the resources below. If you still have questions, contact our regulated immigration advisor team.
Each fall term, the New Student Registration Assistance team helps new students. Check your student centre to find your course enrolment dates.
Faculty Advisors are best-suited to answer questions about your course enrolment, course requirements, or program progression.
Undergraduate students: Enrolment Services registration guide
Graduate students: Faculty of Graduate Studies registration
Exchange students: Study Abroad Incoming Exchange FAQ
Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account - add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines. It's best to pay early in case international payments take several business days to process.
There are many services you can access once you are a student. These services are included in your fees and enhance your student experience.
International Student Services (ISS)
The International Student Services (ISS) team is one of many offices at UCalgary that supports you throughout your studies. We are excited to be welcoming you—whether you’re located in Calgary or joining us remotely.
Visit the ISS Contact Us page to meet the team!
Explore the Registrar's Office website for information about finances, awards, financial literacy resources, and more.
Find out what to expect in Calgary and consider how you'll prepare for upcoming costs.
Watch the Welcome Webinar on "Finances and Planning for the Year Ahead"
Watch the Welcome Webinar on "Resources for students with families"
Before you Travel to Calgary
Updated: April 1, 2022
Travel restrictions, flight cancellations, and last-minute changes are always possible. We recommend you purchase travel insurance in case your plans change.
You must arrange at least 3 hours between an arrival flight in Canada and a connecting flight to Calgary. This allows time to collect your bags, go through Canadian immigration, clear Canada Customs, complete your Arrival PCR test (if selected/required), and transfer to the domestic terminal for your connecting flight.
Review the official website for any airport that you are transiting through.
Consider important term dates when booking your flight.
Travel and quarantine requirements can change. Check the ISS COVID-19 FAQ page for updates.
The ISS team always recommends that you arrange short-term accommodation for your first few days/weeks in Calgary. Then, once you are in Calgary, visit any long-term rentals you are interested in, meet the landlord and roommates, and sign your rental agreement. Do not sign a lease or send more than a small application fee before you have visited an accommodation in person.
Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and ask questions before signing a lease after you've arrived in Calgary. Take care to avoid rental fraud with these tips. We strongly recommend you have a written lease (rental agreement). You will need to arrange:
- How to pay rent each month
- Utilities (if applicable: heat, electricity, telephone services, internet)
- Household goods (if needed, furniture)
- Rental Insurance (strongly recommended to protect your belongings; usually $15-30 CAD/month based on your individual situation)
The ISS: Housing page has information about short-term accommodation, long-term accommodation, as well as quarantine information (if relevant).
There are two helpful Welcome Webinars on this topic:
- Choosing Accommodation in Calgary (compares on and off-campus options)
- Finding Off-Campus Accommodation in Calgary
ISS strongly recommends all students purchase travel medical insurance so that you have coverage while you are traveling to Calgary and until you are certain your coverage through AHCIP and the GSA/SU plans is active.
Your options will depend on whether you are studying in Alberta for a short time or a full degree. It is critical that you understand your options and make arrangements before you arrive in Calgary.
Review the Welcome Webinar "Healthcare and Medical Insurance in Alberta"
Learn about Calgary weather to decide what types of clothing to bring with you--and what you might wait to buy in Calgary (if needed). Watch the Welcome Webinar "Weather in Calgary".
Carry all required entry documents with you. Do not pack these in your suitcase. You should have them with you at all times. These include: your passport (with visa, if required), immigration letter authorizing your Study Permit, your University of Calgary acceptance letter, and enrolment verification letter (if you have already enrolled in courses).
Review the ISS COVID-19 FAQ page for requirements related to proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Where are you traveling to? Make sure you have the address for your accommodation in Calgary.
Are you bringing a cell phone, lap top, or other devices? Don't forget to bring a charger and an adaptor for North American outlets (if needed).
How will you pay for immediate expenses? Travel with some Canadian cash and/or a pre-paid VISA card or international credit card. This can help you cover immediate food, transportation, and temporary accommodation needs.
Do you need to bring medication? Learn about required documentation and regulations for traveling with prescription medication.
Watch this short video for an overview of helpful numbers to know for your health and safety on campus and around Calgary. These are great to familiarize yourself with even if you aren’t studying in Calgary yet.
Campus Safety Supports & Important Contact Numbers
- Campus Security/Safewalk (24-hour) - 1-403-220-5333
- SU Wellness Centre and After-Hours Support - 1-403-210-9355
- City of Calgary Emergency Services (ambulance, fire, police) - 911
We also recommend you find the nearest consulate location and contact details for your country of citizenship.
Free Phone Apps to Download:
- UC Emergency App: informs you of on-campus emergencies
- Transit, Google Maps, Calgary Transit, Uber: helpful for directions, maps, and public transport
- The Weather Network: to help plan your day, travel, and clothing options
Landing at the Calgary International Airport (YYC)
If you've entered Canada through a different airport, review that airport's website in advance for help with navigation and what to expect.
International Travelers who land at the Calgary International Airport (YYC) will go through Canadian Customs and Immigration.
You must have your identification and immigration documents with you at all times (securely with you or in your carry-on bag).
The Calgary International Airport website has useful maps, frequently asked questions, and guidance on making your arrival as easy as possible. Take some time to review the website.
While you are in the airport, you may see volunteers wearing white cowboy hats. These are friendly "White Hat Volunteer" who can direct you or answer your questions. Learn more here.
The YYC International Airport has information about planning travel in Calgary
Ensure you follow any current Public Health Measures in Calgary and any current quarantine requirements. The ISS COVID-19 FAQ page is a helpful place to start to review travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and mask bylaws.
The University of Calgary does not currently provide a pick-up service. Generally, there are several transportation options available to travellers.
A taxi stand can be found immediately outside of the Arrivals area (follow the signs for “ground transportation”). The cost from the airport to Residence Services (on-campus accommodation) is approximately $40. It takes around 35-45 minutes depending on traffic.
Usually Uber costs a bit less than Taxi. Through the app they will let you know where in the airport to meet. Keep in mind that Uber costs may vary according to demand (rush hour or rainy days can increase the cost), so comparing prices is important before requesting an Uber or Taxi.
- Public Transit
Using public transit will likely take longer than a taxi or uber, but will cost less. The Calgary airport is served by public buses that can then connect you to the "C-Train" which is Calgary’s Light Rail system. There is a C-Train station at the University of Calgary called University Station along the "red line" or "201 route". Visit the Calgary Transit webpage (www.calgarytransit.com) for routes, fare information, and schedule.
If you are tired from your travels, have heavy luggage or several bags, or are arriving at night, we recommend you pay for a taxi or Uber. Calgary Transit is not available 24-hours. If you have low phone battery or are uncertain you'll be able to use an Uber app, a taxi will be easiest.
Plan Your Travel
Another helpful website or app is using “Google Maps” to view travel times and compare routes between using public transit, a ride-share service like Uber, or driving/taxi.
Let them know you've safely arrived in Calgary. Update them again once you have arrived at your accommodation.
ISS strongly recommends all international students purchase tenants/renters insurance. We also encourage you to review your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Watch this short video to get started: Food, Housing Goods, and Other Shopping
Update Contact Details: once you have your new phone number and address, update your Calgary address and telephone number in your Student Centre account. Do not release your contact details to unknow parties to protect your privacy.
Pick up your UNICARD (student identification).
Obtain an Alberta Identification Card (optional).
Watch this short video to get started: Alberta ID Card & UNICARD
A SIN is a confidential nine-digit number that you need to have in order to receive an income in Canada. A SIN is required to apply for some government benefits and services (such as tax rebates). You can apply online once you are in Canada and have your study permit, passport, letter of enrollment, and proof of address.
Keep Your Documents Secure.
Save pictures of your passport, study permit (and visa, if relevant); keep insurance and rental agreements saved securely somewhere electronically for future reference. Put a reminder in your phone or calendar so you know when your documents expire in advance (eg. 3 months early).
As a new resident of Canada, you may not know how to spot a scam or what’s normal for legitimate communication from businesses or government agencies. It’s extremely important to review the information below so you know what to watch out for if you receive a suspicious phone call, text message, email, rental, or job opportunity.
Common scams include phone calls, emails, or messages where the caller is fraudulently posing as a representative from an authority or organization (Canada Revenue Agency, IRCC, Alberta Health Services, or the Calgary Police). Their goal is to intimidate you into sharing your personal information (banking details, Social Insurance Number, etc.) or finances with them (payment by e-transfer, credit card or gift card, or bit coin).
It’s also important to be aware of fraudulent job postings or rental accommodation opportunities.
- Keep your personal information and documents safe
- Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize
- Use caution before clicking links in texts or emails
- Hang up—block phone numbers
- Ask for a number to call back later
- Research a potential rental property or job opportunity
If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of any communication, please speak to ISS or someone you trust before taking any action or sharing any information.
Please familiarize yourself with examples of common scams, how to keep your information safe, and how to report a scam if you think you’ve fallen victim to one:
You must bring two pieces of identification (such as passport, driver’s license, student identification card). We recommend you bring your UNICARD and letter of enrollment to ask about student deals.
There are several banks located on campus, as well as nearby. Find one that is most convenient for you.
If you will be living in Alberta for 12 months or more, you are likely eligible to register for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). This plan is free for Alberta residents and covers basic services and works together with your GSA or SU plan. You must register within your first 90 days in Alberta—you are not automatically registered.
If you will be living in Alberta for less than 12 months, you will likely need to purchase medical insurance if you have not already.
Also, if you are eligible to opt out of coverage or want to add family members, you usually must make these changes to your SU or GSA health and dental plans within the first month of your program. Learn more:
Use the ISS guide to explore campus buildings, facilities, and learn some helpful tips!
Register and attend International Student Orientation!
The Faith & Spirituality Centre (FSC) encourages cultural and religious literacy, community building, and social change as an integral part of the student experience. Watch this quick video introduction to the FSC.
Leadership and Student Engagement is committed to helping every student thrive. Through new student orientation, facilitating peer connections in leadership and student life programming, and serving the community through ucalgarycares, the LSE connects students to one another, and to the wider campus community. Check out Unwind Events.
The Graduate Student Association provides graduate students with groups and committees, volunteer opportunities, awards, bursaries, advocacy, and more.
Navigating a new culture
Take this opportunity to learn acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
Watch the Calgary Foundation's: Stories of the Land: Acknowledging Treaty 7 Territory
Learn about ii' taa'poh'to'p the UCalgary Indigenous strategy
Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and discomfort that someone may feel when adjusting to living in an unfamiliar place (or navigating a new online learning experience). As an international student studying at UCalgary and living in a new city, you’ll likely experience some form of culture shock during your time here in Calgary.
There are many mental and physical health resources through Student Wellness Services that can help! UCalgary Student Wellness Services provides holistic support for students’ mental and physical health, with professionals dedicated to helping students’ reach their goals.
Whether you are studying in Calgary or are studying from elsewhere, it is important to prioritize your wellness, especially during the pandemic.
ISS also has a Welcome Webinar "How to Adjust to Living in a New City"
Learn about the resources provided through the Student Success Centre (SSC) through these short videos. You’ll meet Jennifer Parsons, International Academic Development Specialist.
The SSC is running a free D2L course called Introduction to Online Learning.
- The goal of this module is to provide first-time University of Calgary online students with opportunities to learn about and practice with common technology tools associated with online courses. These include:
- Attending lectures and participating in lectures through Zoom
- Using discussion boards
- Online group work and setting up group study sessions
- Submitting course assignments
- Completing online tests and quizzes
Within each content area, you will also find links to resources and study strategies for online learning success. You can register at https://survey.ucalgary.ca/jfe/form/SV_eA7Er4Cz2TWC4dL After receiving your registration, a Student Success Centre staff member will enroll you in the course within 2-3 business days, after which time, the course will appear within your list of D2L courses.
Are you studying remotely?
Check out this fantastic document "Studying at UCalgary from outside Canada" for resources and services to help you navigate your remote learning experience, created by the Student Success Centre, International Student Services and the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.
Throughout your time here at university you are expected to maintain the highest level of honesty in your academic work. You achieve this by maintaining academic integrity. But what does that mean? Academic integrity is a core value of the university and ensures that we are able to build a community based on honesty, trust and integrity. Maintaining academic integrity while earning your degree represents your true academic accomplishments.
We are a diverse community, and your current interpretation of academic integrity may be different to the expectations of the University of Calgary. Many of our international students are aware of academic integrity but are unaware that different universities, different countries, and different cultures may articulate academic integrity differently. Therefore, it’s vital for you to understand what academic integrity means at the University of Calgary and how to ensure that you uphold it.
Support and Resources
The university offers a wide range of supports and resources to help students understand academic integrity. A great place to start is by reading the Student Academic Integrity Handbook, attending one of the academic integrity workshops and testing your knowledge in one of the academic integrity quizzes and scenarios available on D2L.
The UCalgary Library
There are lots of experts, services and resources available in Libraries and Cultural Resources to you as a new International student. This interactive orientation gives you a big-picture of these that will come in handy for your first year at UCalgary
Many students practice their speaking and listening skills in informal, social environments by joining a student club or committee on campus, a sports team or fitness class, volunteer program, or faith community. These are just some examples.
UCalgary also has resources for practicing English and learning or sharing additional languages.
Join the ISS team for presentations that will answer many of your questions. New and returning international students can register.
Prepare for your UCalgary academics. Attend a webinar through the Student Success Centre.
International Student Orientation
Attend orientation events. You'll get valuable information to help you succeed in your UCalgary studies.