Winter welcome programming (in-person)

Congratulations and welcome to the University of Saskatchewan! As a new international student to the University of Saskatchewan in winter 2024, there are a variety of programs available to ensure you experience 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
  • Opportunities to see more of campus and the City of Saskatoon
  • And much more

Pre-arrival webinars: Dec. 6–20

Planning to move to Canada and attend the University of Saskatchewan doesn't need to be stressful or complicated. The International Student and Study Abroad Centre is here to help you make plans, travel safely be prepared for your first days in Canada.

Attend one of our many Pre-Arrival sessions online throughout August. Our staff and other campus stakeholders will present on a variety of useful and relevant topics to your settlement in Canada.

Read more and register below. All Zoom links for the online sessions will be emailed directly to all registrants 24-48 hours before the presentation(s).

All times are Central Standard Time (Saskatchewan). Saskatchewan does not move to Daylight Savings Time. Use this time zone converter to confirm the time in your region.

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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

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.

For Winter 2024 arrivals between December 22 and January 5, you must request your taxi ride by Wednesday, December 20 at 4:30pm CST. Requests sent between December 21 and January 6 will not be processed.

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. 

Saskatchewan's cold winters can be quite intimidating to international students. Winter temperatures are, on average, near -20C with temperatures reaching -40C, which is 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 layers 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:

  • Health care 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.

Explore Experience Transit online learning tool today to learn everything you need to know about using public transit in Saskatoon.

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 to deposit any 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 documents 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 Insurance (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:

  • Watching for international student events in the Global Connections Newsletter sent to your PAWS email
    • Thursday of every week during the academic year
  • Join an international/cultural association in the Global Connections Network
  • Connecting 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. You can contact our office at +1 306-966-4925 or via email: