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As an international student, starting university in a different country comes with additional responsibilities that domestic students are free from worrying about, particularly if you don’t have a Canadian passport or Permanent Residence. These are the tasks you want to get out of the way as quickly as possible, ideally before the school year begins to really get busy after September. In order of importance, you’ll need to...

 

Make sure to pay tuition on time

This applies to everyone regardless of your status as either a domestic or international student, but as an international student late payments bring the added worry of causing immigration issues. In order to be registered as a full-time student you need to have paid full-time semester fees and be enrolled in at least 3.0 FCEs.

Register for UHIP coverage

I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to register for your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage at the beginning of the school year. Something could happen to your health at any moment, and it’s easy to forget about that until you actually need to go to the doctor’s and realise you don’t have your UHIP card—which is what usually happens to most people. 

 Get another government-issued ID

This is important if your only government-issued ID happens to be your passport. Your passport is the worst thing to lose, and it’s especially unsafe to bring your passport with you on a night out. You have a few options. You could register for an Ontario Photo Card at Service Ontario, or if you plan on acquiring a Canadian driver’s license, your G driver’s license works too. Also, check with your home government on whether they issue ID cards. 

Find out your working limits

If you’re keen on working part-time in Toronto, you need to first find out how many hours your student visa allows you to work. It’s usually more than enough to squeeze in a part-time job, which is as much as U of T’s workload will most likely allow you anyway. There are a number of campus jobs that are available to international students, and the Career Centre on campus will inform you on and assist you with the application process for these jobs.

Join a club!

I urge every student at every university to get involved and increase their chances of finding people with whom they have passions in common. But for an international student, it serves the double purpose of also finding people who they may share the same cultural background. There is a Clubs Fair every year during Frosh Week, and even if frosh events aren’t for you, this is the one event you’d best not miss.

 

These tasks are tedious and mundane, but all you need in order to complete them is the correct information. Most of the information you need can be found at your go-to destination for any such inquiries: the Centre for International Experience (CIE), located across from the bookstore on St. George Street. U of T is notorious for being convoluted or insufficient when giving information through their website, so another good online destination is Facebook, like facebook.com/groups/groupsatutoronto, where people in different U of T Facebook groups can answer your questions based on what they’ve experienced in university.

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