International Students Guide

International Students Guide

Are you thinking of going to school in Canada? Many international students choose to study in Canada each year. Canadian universities are among the best in the world. Once you have been accepted at a school in Canada, you may apply for a study permit at the Canadian Embassy or at the Canadian Consulate General. Look for workshops run by the Canadian consulate that help new students prepare for their move to Canada. The university that you’ve been accepted to may also offer workshops or provide resources online. These resources will help make your transition to Canada easier.

You’ll want your valid study permit or temporary resident visa, passport, birth certificate and immunization and health records up to date and ready to go when you leave. You’ll find a complete list of essential documents and important items as well as helpful tips at Citizenship and Immigration Canada . Make sure all your documents are either in English or French so that they can be accepted and understood by organizations in Canada. If not, have them translated and notarized.

What is UHIP (University Health Insurance Plan)?

UHIP is the mandatory university health insurance plan in effect at Ontario universities. The plan provides eligible university students with medical coverage comparable to that received by Ontario residents. For more information click here.

Where do I get my UHIP Card?

Pick it up at York International 200 York Lanes during office hours, at the start of every academic year. Bring your passport or other official identification with your picture as well as identification from York University that has your student number. You must sign for receipt of your card and therefore we are unable to mail it to you. It is not always possible for proof of coverage to be issued same day. *If you are a Glendon student, pick your card at Glendon’s Office of Student Affairs.*

What does UHIP pay for?

UHIP pays for eligible hospital services, physician services, osteopath and podiatrist services, ambulance, diagnostic, laboratory and x-ray services, dental surgery when performed in a hospital, out-of-province/Canada emergency care and repatriation at levels comparable to those received by Ontario residents under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Who is the UHIP insurer?

The UHIP insurer is Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life). For further information on UHIP please refer to York International website or the UHIP booklet.


Monetary and Banking Needs

Canada offers special programs to assist certain types of immigrants, including scholarships for international students. Find out whether you’re eligible.To study in Canada, you’ll need to have a good understanding of English or French. If you’re looking to upgrade your language skills, Canada offers many programs, both private and free.

Canadian universities usually have lots of housing options for students. Some also have "sponsor" programs where students live in the home of a Canadian host family.
If you need temporary housing when you first arrive, you may want to look into hotels/motels, as well as Bed and Breakfasts in the area or the home of family or friends who already live here. Most schools offer up to three free nights with a student host or a Canadian host family. Check out the following website in order to apply for Awards, Bursaries, and Scholarships pertaining to International students. Your college also has a lot of opportunities for international students to  get involved and even some College specific Awards and Prizes.


Upload money on your YU card for scholar Dollars which allows you to save money on books, food, and printing, use your York U card as a debit card by utilizing the card to make purchases in local campus stores.

Opening a Canadian account

One of the first things you’ll want to do is set up a bank account. 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. You will be able to show your proof of funds easily and have the money available immediately when you arrive, making it easier to settle in Canada. For example, if you are looking to rent an apartment and have already opened an account and transferred funds, you will be able to provide a bank statement as proof of funds. A wire transfer is one of the safest and most cost effective ways for you to bring your money to Canada. You will need to give your bank in your home country the following information:

•    Your complete name and address
•    Your five-digit transit number (including all zeros) for the account being used to receive the wire     payment*
•    Your seven-digit account number for the *insert bank name here* account being used to receive the wire payment*
•    Your bank name as “------------”
•    Your complete bank branch address
•    Your bank’s SWIFT BIC (Bank Identifier Code)

Investigate purchasing student medical insurance from your home country before you leave. This may be a requirement for your visa application, and considering the cost of medical expenses in Canada may be a wise thing to do. Although Canada has government sponsored health plans, all provinces do not extend this service to foreign students. Even if your university extends coverage to you under their insurance plan, you may not be covered until the first day of school.



The international student perspective brings new challenges and difficulties to managing mental health. As a result, York International has launched a mental health awareness campaign to address the challenges and barriers that international students face. Visit this link for more information.

International Student Advising

Stay on top of your academic progress by booking an advisory session in the beginning and at the end of each semester to ensure that you are on the right track.

Advising for international students is available at York International, 200 York Lanes, on a walk-in basis. Advisors can assist you with your questions on matters of immigration, finances, housing, employment on campus, and social and cultural issues. Advising is also available by e-mail.

E-mail Advising:
Faculty and Degree Advising is offered through the respective faculties further information can be found at the York University website.

Making the move

When you’re organizing your move to Canada, it is helpful to set a target arrival date. Then, prepare a timeline based on what needs to be done and when. Booking tickets early may also help you save on the cost of your ticket.
Get in touch with friends and family in Canada who may be able to help you prepare for your move and get settled quickly and easily once you arrive.


International students are interested in working while they are studying at York University. Working on-campus and/or off-campus provides international students with great Canadian work experience! It also allows for networking and preparation for a career. For further information on how to apply for work permits click here


Toronto has a very large transit system, the third most heavily used in North America .It consists of buses, streetcars, subway lines, and the quasi-subway Scarborough Rapid Transit line. Buses and streetcars are prone to get caught in Toronto's notorious traffic during rush-hours, though some streetcar lines have dedicated lanes. Cash fare is $3.25 (discounted to $3.00 if you buy 3 or more tokens at a time). It should be noted that when using the subway, one can just pay $3.00 as booths sell tokens, anyway. As of this year the transfer time is now increased to 2 hours. Always ensure to check bus schedules to avoid delays, service interruption and most importantly arriving late for class! Be aware that some token vending machines are out of service, but do not have signs on them to indicate that, otherwise making it safer to use manned ticket booths whenever possible.
Click here for an interactive look into the TTC subway.

Taking a taxi is a very expensive form of traveling in the city, so you should avoid doing this unless absolutely necessary. The price of a taxi ride is determined by a meter and not by the driver. Therefore, the amount of money the driver asks for cannot be negotiated and is the price you must pay. The fare will be displayed on the electronic meter in the front beside the driver. You can ask for an estimate of the price when you first call the tax office for a ride. If you must take a Taxi, UBER may be cheaper as there are budget-friendly options (Uber Pool, Uber X). You can download the UBER app on your phone.


If you are going to be making international calls with your phone whilst you are in the Canada, avoid paying that high prices that most companies charge and get an  International Phone Card. Also when choosing a phone plan think about the length of your stay here in Toronto and if it would be beneficial for you to purchase a 3 year contract!


  • Eliminate the morning mocha or cappuccino at the local coffee house. That adds up over four years.

  • If you simply must have coffee, buy a coffee maker. It will save you a lot of cash.

  • For breakfast, oatmeal is very affordable, nutritious, easy to make, and filling.

  • Collect Coupons and review the weekly sales at the grocery stores.

  • There are numerous cultural food options on campus.

  • The University grocery store located in  York lanes offers fresh produce and vegetables for affordable student prices

  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated- make sure to bring a reusable water bottle that you can fill up practicably anywhere on campus!

  • With over 65 food vendors on campus, there's a place for every craving and budget.

  • Meal Prep options- buy in bulk and get a head start on your week.

  • Remember to always remain within your set budget in order to avoid any financial mishaps.

  • Avoid upscale markets.

  • Don’t buy bottled water unless the tap water is unhealthy.

  • If you’re not living in a dorm bring your own lunch to school.

  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.


  • Put on more layers of clothing instead of turning up the heat.

  • Use a free or inexpensive Internet phone calling service. VoIP calls have increased in quality.

  • Buy used university textbooks.

  • For exercise go to an on-campus gym. You can usually use the equipment for free.

  • If it’s not necessary don’t have a car while attending university. You can save a lot of money this way.

  • University students can get Microsoft Office for free. You can check out the instructions to download Microsoft Office here.

  • Take advantage of student services. A lot of universities have numerous free services.

  • Resist the Urge to Splurge!!!!!

Rack Up On Free Stuff

University students always have access to free things, they just have to look for it. University students always have access to free things such as yearly academic agendas, free T-Shirts, discounted printing services at the YFS printing Centre, through YFS. The YFS Wellness Centre offers free in-house and take home rentals for your well being.

There are even sites on the internet that offer free samples for an array of things. 
Use these tips and save money. When you graduate, you’ll be glad you did!