New international students to Canada often reach out to us seeking information on important things to bring, getting new mobile connection, activating their GIC, creating resume, building network, finding part-time job, and health insurance.
It can also be challenging for international students in new country, especially when they don’t have any immediate support or guidance or friends.
As you prepare to study in Canada, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and resources to navigate the intricacies of life in Canada.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to help international students prepare for their study in Canada.
Idea of this article is provided by an international student, Raj Patel who is coming to Canada in August 2023 for fall intake. You can also submit your ideas to be published by INC – Immigration News Canada.
When preparing to travel to Canada as an international student, it’s important to pack smartly and efficiently.
Here are some key items to consider bringing from your home country:
- Clothing: Pack suitable clothing for Canada’s varying seasons, including warm winter attire and lightweight summer clothes (casual, daily wear, and business outfits).
- Consider purchasing a proper summer jacket and boots after arriving in Canada, as local shops often offer more suitable options compared to those in your home country. Take advantage of the “Black Friday” sales at the end of November for the best deals on winter essentials.
- A lot of newcomers to Canada bring utensils with them, but now-a-days all of these are available in Walmarts and Indian stores in Canada.
- Personal Documents: Carry important documents like your passport, study permit, acceptance letter, medical records, and academic transcripts.
- Electronics: Bring essential electronics like laptops, mobile phones, and chargers, and ensure that they are compatible with Canadian power outlets. Otherwise, you can buy this after landing in Canada from stores like Costco, BestBuy, etc.
- Medications: If you have any ongoing medical conditions, ensure you have an ample supply of necessary medications and also ensure that you have prescription for controlled medicines.
Disprin, Paracetamol/Dolo, Combiflam, Antibiotics, etc are the common medicines that people bring from India.
Choosing a Suitable Mobile SIM Provider
Staying connected in Canada is crucial, and choosing the right mobile SIM provider can offer various benefits.
Always remember, you will get free wi-fi at college campuses and mostly at the place that you will rent. So you can buy mobile plan with less data allocation.
Here are some reputable options:
- Freedom: Mobile plans can start as cheap as $25 per month. Furthermore, you can also activate 1,000 minutes direct calling to India and China at $15 per month.
- Rogers: Rogers is a well-established telecommunications company in Canada known for its nationwide coverage and reliable service, but not as cheap as Freedom. However, there network is widely spread. They offer a range of plans tailored to different needs, including data-heavy options for students who rely on Internet access for research and communication.
- Bell: Bell is another major player in the Canadian telecommunications industry, offering excellent network coverage and a variety of student-friendly plans. They provide reliable connectivity and flexible data options, ensuring that you stay connected without breaking the bank.
- Telus: Telus is renowned for its fast and reliable network, making it an attractive choice for students seeking seamless connectivity. They offer a range of plans suitable for different budgets and data needs as well as additional perks such as student discounts and rewards programs.
- Fido: Fido is known for its affordable plans and flexibility, making it an ideal choice for students on a budget. They offer a variety of data options, including unlimited plans and pay-as-you-go options.
Activate your SIM card as soon as possible to start enjoying the benefits of reliable mobile connectivity during your studies in Canada.
Opening a Student and Activating GIC Account
Opening a student bank account and a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) account is essential to apply for study permit as an international student, for managing your finances effectively during your studies in Canada.
You will need to take your Investment Directions confirmation, valid passport, Letter of Enrolment from your DLI (or student ID card), Study Permit, and Welcome Letter.
You can choose one of the below listed major banks in Canada for your student account.
Crafting an Impressive Resume
- Crafting an impressive resume is an essential step in your job search journey. By highlighting your relevant skills, tailoring your resume for each job application, including extracurricular activities, and seeking professional guidance, you’ll significantly increase your chances of catching the attention of prospective employers and securing part-time employment in Canada as an international student.
- Highlight Relevant Skills: Start by identifying the key skills, experiences, and academic achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Tailor your resume to emphasize these aspects and showcase how they make you a strong candidate for the position. This may include technical skills, language proficiency, customer service abilities, or specific industry-related knowledge.
- Tailor for Each Job Application: Avoid using a generic resume for all job applications. Instead, customize your resume to align with the specific requirements and qualifications sought by each employer. Study the job description carefully and adapt your resume to showcase how your skills and experiences directly address the employer’s needs. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the position and increases your chances of being selected for an interview.
- Include Extracurricular Activities: Employers in Canada often value well-rounded individuals who can contribute beyond their academic achievements. Highlight any extracurricular activities, such as leadership roles in student organizations, volunteer work, sports participation, or club memberships. These experiences demonstrate your diverse skill set, teamwork abilities, and commitment to personal growth.
Building Connections in Canada
Networking is an essential component of building a successful career in Canada.
It not only helps you establish valuable connections but also provides opportunities for mentorship, job referrals, and professional growth.
Here are some effective ways to grow your network and build connections:
- Join Student Associations and online groups: Participating in student associations and groups related to your field of study is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. These associations often host events, workshops, and networking sessions where you can meet fellow students, faculty members, and industry professionals. Engaging in these activities allows you to expand your network while gaining insights and knowledge from experienced individuals.
- Attend Career Fairs and Networking Events: Universities and colleges frequently organize career fairs and networking events that bring together employers, recruiters, and students. These events provide an excellent opportunity to interact with professionals from various industries, learn about job opportunities, and make meaningful connections.
- Engage in Online Networking Platforms: In today’s digital age, online platforms have become instrumental in connecting professionals worldwide. LinkedIn, in particular, is a powerful tool for building your professional network. Create a compelling LinkedIn profile that highlights your skills, experiences, and career aspirations. Connect with professionals in your industry, join relevant groups, and engage in discussions to expand your network virtually. Utilize LinkedIn’s search function to find alumni from your educational institution who are currently working in Canada.
Remember, networking is a two-way street. It’s not just about what others can do for you, but also about how you can add value to their professional lives.
Actively engage in conversations, listen attentively, and offer support and assistance when appropriate.
Building genuine and meaningful connections takes time and effort, but it can greatly contribute to your personal and professional growth in Canada.
Securing Part-Time Employment
International students often find it difficult to get a part-time work to supplement their income while studying in Canada.
Especially when a lot of international students come in a particular intake, it becomes even harder to find a job.
Restaurant, cafes, and food stores are best recommended for international students to work at, given that they will also be able to save on their meals.
Here are some effective strategies to help you secure part-time employment:
1. Explore On-Campus Opportunities: Universities and colleges often have job boards and career centers that advertise part-time positions within the campus community.
Finding a job on-campus allows international students to work more than 20 hours, but they are limited.
These jobs may include working at the library, administrative offices, research labs, or student services departments.
Keep an eye on these opportunities and actively apply for positions that align with your skills and schedule.
Create an account, upload your resume, and search for part-time positions near your location.
Use relevant keywords to refine your search and regularly check for new postings.
Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your skills and demonstrate how you can contribute to the specific job requirements.
3. Approach Local Businesses: Take the initiative to personally visit local businesses in your area and look for signs “help needed.”
Furthermore, enter local businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, cafes inquire about any available part-time job opportunities. Prepare a copy of your resume and a brief introduction about yourself.
To get a job in local businesses, you do not need to essentially speak in English; you can even speak in Punjabi or Hindi (if it’s Indian or Pakistani place of business) and let them know that you are available for work.
For formal businesses, dress professionally and present yourself as a motivated and reliable candidate. Networking with the local community can also be beneficial in uncovering hidden job opportunities.
4. Consider Volunteering: Volunteering with organizations related to your field of interest can provide valuable experience, networking opportunities, and potential referrals.
Seek out volunteer positions in non-profit organizations, community centers, or industry-specific events and conferences.
Volunteering not only enhances your skills but also demonstrates your dedication and commitment to your chosen field.
Additionally, it allows you to expand your network and connect with professionals who may be aware of part-time job openings.
Provincial Health Coverage: Most provinces in Canada provide health coverage for international students, except Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon.
You can use the below links to get official details on applying for provincial health coverage other than Ontario, PEI, Quebec, and Yukon.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
International students in Canada must purchase health insurance for the duration of their stay.
When provincial health insurance is unavailable, students are frequently required to purchase private coverage.
This is often possible through their Canadian education institution. Institutions in provinces that do not provide international students with provincial healthcare coverage may require them to subscribe to mandatory health plans, while other institutions may offer optional coverage plans.
Always check with your education institution for healthcare coverage by visiting their website or contacting student assistance.
How to Apply SIN?
International students need to apply for SIN (Social Insurance Number) at Service Canada. Without SIN, international students cannot work in Canada.
Check out the below detailed article on how to apply SIN.