Winter Welcome 2023 for International Students

As a new international student to the University of Saskatchewan, there are a variety of programs available to ensure you a smooth and engaging transition to life at USask. The International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) offers programs at the beginning of each semester for international students:

  • Answers to all questions related to student life and settlement
  • Social opportunities to foster connections between students
  • Connect students with academic resources
  • Oportunties to see more of campus and the City of Saskatoon
  • And much more

Join the International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) for an information session before departing to Canada. This pre-arrival session will ensure USask international students have a smooth transition from their home country, during transit to Canada and their initial days in Saskatoon.

There will be two sessions that will cover similar content:

Join the International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) for an online orientation session for new international students starting in the Winter 2023 semester. Attendees will learn more about the programs and services available to USask international students. The orientation will provide new international students with the knowledge and skills they need to not only settle, but thrive at USask inside and outside of the classroom. The session will be both informational and interactive. We look forward to meeting you!

Register online here.

Settling to Canada as a new international at USask doesn't need to be hard -- and you certainly don't need to do it alone. Come to Welcome Centre for new international students and our International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) staff and volunteers will provide support anyway we can. We're here to answer any of your questions -- from banking, to health coverage, to making friends in Canada -- you may have in your first days on campus. All international students are encouraged to check-in to Welcome Centre and recieve a QR code from Discover Saskatoon for deals at local restaraunts and tourist sites.

The Welcome Centre opens on January 3 and will run daily until January 6. Join us in Room 70 Lower Place Riel.

No registration necessary -- just drop in on your own time.

ISSAC will be will be hosting a shopping trip at the Preston Crossing Shopping Centre for newly arrived students. This is a great chance to pick up all the essentials you will need for your stay in Saskatoon, including winter clothes, food, and small household items.

We will be taking a bus from the University at 2:30pm and returning back to campus at 5:00pm. Please note that since the bus will likely be full, do not purchase any large items.

Students must register in advance to participate. Spaces will be limited. Register via Eventbrite.

Experience the amazing Canadian sport of ice hockey!

The U of S Women's Huskies hockey team are taking on the Trinity Western University on Friday, January 6 at 7:00 PM at Merlis Belsher Place near campus.

Meet at the ISSAC Global Connections Student Lounge at 6:15 PM for an Ice-breaker and quick info session on the rules and history of Hockey in Canada. We will walk from the lounge at around 6:40 for the game at 7:00. Admission is free for USask students. Attendance is free with USask Student Card.

Register via Eventbrite.

Are you prepared for the winter weather in Canada as new USask International Student?

Join the International Student and Study Abroad Centre on January 5 at 1:00 pm (Central Standard Time), to learn about the winter conditions here, and how to dress for the season. We’ll also talk about the things you may do to stay active in winter! Those who sign up will receive a confirmation email with the event details.

Session will be held in person at the ISSAC Training Room, Room 70.3 Lower Place Riel.

Register via Eventbrite.

An hour-long session to learn about the practical tips and strategies that help you succeed in your undergraduate studies.

Start the Winter Term with confidence! Join us on January 9th at 2 pm (Central Standard Time) for an hour-long session to learn practical tips and strategies to help you meet your academic goals. Become familiar with campus resources that are here to support your learning, whether you are studying online or in-person, and understand some of the cultural norms that drive teaching and learning in a Canadian context. Those who sign up will receive a confirmation email with the event details.

Note: This session is for USask international undergraduate students. All USask international graduate students should attend this session instead: Being a Graduate Learner in Canada as a USask International Student

Register online.

An hour-long session to learn about the practical tips and strategies that help you succeed in your graduate studies.

Start the Winter Term with confidence! Join us on January 12th at 6 pm (Central Standard Time) for an hour-long session to learn practical tips and strategies to help you meet your academic goals. Become familiar with campus resources that are here to support your learning, whether you are studying online or in-person, and understand some of the cultural norms that drive teaching and learning in a Canadian context.  Those who sign up will receive a confirmation email with the event details.

Note: This session is for USask international graduate students. All USask international undergraduate students should attend this session instead: Being a University Learner in Canada as a USask International Student

Register online.

Before you arrive at USask

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not mandate a specific date for when international students should arrive in Canada. Instead, IRCC indicates that students "should just arrive to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to prepare before you start studying."

Please note that international students cannot work on or off campus in Canada until they start their academic program.

Many students also align their arrival to when their accommodation arrangements start, or when they can move into the Campus Residence, so they do not incur extra living expenses with an early arrival. Hence, it's a personal decision depending on the available resources for each student

For students starting in January, ISSAC does not recommend that students travel during the Christmas holiday period as the university is officially closed and USask services are not available to students. However, some students also come during the holiday season to experience it in Canada and maybe do some travelling within the country before the courses start.

The break between Fall 2022 and Winter 2023 semesters occurs from Friday, December 23 at 4:30 p.m. until Wednesday, January 4 at 8:30 a.m. for most USask academic programs.

If in doubt about the above, please talk to us via email at international.students@usask.ca or visit our drop-in advising.

ISSAC, on behalf of the University of Saskatchewan (USask), offers free taxi transportation from the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker Airport to your first night accommodation in saskatoon. Students who are eligible are:

- new international degree-seeking students (this includes students who have already been studying online abroad to start their program and are now entering Canada for the first time during their program)
- new international students registered in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program,
- new international students on an exchange program

Visiting research students are NOT eligible for the taxi service.

The free taxi transportation is from the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (Saskatoon Airport) to a location in Saskatoon.

Apply for your required immigration documents as early as possible so that you can start your studies here as planned. Please read the immigration section in the International Student Guide as well as the study in Canada section on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for more information about study permits and entry requirements.

If you are experiencing delays and difficulties in obtaining your immigration documents, please contact ISSAC at international.students@usask.ca or speak with us through our online drop-in advising. We are here to support you.

You should find permanent housing before travelling to Canada. 

Visit the USask Residence website for more detailed information about on-campus housing for the upcoming summer, fall and winter terms. Contact the Residence Services Office at residence@usask.ca if you have questions. USask has an extensive guide to off-campus housing as well. 

Coming to a new country for your studies means you may go through a process of adjusting to a new country and culture. This a natural part of international student experience.

Students can begin their mental preparation for the cultural adaption process by learning about the stages of the cultural adaption process.

Saskatchewan's cold winters can be quite intimidating to international students. Winter temperatures are, on average, near -20 degrees celsius with temperatires reaching -40 degrees not uncommon. However, with the right preparation, you will be able to adapt and enjoy the winter season.

Students arriving in September (Term 1) will have time to purchase winter clothing in Canada, as the winter temperatires usually don't start until October at the earliest. Student arriving in January (Term 2) should look to arrive in Canada with thick clothing and several layerss to endure their intitial days in Saskatoon.

USask has an excellent guide on Preparing for the cold winter weather which all students should read.

After you arrive at USask

All international students are responsible for ensuring they have adequate health care coverage while studying in Saskatchewan. We have prepared the below videos to help you understand the following:

  • Healthcare coverage international students should apply for in Saskatchewan:
    • Saskatchewan Health Card
    • USSU/GSA Student plans
  • A tutorial on applying for the Saskatchewan Health Card 

 

Health care coverage needs for study permit holders

Saskatchewan Health Card Application Tutorial

All USask students should obtain a USask student card immediately upon arriving on campus.Your Student ID card is used to

Full-time on-campus students should look to obtain their U-Pass bus pass -- now available on your smartphone.

Looking after one's finances is an important aspect of your stay in Canada as an international student.

You'll want to set up a bank account in Canada as soon as possible. This will allow you deposit and currency you brought with you on your travels, and for any future employment you obtain in Canada. Learn about how to set up a bank account and the doucments required below.

Financial budgeting is a key skill to develop early during your studies at USask as well.

Photo identification may be required when visiting certain venues or accessing services outside of the Univrsity of Saskatchewan campus. Many non-Canadian national ID cards are not always permitted within Canada.

Instead of using your passport -- which should be kept secure -- USask international students are encouraged to obtain a Non-driver photo ID (informally known as a Saskatchewan ID Card) from Saskatchewan Government Insurnace (SGI).

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a government issued number that is legally required for all work in Canada and is issued for employment purposes only. If you are going to work in Canada, you will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you did not receive a SIN at the port of entry, you must apply at Service Canada.

Building a community of friends is an important part of your time at USask. Make friends and connect with others at USask by:

  • Watch for international student events in the Global Connections NewsletterSent to your PAWS email
    • Thursday of every week during the academic year
  • Join a international/cultural association in the Global Connections Network
  • Connect with Faith Leaders
     

Other Essential Information

Check out other resources that may help your transition to your studies in Canada.

Connect with ISSAC

There are many ways to connect with the International Student and Study Abroad Centre.

Our current online programming offering include:

  • Daily online drop-in advising
    • Incoming exchange students: Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00 noon and Thursday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Weekly Global Connections Newsletter on Thursdays (sent to your USask email). We try our best to help you stay informed of our operations.

You can contact our office by phone by phone at +1-306-966-4925 or via email:

Follow the USask International Facebook page, attend our online immigration workshops and social events, and join a student group.