Arriving in Calgary

Use this guide to plan for important steps as you prepare for your studies and arrival in Calgary. The Welcome Centre student staff can help answer questions along the way.

New Student Checklist

After Receiving Your Letter of Acceptance

University of Calgary Documents: carefully read any documents or emails you receive from the University of Calgary, so you are aware of any steps you need to complete or important deadlines.

Register for Courses: know when you can register for courses and what you need to do. Helpful resources are available through the Office of the Registrar. Exchange students should contact iexch@ucalgary.ca with questions.

  • Fall 2020 New Student Registration Assistance: Students can access course registration support by booking an appointment which will be attended via Zoom, or by emailing in queries. Support is available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm MDT, from May 1 to August 28, 2020. Learn more here

International Student Services: learn about the services and programs that our office provides. Sign up for programs that interest you!

Request a UCalgary Student Mentor: Get connected with a current UCalgary student mentor even if you will be in Calgary or start remotely this Fall 2020!

New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation—it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and resources that help you succeed at university

UNICARD: Please submit your photo online to obtain your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD). If you are not on campus this Fall and need proof of student verification (such as an enrollment verification letter), you can access the documentation through your myucalgary.ca portal.

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines.  

    • Exchange students must pay fees student services fee. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

Exchange Student?: If have any questions related to your exchange study, contact iexch@ucalgary.ca or more information

After Receiving Your Letter of Acceptance

University of Calgary Documents: carefully read any documents or emails you receive from the University of Calgary, so you are aware of any steps you need to complete or important deadlines.

Canadian Immigration Documents: Questions about study permits and visas? We have Immigration Advisors ready to assist you (issimmigration@ucalgary.ca).

Plan for Your Expenses: learn about what to expect for expenses in Calgary and what strategies you will use along the way.

Accommodation Options: decide whether you will apply for on-campus housing through Residence Services or if you will look for off-campus housing once you are in Calgary.

Medical insurance: your options will depend on whether you are studying for a short time or a full degree. Visit our website to learn more. It is critical that you understand your options and ensure you arrange any necessary medical insurance coverage. If you have questions, contact our advisors (iss@ucalgary.ca).

Travel Arrangements: book your flights so that you have time to attend New International Student Orientation and arrive before classes start. Learn about transportation options in Calgary. Plan your flights to arrive in time to meet any requirements by Canada’s Public Health (such as the requirements of self-isolation)

Register for Courses: know when you can register for courses and what you need to do. Helpful resources are available through the Office of the Registrar. Exchange students should contact iexch@ucalgary.ca with questions.

  • Fall 2020 New Student Registration Assistance: Students can access course registration support by booking an appointment which will be attended via Zoom, or by emailing in queries. Support is available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm MDT, from May 1 to August 28, 2020. Learn more here

International Student Services: learn about the services and programs that our office provides. Sign up for programs that interest you!

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Before You Travel to Calgary

Arrange a place to stay! If you are not moving directly into on-campus Residence, arrange for temporary accommodation for your first few days while you settle or search for long-term off-campus accommodation. There are student deals for several budget-friendly hotels near campus as well as options for isolation accommodations; learn more on our website.

Request a UCalgary Student Mentor: Get connected with a current UCalgary student mentor even if you will be in Calgary or start remotely this Fall 2020!

New Student Orientation: Register for international orientation —it’s a great opportunity to learn information about adapting to life in Calgary and resources that help you succeed at university

UNICARD: Please submit your photo online to obtain your UCalgary student identification card (UNICARD). If you are not on campus this Fall and need proof of student verification (such as an enrollment verification letter), you can access the documentation through your myucalgary.ca portal.

Prepare for Your Arrival: We recommend you travel with some Canadian finances (or plan to exchange some when you arrive in Calgary) to pay for any immediate needs such as food, transportation, and temporary accommodation.

  • Know where you are travelling to in Calgary. Bring a copy of the address with you.
  • Are you relying on a cell phone or electronic devices? Remember your charger and an adaptor.
  • Do you need to travel with medication?  Learn how to travel with medication and what documentation you need to bring with you.

Travelling with Important Documents: Make sure you carry all required entry documents with you when you travel to Canada. Do not pack these in your suitcase—keep them with you at all times. Important documents to carry with you include your passport (with visa, if required), immigration letter authorizing your Study Permit, and your University of Calgary acceptance letter and enrollment letter (if you have already enrolled in courses).

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Once You Have Arrived in Calgary

Canadian Finances: we recommend you prepare Canadian finances (such as cash or international credit card), so you have them ready in case you encounter any issues with your bank card or have immediate small expenses as you get settled.

Please note that due to COVID-19 situation, many places and stores do not accept cash anymore because of hygiene issues

Check-in with family or friends: let them know you have arrived with online options

Cell phone: choose a mobile provider and cell phone plan that meets your needs

UNICARD & UPASS: Once you are on campus, pick up your official student identification card (UNICARD) at the UNICARD office and, if you are a full time student, your transit pass (U-PASS). The U-PASS is included in tuition for most degree-seeking students; exchange or visiting students will need to pay for it as a part of their fees ($145).

COVID-19 updates: you should submit your photo for the UNICARD online in advance to minimize in-person contact; UPASS is not available this semester, however, the university is requesting City for provision of low income transit pass. Learn more.

To assist students with their transportation during this time, arrangements have been made to purchase Calgary Transit Adult Ticket books at a discounted price.

Book of 10 single use tickets = $21.00 (40% savings from retail price). Ticket books will be sold at certain locations, effective Aug 4. You may need to present your UNICARD or proof of active student status when purchasing. For more information, please visit here.

Accommodation:

On-campus: Move-in informationrental insurance information

Off-campus: Stay in temporary accommodation while you explore convenient off-campus rental options. Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and ask questions before signing a lease. 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)

COVID-19 update: Whether it’s your first time in Calgary or travel back to Calgary, it is important that you isolate yourself and whoever travels with you to Canada as a requirement followed by the Government of Canada’s instruction 

Banking: If are opening Canadian bank account, 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 near campus—find one that is convenient for you (view our website).

Opening an account remotely (COVID-19 Updates)

The required isolation time when first arriving in Calgary (and Canada) may cause some problems related to setting up a bank account. To help you settle your journey in Canada faster and save your time for later, do your research in advance to find a bank that meets your needs and allow remote banking setup options during your quarantine. Visit our banking resources for more information.

Apply for Provincial Healthcare: If you will be living in Alberta for 12 months or more, you are eligible to register for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). You must register within your first 90 days in Alberta—you are not automatically registered. Learn more here.

If you will be living in Alberta for less than 12 months, you will need to purchase medical insurance if you have not already. Learn more here.

Social Insurance Number (SIN): If you are eligible to work in Canada or intend to receive income (eg. scholarships) in Canada, you must obtain a confidential nine-digit number. Learn more HOW TO ACCESS SERVICES ONLINE here. You will need your study permit, passport, and letter of enrollment.

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.

Keep 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. Make sure you know when your study permit will expire.

Campus Safety Supports & 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) - 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
  • COVID-19 Tracing Apps: ABTraceTogether to support the work of public health workers with contact tracing of COVID-19

UCalgary Courses & Tuition Payment: Finalize your class schedule through your Student Centre account--add (or drop, if necessary) courses and pay any remaining tuition by deadlines.

  • Exchange students must pay fees student services fee. Check your fees through your Student Centre. Payment options are available here.

Exchange Student?: If have any questions related to your exchange study, contact iexch@ucalgary.ca or more information.

Find Your Classrooms: Your Student Centre includes your course schedule with times, dates, and locations. Prepare for your classes using the UCalgary Interactive Room Finder.


Landing at the Airport

When you land at the Calgary International Airport (YYC) you will need to go through Canadian customs if you have arrived on an international flight. You will collect your baggage after speaking with a border agent. If you are arriving on a domestic flight you can go directly through to the main terminal where you collect your baggage there.

Check and see what you require in order to successfully pass through Canadian Customs.

While at the airport, if you need any assistance just find one of the many “White Hat” Volunteers for a warm Calgarian welcome. These volunteers are happy to chat with you and even walk you through the airport. They are easy to spot wearing their white cowboy hats. There is also an information booth at the airport on the arrivals floor where you can ask for additional help.

The University of Calgary campus is located approximately 18 km west from the Calgary International Airport. Visitors have several options for ground transportation from the airport to the University of Calgary. Below are transportation options:

  1. 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 the University campus is approximately $40. It takes around 35-45 minutes depending on traffic. If you are tired from your travels, or if you have heavy luggage, the extra cost of taking a taxi rather than using public transit may be a good idea.
  2. Uber
    Requesting an Uber from the Uber app might be a good alternative to a taxi. 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.
  3. Public Transit 
    If the cost of a taxi may be an issue, you may wish to use the Calgary Transit system.  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. Make sure you are on the train heading North Bound towards Tuscany Station. Visit the Calgary Transit webpage (http://www.calgarytransit.com) for bus routes and fare information. Before you get off the bus, be sure to get a 'transfer' from the bus driver which will allow you to use Calgary Transit for 90 minutes without having to pay another fare. Using Calgary Transit may be difficult and long if you are carrying large amounts of luggage or arriving at night.

Please note: Calgary Transit is not a 24-hour service. If you plan to arrive in Calgary late at night, check to make sure your transit route is still running. Again, transit schedules can be checked at www.calgarytransit.com.

Plan Your Travel

If you are travelling from the airport to your accommodation (either on or off-campus), one helpful website or app is “Google Maps”. You can use this website to view travel times and compare routes between using public transit, a ride-share service like uber, or driving/taxi.

To protect yourself and the public health, it is recommended not to use Public Transit when arriving in Calgary from other countries.