International Student Orientation Online

Welcome!

We at ISS are excited to welcome you to UCalgary.

Together with colleagues from across the University, we've gathered resources and created online content to help you get acquainted with the services and support available to you.

Scroll on to explore our online orientation content! The ISS team recommends that if you are starting your studies in Winter 2021, you review this page prior to attending the Virtual International Student Orientation Panels on January 7 & 8.

Please also visit our International Student Orientation website where you can register for our live events, in early December. We look forward to seeing you then!

Featured events



Introduction

*Did You Know? Topics below marked with an *asterisk* have virtual workshops or webinars coming up! Check them out in the ISS Events Calendar (located under the EVENTS tab at the top of the ISS website). 

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

Watch this video from the Calgary Foundation: Stories of the Land: Acknowledging Treaty 7 Territory

Watch the welcome messages below from Dr. Susan Barker, Vice Provost Student Experience and Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary.

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. Check the ISS Contact Us page to meet the team!

  • Learn more by exploring the website and watching this short video for an overview of our programs and services.
  • Stay in touch with our team by signing up for our email newsletter, following our social media accounts, and asking questions along the way by contacting our team. We’re here to help!

Take some time to review the content, suggested resources, and “to-do” tasks prior to the start of classes. You can work through this content at your own pace. If questions come up along the way, consider:

  • Requesting a mentor through the International Student Mentorship Program. Learn more here
  • Emailing the ISS advising team (iss@ucalgary.ca)
A group of multicultural people waving hello

Welcome from Dr. Susan Barker, Vice Provost Student Experience

Welcome from the Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi


Canadian immigration and working in Canada

Learn about the immigration advising services provided by ISS and important reminders from Lien Tran (RCIC, International Student Specialist — Immigration).

  • Fall 2020: Watch the video here.
  • Winter 2021: Watch the video here

*Welcome Webinar: If you’re planning your arrival to Calgary, consider attending "How to Prepare for Your Arrival in Calgary during the Covid-19 Pandemic", on Nov. 17 and Dec. 8. Register through the ISS Events Calendar

  • Did you miss this session? View past presentations under "Welcome Webinars". 

A SIN is a confidential nine-digit number that you need to have in order to receive an income in Canada. A SIN also makes you eligible to receive benefits and services from government programs (such as tax rebates). You can set up your SIN remotely.

Learn how Career Services supports you as an international student! These short videos will introduce you to key services and support for finding jobs and developing your career.

You’ll meet Liliana Gonzalez the career development specialist for international students.

A passport displayed with the Canadian flag

Staying healthy and safe

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 these exceptional times.

For further information about the many different services offered, please visit the Student Wellness Services Website.

Services for students both in Calgary and outside of Calgary:

Information and supports around navigating substance use:

General tips and ideas for navigating the pandemic:

Short informational videos on different mental health topics including: anxiety, stress, sleep, self-care, motivation and procrastination, healthy thinking and perfectionism:

If you’re planning to travel to Calgary, there are three important components to your medical insurance:

  1. Travel medical insurance: to protect you while travelling to Alberta and provide coverage if you arrive before the GSA/SU plans are active. 
  2. Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP): to cover basic services while you’re in Calgary
  3. The SU or GSA Health and Dental Plans: to help cover services not covered through AHCIP

Learn more about these important components (and what you need to do) on the Medical Insurance page.

*Welcome Webinar: If you’re planning your arrival to Calgary, consider attending "Healthcare & Insurance in Alberta" on Dec. 15 or Jan. 18. Register through the ISS Events Calendar

  • Did you miss this session? View past presentations under "Welcome Webinars".   

It’s important that you stay informed about how Covid-19 may affect aspects of your studies. Keep an eye on the ISS Covid-19 Frequently Asked Question page for regular updates.

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. You’ll meet Kirsty Gruber, Advisor International Student Transition Support.

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:

An updated video will be available by mid-January to review on the ISS website and in the ISS Newsletter. Subscribe here.

An illustration of four figures holding various wellness-themed items, like weights, waterbottles, and an apple

Navigating a new culture

Learn about the resources provided through the Student Success Centre (SSC) through these short videos. You’ll meet Jennifer Parsons, International Academic Development Specialist.

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.

*Webinar: Consider attending "Navigating Culture Shock" on Tuesday, Jan. 26 (10 - 11:30 a.m. MST), hosted by ISS and Wellness Services. Register through the ISS Events Calendar.

  • In this workshop, you will learn how culture shock functions, how to identify some potential signs of culture shock, and useful strategies that will support your physical, mental and emotional health.
  • You may experience culture shock at any point during your time here at UCalgary, so this workshop is open to all international graduate and undergraduate students in any year of study.
  • Keep an eye on the ISS and Wellness Services newsletters for offerings during the Winter 2021 term.

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 from outside Canada?

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.

If you’re an exchange student, make sure to review the Incoming Exchange information on the Study Abroad website. Or, contact iexch@ucalgary.ca with questions.

A group of people ranging from different ages and ethnicities against an orange background

Meeting other students and finding community

The ISS team and student leaders run social programs and remote events. Visit the ISS Student Life website tab to learn more about the programs, events, and best ways to stay in touch!

  • ISS events are low-cost or free opportunities for students to meet with other new and returning students. Check the ISS events calendar to see what’s coming up.
  • Global Families events are low-cost opportunities for students with children to meet other UCalgary students who are studying with families. Check the ISS events calendar for upcoming events.
  • USpeak Global is a language sharing program that is open to all UCalgary international and Canadian students. Sign up, if you are studying a language, have a general interest in languages, or if you enjoy helping others develop their own language skills.
  • International Student Mentorship Program is a program that connects new international students (whether studying remotely or in Calgary) with current UCalgary students during their first term studying with UCalgary. Sign up through our website.

The Faith & Spirituality Centre (FSC) encourages cultural and religious literacy, community building, and social change as an integral part of the student experience.

The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) offers a safe and welcoming place for students, staff, faculty, and the community to connect. Learn more through this quick video introduction to the WRC.

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.

If you’re an undergraduate student, it’s important to know what the Students Union does for you! Check out the website to learn more: su.ucalgary.ca. In particular, check out:

  • How to connect with a Student Club (to find other students with share interests)
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Student programs & services

January Clubs Week - Virtual Fair

Clubs Week will be held virtually on the ClubHub website from January 19 - 21. Take some time to explore the various clubs at UCalgary, learn about upcoming events for the term, and meet club executives. Details about the event can be found here.

For questions, please contact clubsoff@ucalgary.ca.

 

If you’re a graduate student, it’s important to know what the Graduate Student Association does for you! Check out the website to learn more: gsa.ucalgary.ca/. In particular, check out:

  • How to connect with a student group or committee (like the Newcomer & International Student Subcommittee)
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Student programs & services
Illustration of students mingling

Getting settled in Calgary

Many of the tasks below are outlined on our New International Student Checklist. Whether you’re starting remotely or in-person, it’s helpful to start thinking about these (future) tasks.

Visit the ISS Housing website to learn more about options in Calgary: ucalgary.ca/student-services/iss/resources/housing

*Welcome Webinar: Consider attending "Finding Off-Campus Accommodation" on Dec. 14. Register through the ISS Events Calendar

Watch this short video to get started: Food, Housing Goods, and Other Shopping

Watch this short video to get started: Alberta ID Card & UNICARD

Watch this short video to learn about getting around campus, biking in Calgary, Public Transit, Driving, and Taxis/Ride Share: Getting around in Calgary

Watch this short video to get started: Preparing for Calgary Weather

Visit the Finances website for information and helpful resources: ucalgary.ca/student-services/iss/resources/finances

 

*Welcome Webinar: Consider attending "Finances and Planning for the Year Ahead" on Dec. 7 or Jan. 18. Register through the ISS Events Calendar

  • Did you miss this session? View past presentations under "Welcome Webinars". 

Visit the ISS Information for Families website for helpful information: ucalgary.ca/student-services/iss/resources/information-families

*Welcome Webinar: Did you miss this session? View past presentations under "Welcome Webinars". 

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What's next?

It’s helpful if you review the information on this page before attending panel sessions on Jan. 7 & 8, 2021. Your registration for these panel is included if you already registered for Orientation (for undergraduate students) or the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Orientation (for graduate students).

Learn more here! Registration for these sessions will open in early December. Check back! All new international students will receive an email in early December with registration instructions.  

Virtual New Student Orientation (UCalgary Staff Panels)

Choose the session that best meets your needs, whether you plan to study while in Calgary or from outside Canada. 

  • New International Students Studying from outside Canada (9:30 a.m. MST, Jan. 7) 
  • New International Students Studying in Calgary (11 a.m. MST, Jan. 7) 

Virtual New Student Orientation (UCalgary Student Panels)

  • International Student Orientation Panel (10:30 a.m. MST, Jan. 8) 

Check here to find out how MST time compares to your timezone if outside Calgary!

Visit the ISS Getting Familiar with UCalgary Campus website for helpful suggestions from our staff and student leaders:  ucalgary.ca/student-services/iss/resources/getting-familiar-ucalgary-campus

Whether you’re starting your studies remotely or from Calgary, making acquaintances, attending events, and meeting new people will help you find community and make connections. No matter where you are, you’re a part of the UCalgary community, so get involved!

Check the ISS Events Calendar to learn more and register for the Welcome Social Events! Sign-up for one, two, or all three, based on your availability. 

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021: 9-10 a.m. MST
  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021: 4-5 p.m. MST
  • Thursday, January 7, 2021: 4-5 p.m. MST

In addition to the event recommendations throughout this page, keep an eye on the ISS Newsletter to see what’s coming up each week. It comes out every Wednesday! Sign up here.

Get advice from a current UCalgary student from a similar program and level of study! They can answer your questions about studying at UCalgary remotely or preparing to make Calgary your home! 

Welcome Webinar: Consider attending "Mentorship Program Information Session" on Nov. 23. Register through the ISS Events Calendar

  • Review the slides from the past Aug. webinar here
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