UCalgary Campus

New international student checklist

Use this guide to help prepare for your studies and arrival in Calgary. It also contains important COVID-19 updates.

COVID-19 updates

The Government of Canada has announced the removal of COVID-19 border and travel measures effective October 1.
For more information please visit the COVID 19 Travel Canada website 

After you've received your letter of acceptance

Updated: Aug. 2022 

As a new international student, you'll be automatically enrolled into our pre-arrival program on D2L 1–2 months before the term begins. The program provides important information you need to know as an international student before and after your arrival to Calgary.

The course contents consist of videos, infographics, and texts that'll help your transition to Canada and UCalgary. You will find step-by-step list of tasks that're important for you to complete as an international student. 

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.  
 
You should also review the resources below. If you still have questions, contact our regulated immigration advisor team.  

Starting each May, the New Student Registration Assistance team helps new students select their courses. Check your Student Centre (my.ucalgary.ca) to find your course enrolment start time.  

Faculty advisors are best-suited to answer questions about your course enrolment, course requirements, and/or program progression. View the list of faculty advisor contacts  

Additional resources: 

Finalize your course schedule through your Student Centre account (my.ucalgary.ca). Add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any outstanding tuition and/or fees by the term deadlines. It's best to pay early because international payments take several business days to process.    

Learn more about how to pay your fees.

There are many services you can access once you’re a student. These services are included in your fees and they enhance your student experience.  

UCalgary Student Services 

UCalgary Student Life  

 

The International Student Services (ISS) team is one of many offices at UCalgary that’ll support you throughout your studies. We’re excited to be welcoming you—whether you’re located in Calgary or joining us remotely. Visit the ISS Contact Us ISS contact us page to meet the team. 

Learn more by exploring the website, and watch this short video for an overview of our programs and services. Be sure to follow us on our social media accounts, and feel free contact our team to ask questions.

Explore Enrolment Services' website for information about finances, awards, financial literacy resources, and more.  

Find out what to expect when living in Calgary and consider how you'll prepare for upcoming costs:

Watch the Welcome Webinar on the "Finances and planning for the year ahead" section of theISS webinar website. 

Find a Welcome Webinar. 

Before you travel to Calgary

Updated: Aug. 2022 

Travel restrictions may change rapidly. You're responsible to stay informed and review any messages from UCalgary.  

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 three 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're transiting through.  

Consider important term dates when booking your flight. View dates in the UCalgary academic calendar 

Decide whether you'll apply for on-campus housing through Residence Services or if you'll look for off-campus housing once you're in Calgary. 

Travel and quarantine requirements can change. Check the ISS COVID-19 FAQ page for updates.  

The ISS team recommends you arrange short-term accommodation for your first few days/weeks in Calgary. Once you're in Calgary, visit any long-term rentals you're interested in so you can meet the landlord and roommates, and sign your rental agreement. Don't sign a lease or send more than a small application fee before you've 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'll need to arrange: 

  • how to pay rent each month 
  • set up of utilities, if applicable (such as heat, electricity, telephone services, and/or internet) 
  • household goods, if needed (such as dishes, furniture, etc.) 
  • 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 and 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 

Find a Welcome Webinar 

ISS strongly recommends all students purchase travel medical insurance so you have coverage while you're traveling to Calgary and until you're certain your coverage through AHCIP and the GSA/SU plans is active.  

Your options will depend on whether you're studying in Alberta for a short time or a full degree. It's critical that you understand your options and make arrangements before you arrive in Calgary.  View the ISS medical insurance webpage 

Review the Welcome Webinar "Healthcare and Medical Insurance in Alberta"  

Find a Welcome Webinar 

Learn about Calgary weather to decide which types of clothing to bring with you, and what you may wait to buy in Calgary (if needed). Watch the "Weather in Calgary" Welcome Webinar.

Important Documents 

Carry all required entry documents with you. Don't 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 UCalgary acceptance letter, and your enrolment verification letter (if you've already enrolled in courses).  

Review the ISS COVID-19 FAQ page for requirements related to proof of COVID-19 vaccination.  

Other considerations:

  • Where are you traveling to? Make sure you have the address for your accommodation in Calgary.  
  • Are you bringing a cell phone, laptop, or other devices? Bring a charger and 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.  

Government of Canada: travelling with medication 

Find a Welcome Webinar 

Watch this short video for an overview of helpful numbers to know for your health and safety on campus and around Calgary. 

Campus safety supports and important contact numbers:

  • Campus Security/Safewalk (24-hour) - 403.220.5333 
  • SU Wellness Centre and After-Hours Support - 403.210.9355 
  • City of Calgary Emergency Services (ambulance, fire, police) - 9.1.1 

We also recommend you find the nearest consulate location and contact details for your country of citizenship. 

Free phone apps to download: 

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).  

YYC Customs & Immigration 

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.  

YYC Airport Frequently Asked Questions 

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.  

UCalgary does not currently provide a pick-up service. There are several transportation options available to travellers:

  • Taxi: 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. 

  • Uber:Usually Uber costs a bit less than taxi. Through the app they'll 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: Public transit will take longer than a taxi or Uber, but it will cost less. The Calgary airport is served by public buses that can then connect you to the CTrain (Calgary’s light rail system). There's a CTrain station at UCalgary called University Station; it's on the "red line" or "201 route." Visit the Calgary Transit webpage for routes, fare information, and schedule. 

We recommend you pay for a taxi or Uber if you're tired from your travels, have heavy luggage or several bags, or are arriving at night. Calgary Transit isn't available 24 hours per day. 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. 

Getting around Calgary 

Let them know you've safely arrived in Calgary and update them again once you've arrived at your accommodation.  

Getting settled

ISS strongly recommends all international students purchase tenants/renters insurance. We also encourage you to review your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.  

ISS housing website 

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. To protect your privacy, don't give your contact details to unknown parties. 

Social Insurance Number (SIN) 

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're in Canada and have your study permit, passport, letter of enrolment, and proof of address. Keep in mind:

  • 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. three months early).  

Avoiding scams 

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, SIN, etc.) or finances with them (to receive 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.

Things to do to keep safe: 

  • 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 and/or block suspicious phone numbers 
  • Ask for a number to call back later 
  • Research a potential rental property or job opportunity 

If you're uncertain about the legitimacy of any communication, please speak to ISS or someone you trust before taking any action or sharing any information.


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.  

ISS: Banking  

UCalgary MoneySmart: financial resources 

Choose a mobile provider and cell phone plan that meets your needs.  

ISS: Choosing a cell phone plan 

If you'll be living in Alberta for 12 months or more, you're 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're not automatically registered.  

If you'll be living in Alberta for less than 12 months, you'll likely need to purchase medical insurance if you haven't already. 

ISS: Medical insurance 

Also, if you're 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.

ISS: getting familiar with UCalgary campus 

Register for and attend International Student Orientation.  

The Faith and 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. 

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. Check out Unwind events.  

The Students' Union provides undergraduate students with clubs, volunteer opportunities, supports, awards, advocacy, and more. Visit the SU Clubs website to get involved.  

The Graduate Student Association provides graduate students with groups and committees, volunteer opportunities, awards, bursaries, advocacy, and more.  

These short videos will introduce you to Career Services and the key services and support for finding jobs and developing your career.  

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 in Calgary. 

There are many mental and physical health resources through Student Wellness Services (SWS) that can help. SWS provides holistic support for students’ mental and physical health with professionals dedicated to helping students’ reach their goals. 

Whether you're studying in Calgary or are studying from elsewhere, it's important to prioritize your wellness - especially during the pandemic.  

ISS also has a Welcome Webinar titled, "How to adjust to living in a new city."  

Find a Welcome Webinar 

The Student Success Centre (SSC) is running a free D2L course called Introduction to Online Learning. Within each content area, you'll also find links to resources and study strategies for online learning success. You can register at https://survey.ucalgary.ca/jfe/form/SV_eA7Er4Cz2TWC4dL.  

Are you studying remotely? 

Check out this document Studying at UCalgary from outside Canada for resources and services to help you navigate your remote learning experience. 

Academic Integrity 

Throughout your time at university, you're 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. 

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. You can also attend academic integrity workshops, and testing your knowledge in one of the academic integrity quizzes and scenarios available on D2L. View academic integrity resources. 

UCalgary's Libraries and Cultural Resources 

There are many experts, services and resources available through Libraries and Cultural Resources. This interactive orientation gives you a big-picture of these that will come in handy for your first year at UCalgary. Learn more Libraries and Cultural Resources. 

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. UCalgary also has resources for practicing English and learning or sharing additional languages. 

ISS: language learning resources