Canada is a top destination for Postgraduate studies by Nigerians, Indians, Chinese and many others. I wrote a blog post previously, about why you should choose Canada for postgraduate study. That post received wide shares with exciting feedbacks.
Getting admitted and obtaining a temporary resident visa (TRV) is the biggest hassle initially. Upon arrival at Canada, you’re welcomed into a new world entirely.
For Nigerians and Africans, the ‘strangeness’ can be a big worry. Canada is extremely cold and a highly developed country. Depending on the province, there would be peculiar challenges that needs information or a help to resolve. Hence this post.
HOW DO I SURVIVE AS A FRESH INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IN CANADA?
This tips would definitely help. The list is not exhaustive, so you can add yours at the end.
1. Get Accommodation: Every international student in Canada needs a place to put up. Accommodation for Students can be classified into two: on-campus and off- campus.
On-campus accommodation is usually the hostels, provided by your University. You can choose to have a single room or to have roommates. On-campus accommodation is limited, it is also expensive but has facilities needed for good life. The major disadvantage is that during semester breaks or holidays, students vacate the hostel. Such student would need an accommodation before the school resumes again.
Off-campus accommodation is basically renting an apartment around the university. Student can choose their taste and pair up to reduce cost. Cost vary across the Canadian provinces. Rent is paid monthly. You can check Canada homestay network or Canada student accommodation for contact or cost information about off-campus accommodation in your province.
2. Find your way around campus or the city: As a new student, finding your day way around campus and your city would be a challenge. This also includes knowing bus routes and bustops so you wouldn’t be carried away, far from destination.
A solution to this is to make use of Google maps. Take notes of the names of buildings and streets. Also, keep major landmark in memory so you can always describe your present location. When in doubt, politely ask someone close by.
3. Open a Bank Account:
One of the things to be done within a week of arrival is the opening of bank account. This is a straight forward process but has a handful of documentation.
Prepare your personal ID to begin. This can be your international passport, TRV, Acceptance/Admission letter. Some banks will also accept your school-issued student card as valid ID, especially if the bank is within the university vicinity. Take any two ID to the closest bank of choice.
There are five major banks across Canada, they are Bank of Montreal BMO, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada RBC, Scotia Bank, Toronto Dominion TD. The choice of bank should be based on the service they put on offer. Ask questions about charges, minimum deposit etc. It is better to open a checking/current account. Get your debit card for withdrawal on ATM and purchases on POS or web
4. Get Basic Documents
5. Integrate with fellow students
6. Health Insurance
7. Get Gocery and Shopping Deals
8. Join a church
9. Attend Lectures and Make positive Impression
10 . Activate your Work Permit