Checklist for Newcomers - Foreign Student

 

3+ months - Before you leave home

Moving

Take Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (or the French language test required by each particular institution). For more details visit ets.org.
Apply to university or college programs.
Complete the required medical examination by a Designated Medical Practitioner after submitting your visa application.
Consider taking additional language courses to continue your mastery of English or French if you are not proficient.

Banking

Open a bank account with a Canadian bank. This will make it easier to transfer funds to Canada and is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring money into the country. It also means you will have your funds readily available when you arrive, making it easier to settle in Canada. For example, to rent an apartment you may be asked to show proof of funds, which you will be able to provide with a bank statement if you have already opened an account and transferred your funds.
Visit the RBC student site, www.betterstudentlife.ca, for information about studying, living and banking as a student in Canada. You will find a range of tools and resources to help you manage your finances in Canada

Living

Check the websites of the schools you are applying to for information about student life in Canada, including the cost of tuition, books, accommodation, food and transportation
Make a budget so you know how much you will need to complete your studies. You’ll find a budget calculator at www.betterstudentlife.ca.

1 - 3 months - Before you leave home

Moving

Apply for a study visa once you are accepted to a college or university.
Make sure you have a valid and current passport.
Begin packing your belongings, starting as early as you can to avoid a last-minute rush.
Check rates and usage with your cell phone provider and think about whether you will keep your cell phone until you have settled in Canada. Otherwise, start the process of closing or suspending your phone

Banking

Make sure you have enough money in your bank account(s) to last your first year at school. Include: tuition, books, supplies and living expenses.
Start depositing money into your Canadian bank account so you have ready access to the funds you’ll need.

Living

Contact the student housing office of your school to make arrangements for short-term or long-term accommodation.
Make sure you can leave possessions you won’t need at home or store them. Depending on how much you plan to bring with you, find out the costs to ship separately or take as luggage on the plane.
Your school will probably provide a list of items that you will need as a student living in residence. Note any restrictions on what you may have in your room.
Collect official documentation of vaccinations or immunization. Contact your doctor or public health clinic if you need to be immunized.
If you plan to drive, request a reference from your auto insurance company and get a driving experience letter from your local transport authority. This can help you to get a waiver on the mandatory waiting time to take your driving test and may help lower the cost of auto insurance.
Shop for clothing appropriate for the area of Canada you’ll be living in. Visit the website for the city or region where you’ll be living, or look on your school’s website. (For example, a warm coat and boots in winter are essential.) You may need to order them online if your climate is very different or to purchase some clothing or footwear once you arrive.

Working

If you plan to work, make sure you have an updated electronic copy of your resumé (in a standard Canadian resumée format) or a detailed list of any work experience. You can search for the commonly used resumé formats in Canada on the internet. Job search websites may also have advice and tips on resumé writing.

Less than 1 month - Before you leave home

Moving

Apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) if you’re currently a student, so you can take full advantage of student discounts.
Review the list of what you can and can’t bring to Canada.
Finish packing your belongings, and make a list of what you’ll be taking.

Banking

Order Canadian dollars from your bank, so that you have enough cash to cover out-of-pocket expenses the first few days after arriving. If you have opened a Canadian banking account from your home country when you first arrive in Canada, you will need to come to the branch, submit your documents and activate your account. You will then be able to access the money in your account.
Transfer funds to your Canadian banking account. When you arrive you may be asked by the immigration authorities to prove that you have the required funds to support yourself and your family. Already having the funds in your Canadian banking account will make this easiery. to your Canadian banking account. When you arrive you may be asked by the immigration authorities to prove that you have the required funds to support yourself and your family. Already having the funds in your Canadian banking account will make this easier.
Check how much money you will be bringing into Canada in the form of cash, cheques, travellers’ cheques, money orders, bankers’ drafts, stocks, bonds, debentures or treasury bills. You must report amounts of $10,000 or more, whether in Canadian dollars or the equivalent amount in your country’s currency, to Canada Border Services Agency when you enter Canada.

Living

Provide your temporary address and contact information to parents, family and friends.
Make sure your address book is up-to-date so you can stay in touch with friends and family back home.
Gather important documents together in a safe place, to carry with you when you move, including: school transcripts; driver’s licence and International Driving Permit (IDP) if available in your country (not available in China). You might want to enclose these in a folder or booklet with plastic jackets to protect them while providing easy access.
Photocopy all important documents in case the originals are lost and keep them in a safe place separate from the originals.
Obtain a six months’ supply of any medications you take, since the cost of medication in Canada is often higher and you will not have insurance to cover the costs right away. You also may not get exactly the same brands that you are accustomed to taking.
Make sure you are covered by adequate medical insurance, either your own private insurance or then through the university. Your university will often require that you have some medical insurance coverage before you start your school year.

Working

If you plan to work, contact your school about on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities.