Are you a Foreign Student

Are you a foreign student?

Many young and older people come to Canada, as foreign students. For the majority of students, studying abroad can be exciting and challenging, as well as difficult for them, especially at first.   

If you are a foreign student, who is just starting your first semester, be aware that foreign students who come to Canada are always welcome in universities, for their diversity of culture and experience. The majority of faculty members and students in university settings will be willing and able to assist you.

Consider the following tips.

Be aware that you may be placed on ‘academic probation’ for the first semester, to make certain as to whether or not you qualify for a specific university program.

Note that the article,   “Studying in Canada” may be helpful to you and that there may be questions that you have with respect to being in Canada to study as a foreign student. For example, you may require a temporary resident visa while you are studying, if you have not already obtained one. You may also need study and work permits. It may be your desire to apply for citizenship, at some time in the future.      

How to make the most of your first semester in study abroad can vary from student to student, as university curriculums vary, as do different faculties.


Most international students will already have done a fair amount of research, frequently online, with respect to university programs, before they come to Canada. Many foreign students will have had their academic credentials checked out by the university Registration Department and will have been notified of their acceptance in a specific program, at the university of their choice.

If this has not happened, it is important to make certain that you, as a foreign student, or a foreign student on an exchange program, have met all of the basic requirements for university registration. In other words, confirm your registration with the university first, as well as your enrollment in a specific academic program. You may decide to make some changes.  

Note that while there may be misunderstandings because of language barriers, these can usually be resolved. At times, having, or finding a translator is important.

Registration fees, or other unanticipated fees like student union fees, may still need to be paid. You will need to purchase books or other supplies. It is also important that you know where to purchase these, as well as when and where your classes will be.       


Once you have established the viability of your registration at a university with acceptance into a specific university program, it is important to find an appropriate place to live. Many universities have accommodations for foreign students, who want to live on campus. The foreign student office may be able to advise foreign students of other appropriate accommodations that are located off-campus. They will have also cafeterias, or be able to suggest where foreign students can obtain their meals.  


Attending classes is vital for foreign students, as obtaining course outlines immediately is important. Your professors and their tutors will clarify the date, time and the location of your classes, as well as any basic requirements or supplies needed for specific classes or projects. You will also be advised as to when your papers or assignments are due, tests or exams scheduled, etc.    

Talk to your professors:

While many foreign students feel frightened, insecure or intimidated by some professors and students at times, most academic problems can be resolved by talking with professors. They will answer questions and give advice on different areas of academic concern. You will know the expectations they have for their students. Remember that many of them will have been international students at one time or another, as well. There will likely be foreign student counselors who can offer guidelines, or assist in other ways.     

Preparing for your first semester may appear to be a major hurdle and a challenge, but if you do your part and meet the university expectations, the rest of your academic career will be easier and ultimately rewarding, too.