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A guidebook for new internAtionAl students

welcome to the
university of wAterloo

tAble of contents

section 1

i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo


Welcome to the University of Waterloo
Take a virtual tour
Applying for documents
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
Checklist

section 2

i need to get reAdy


Paying your tuition fees
Transferring money to Canada
Managing your finances
Financial assistance for international students
Arranging accommodation
Temporary accommodation
Learning about student life
Making travel arrangements
Packing for your trip
Checklist

section 3

i Am trAvelling to cAnAdA
At your first point of entry
Transportation to uWaterloo
Checklist

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section 4

i Am in cAnAdA
Learning about Canada
Canadian laws
Adjusting to your new environment
Canadian culture
Checklist

section 5

i Am in wAterloo
Contacting your family
Living in Waterloo
Getting around the city
Travelling outside Ontario
Shopping
Grocery shopping
Banking in Canada
Communication
Finding work
Health and wellness
Visiting health services
Mental health
Checklist

section 6

i Am on cAmpus
Getting to know the campus
Participating in orientation
Getting ready for classes
Checklist

section 7

i Am in my first term
Adjusting to the Canadian classroom culture
Academic integrity
Getting involved and settling into university life
Student services
Checklist

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section 1
i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo
welcome to the university of wAterloo
tAke A virtuAl tour
Applying for documents
temporAry resident visA (trv)
checklist

i wAs Accepted
to uwAterloo!

welcome to the university of waterloo


section 1
i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo

We would like to welcome you to uWaterloo. You are about to take an


exciting journey to earn your degree. We have created this guidebook
to help you along every step of your journey and help you to feel part of
the community. We have arranged the information in this guidebook in
chronological order, so that the information you need to know first is at the
beginning of the book, what you need to know next follows, and so on. You
will also find checklists at the end of each section to help keep you on track.
If you have any questions after reading this handbook, the International
Student Experience (ISE) team is ready to assist you in any way that we can.
You can find us in the Student Success Office (SSO) in South Campus Hall
(SCH). Our team is here to listen to you, answer your questions, help you
find services and refer you to other resources. We offer a range of services
and programs for international undergraduate and graduate students and
their families. We can help you with:
Health insurance concerns
Immigration concerns
Canadian culture questions
Improving your English
Getting introduced to campus life and the City of Waterloo
Meeting other international students
Adjusting to a new culture takes time, but the rewards make it all
worthwhile. Remember that there is always someone here to talk to if you
need help or advice.
Have a safe and pleasant trip to Waterloo.
T

tAke A virtuAl tour

congratulations! you have been accepted to the


university voted most innovative by Macleans
magazine for 21 years in a row. if you are wondering
what campus looks like, take the official virtual
tour of campus.

Applying for documents

To prepare for your stay in Canada you should contact the


Canadian visa office serving your country of citizenship to
find out if you need a study permit and for a list of required
documents. We have provided some information below to get
you started with the application process and you can find more
on the International Student Experience website.
section 1

passport

i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo

To apply for a Canadian study permit, you will need a valid


passport. If you do not already have a passport, contact your
nearest passport office immediately. You should apply for one in
your home country at least six months before you plan to arrive
in Canada. We suggest that your passport is valid for the entire
duration of your study in Canada. Contact your nearest passport
office for more information about the application process.

valid documents:
For immigration valid
means a document that has
not expired. Remember, to
keep all your documents valid
throughout your studies

study permit
All international students studying in Canada must have
authorization to do so. You may need to apply for a study
permit if you plan to study for more than six months in Canada.
Once you enter Canada, your study permit allows you to stay in
the country until it expires.

study permit:
The document that gives you
permission to study at a Canadian
educational institution.

Where do I apply?

Apply for your first study permit from a Canadian visa office
serving your country. The visa office will provide you with a
list of instructions and supporting documents which you will
need for your application. If you are from the United States,
Greenland or Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, apply for your initial
study permit at a Canadian port of entry or border post. You will
need to complete the application and prepare your supporting
documents for the immigration officer at the border.

supporting document:
A document that is separate
from the main immigration
application that verifies or
confirms something you have
stated in your application.

port of entry:
A place where a person
may seek entry into Canada,
such as at an airport, land or
marine border crossing.

hoW long WIll It take?

Processing times vary from region to region and application processing times
may change depending on the time of year that you apply. The Citizenship
and Immigration Canada (CIC) website has a list of processing times for visa
offices outside Canada and tips on how to speed up the process. Apply as early
as possible and make sure to check the processing times before you apply for
your study permit.
What documents do I need?

Every country has a different list of supporting documents. The immigration


officer assessing your application may request additional documents to
support your application at any time. Most applicants will need to provide:
Passport
Letter of acceptance from uWaterloo

section 1

Proof that you have enough money to cover your tuition and living expenses
for you and any family members or dependants that are travelling with you.
You can use the following documents as support:
- Bank statement
- Bank certification letter
- Your scholarship or bursary letter
- Letter from your sponsor

i was accepted to uwaterloo

You may also need:


Letter of reference from a dependable person in your community for entry
into Canada. The Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate in your
country can provide more information.
Medical clearance from a doctor designated by the Canadian embassy,
high commission or consulate in your home country
Proof of obligation to your home country such as property, family,
employment or other obligations in your home country
An interview by a Canadian visa officer at the visa office
What happens next?

Once your application is approved, the visa officer will issue a Letter of
Introduction. Remember to take this and your offer of admission letter from
uWaterloo with you to Canada. The Letter of Introduction is not a study permit.
You will receive your study permit when you arrive at your first port of entry
in Canada.

already have a study permIt?

If you are currently studying at another university in Canada


and you already have a study permit, you can use the same
study permit at uWaterloo as long it has not expired. If you are
studying at a Canadian high school you will need to apply for
a new study permit for your post-secondary studies. The CIC
website has instructions on how to complete the application
both online or via mail.

temporAry resident visA (trv)

section 1

Your study permit alone does not give you permission to enter
Canada. Citizens of certain countries require an additional
document called a temporary resident visa (trv) to be
granted entry to Canada for a specified period of time. Once
your study permit application is approved the Canadian
immigration officer will issue a TRV. You, must present this TRV,
in addition to your Letter of Introduction to the immigration
officer at your first port of entry.

trv
A foil sticker that your visa
officer puts in your passport that
grants you entry in to Canada
for a specified period of time.

i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo

do I need a trv?

Not all students require a TRV. Visit the CIC website for a list of
citizens who require a TRV. If you do need one, make sure it is
valid every time you want to enter Canada.
should I get a multIple entry or sIngle entry trv?

Visa offices can issue multiple entry or single entry TRVs.


Multiple entry TRVs allow you to request permission to enter
Canada as many times as you wish until the visa expires. After
you use a single entry TRV, you will need to apply for a new one
if you wish to re-enter Canada.

documentAtion for your fAmily

If your family is coming to live with you in Canada, they need to apply for
visitor status and, if applicable they may also need to apply for a TRV. Family
members can apply at the same time that you do, but they need to provide
some supporting documents as part of their application.
If your family will join you after you arrive in Canada, you will need to send a
letter of invitation to them in addition to supporting documents.
What supportIng documents WIll my famIly need?

The list of supporting documents varies from region to region. The visa office
processing your application will inform you and/or your family members if you
need additional documents as part of the application.
Most applicants will need to provide:

section 1

Proof that you have sufficient funds to pay for your family members
expenses while they are in Canada. Funds can come from family savings,
your scholarship or a bursary or from your sponsor. Expenses include:
Your tuition fees
Your familys living expenses. For the 2013-2014 year this amount
is $15,000 plus $5,000 per person.
Proof of relationship. This could include:

i was accepted to uwaterloo

- Marriage certificate for your spouse


- Birth certificates for your children or parents

other documents to bring

You do not need the following documents to enter Canada, but you may find
them useful once you arrive:
Photo identification
Official academic transcripts and degree certificates
TOEFL scores
Birth certificates for your children
Marriage certificate
International drivers license or drivers license from your home country
Drivers history if you plan to buy a car in Canada
All documents in your native language should be translated into
English or French.

checklist
now that i have been accepted
to uwaterloo, i need to:
Take a virtual tour of campus
Get my passport and ensure that it is valid for
the duration of my stay in Canada
Apply for my study permit
Apply for my TRV (if applicable)
section 1

Prepare any other documentation (if applicable)


Apply for my familys/dependents documents
(if applicable)

i wAs Accepted to uwAterloo

Connect with other incoming students on


Facebook (UWaterloo Life) if you have access and
follow @uwaterloolife on Twitter

notes:

section 2
i need to get reAdy
pAying your tuition fees
trAnsferring money to cAnAdA
mAnAging your finAnces
finAnciAl AssistAnce for
internAtionAl students
ArrAnging AccommodAtion
temporAry AccommodAtion
leArning About student life
mAking trAvel ArrAngements
pAcking for your trip
checklist

i need to
get reAdy
now that you have submitted your study permit
application, start preparing for your journey to canada.
this includes preparing your finances, arranging your
accommodations, learning about student life, making
your travel arrangements and packing. if you have any
questions before you arrive in canada, be sure to contact
the ise team or your global representative.

pAying your tuition fees

Each term uWaterloo sets deadlines for arranging your tuition fee
payment. You can pay your fees by:
Cheque
Money order
section 2

Bank payment
The assignment of funds from authorized student loans,
scholarships, bursaries or your earnings
fees Arranged

I need to get ready

At the start of each term you need to become fees Arranged.


The Student Accounts Office provides instructions on arranging
your fees and it is your responsibility to pay all the fees charged
to your student account. The university charges a late fee if you
do not arrange your fees by the deadline. If you have questions,
staff in the student Accounts office in Needles Hall (NH) can
help you. If you email the office, put your name and student
number in the subject heading.

fees Arranged

exchange students

Needles Hall, Room 1110


519-888-4567, ext. 38466
studentaccounts@uwaterloo.ca

If you are an exchange student, you typically will pay tuition fees
to your home university. There are some compulsory fees that
you need to pay before classes begin:

Being fees arranged means that


you have demonstrated how you
intend to cover your tuition fees
for the year.

student Accounts office

uWaterloos University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)


FEDS/GSA Health and Dental Plan

11

trAnsferring money to cAnAdA

You may have noticed changes in currency regulations and fluctuating


exchange rates. This has caused problems for some international students who
depend on money from home. We strongly recommend that you transfer the
funds you will need during your stay to a Canadian financial institution after
you have opened a bank account in Canada. Visit page 58 for more information
about opening a bank account in Canada.
Once you have a Canadian bank account open, arrange for the bank in your
home country to transfer funds to your new bank account. Plan to bring
enough money to cover expenses for your first two months in Canada, as the
transfer of funds can take several weeks. Between $2,000-3,000 should be
enough to cover your expenses for the first two months.
canadian currency
Canada has six coins of varying denominations or values and five bank notes.
The coins are in the following denominations:
section 2

5 cents

10 cents

25 cents

$1.00 dollar

$2.00 dollars

The bank notes are different colours and are in the following denominations:

i need to get reAdy

$5.00 dollars

$10.00 dollars

$20.00 dollars

$50.00 dollars

$100.00 dollars

converting to canadian currency

we used to have a 1 cent piece, but in 2012 the government


of canada decided to phase out the penny from circulation.

interesting
fAct

12

converting to canadian currency


As we mentioned, currency values and regulations change every day. When
you prepare your budget, make sure that you use the most up-to-date currency
information. Contact your bank in your home country for more information
about converting your countrys currency into Canadian currency.

mAnAging your finAnces

One of the most important things you must do before you depart is to make
sure that you have enough money to cover your tuition and all of your expenses
in Canada. Do not forget that you need to prove this to the immigration officer
in your home country in order to obtain your study permit.

section 2

We find that undergraduate and graduate students can spend anywhere from
$30,000 CAD to $40,000 CAD per year. When you plan your budget, plan for
a 5% increase in tuition and living expenses for each additional year that you
study in Canada. Tuition fees usually increase in May of each year.
If you are bringing any family members, you should budget an additional
$5,000 per person each year.
budget preparation

I need to get ready

You may have used a budget before. If you have not, it is not as scary as it
sounds. It is simply a plan for allocating money. When you live on a fixed
income you need to live on a fixed budget. If you are not familiar with the cost
of living in Canada, do not assume that you can live on less than the advised
amounts if you keep a strict budget. If you make your estimates too low, you
may face serious financial hardships in the future. Here are some tips:
Be prepared to live by the recommended budget
Make sure that you have set aside additional emergency funds
Try the uWaterloo online financial planner to see how much money you will
need for your first year at school
hoW do I prepare a budget?

expenses:

Step 1: Write down all of your expenses.

The costs associated


with living in Canada.

Step 2: Make a list of all your income. Be sure to include


funds that you know you will receive.
Step 3: Subtract your expenses from your total income.
If you have a negative (-) balance, then your income will not
cover your expenses. If you have a positive balance (+) you
should be able to cover your expenses.

income:
Any money that you receive
to support your studies

13

finAnciAl AssistAnce for internAtionAl students

There is limited financial assistance for international students


facing exceptional financial circumstances. Undergraduate
students should visit the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office
(SAFA) office in the Registrars Office for information on financial
assistance. Graduate students can:
Make inquiries at the Graduate Studies Office
Visit the SAFA website for more information
Enquire about scholarships through their departments
international undergraduate full-time emergency bursary
The university provides financial assistance to international
students in Year 2 or above. Bursary awards range from $500 to
a maximum of $3,000 per academic year. To apply for the bursary
you must:
section 2

Be a full-time student in satisfactory academic standing


Demonstrate exceptional financial need
Hold a valid study permit
international undergraduate work study program

I need to get ready

This program provides part-time employment opportunities on


campus for eligible full-time international undergraduate students.
To apply you must:
Be in Year 2 or above (with at least a 60% course load) in
satisfactory academic standing
Demonstrate exceptional financial need
Hold a valid study permit

14

ArrAnging AccommodAtion

You have a number of options for accommodations both on


and off campus. The university reserves a limited number of
spaces for exchange students in Columbia Lake Village (CLV) in
the South Community. We suggest that you finalize your living
arrangements before you arrive in Canada.
living on campus
Many students find that living in residence is a great way to meet
new people and become familiar with the uWaterloo campus. The
different residences cater to students with different wants and
needs; some even offer meal plans and housekeeping services.
By living on campus, you have the convenience of living minutes
away from class in a safe and secure environment.

Accommodations:
Housing & Residence Office
Student Life Centre, Room 0134
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1
519-888-4567, ext. 32679
housing@uwaterloo.ca

section 2

i had thought adjusting to life in canada would be difficult. to my surprise, the transition
to university life was seamless because the residence community made the transition seem
so easy. clv is known for its honeypot of international students. residence dons go out of
their way to help you feel at home by getting you to interact with everyone.
Maarij R., Science student from UAE

When should I apply for on-campus housIng?


I need to get ready

Apply as soon as possible because spaces are offered on a firstcome, first-serve basis. The application deadline for the fall term
is early June.
WhIch accommodatIon should I choose?

You should choose the accommodation that best fits your style
and your budget. The Waterloo Residences website has details
of the different residences options to choose from, including
photographs. Use the table below for a quick glance at the
differences between the residences.

nAme of residence

description

Village 1
(V1)

Undergraduate students only


Single, interconnecting or double rooms
Rooms form part of a smaller residence unit called a house that
you share with other students

Ron Eydt Village


(REV)

Undergraduate students only


Double rooms on each floor
Rooms form part of a smaller residence unit
called a floor

15

nAme of residence

description

Mackenzie King Village


(MKV)

Undergraduate students only


Single room
Suite-style residence where you share the common areas (kitchen,
living room, and bathroom) with your roommates

UW Place Suites
(UWP)

Undergraduate students only


2 types of suite-style accommodations to choose from:
- Beck Hall has 2 single rooms or 1 single and 1 double room
- Eby Hall has 2 or 3 rooms
Common area, kitchenette, and bathroom are shared with your
roommates

Columbia Lake Village


North Community

Graduate students only (priority given to students with


live-in dependents)
Self-contained town-home complex
2-bedroom unfurnished unit
Refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer included

Columbia Lake Village


South Community

Upper-year undergraduate, graduate, exchange and transfer students


4-bedroom townhouse

section 2

Share kitchen, bathroom and living room

I need to get ready

the federated university and Affiliated colleges also have


on-campus housing options for all students.
Conrad Grebel University College
Renison University College
St. Jeromes University
St. Pauls University College
living off campus
If you do not secure a room in residence, or if you prefer to live
off campus, you need to arrange your own accommodation.
The off-campus housing office can offer you some support.
They can provide you with the information you need to find a
place to stay and they help build a community of students
living off campus.
The sooner you look for a place to live, the better chance you will
have of finding a place before classes begin. Apartments, houses
and rooms in private homes are available in neighbourhoods
around campus.

off-campus
housing office
Student Life Centre, Room 0134
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1
519-888-4567, ext. 35725
och@uwaterloo.ca

16

Before you can rent a room, you may have to:


Sign a one-year lease
Pay two months rent
Go through a credit check

lease:
A binding contract granting
use or occupation of property
during a specified period in
exchange for a specified rent.

In Canada overcrowding is not acceptable and most landlords will


object to more than two people sharing a bedroom.
credit check:

temporAry AccommodAtion

If you do not have a permanent place to live when you first arrive
in Waterloo, or if you need a place to stay until your permanent
accommodations are available, you may need to arrange
temporary accommodation before you arrive.

An inquiry that a landlord makes


on your behalf regarding your
financial history. Landlords
typically check to see that you
have paid your rent on time and
in full. They use this information
to determine whether you will
be a good tenant or not.

section 2

On-campus residences usually allow students to move in during


the first week of the month that classes begin (September,
January and May). Off-campus housing leases usually begin
on the first day of the month.

I need to get ready

If you arrive before those dates, there are a number of


places to stay on and around campus. On-campus temporary
accommodations are available from May until the middle
of August.
Accommodation during winter break (decemberJanuary)
Most campus residences close for the winter break. Students
must leave their residence 24 hours after their last exam.
You can contact your Residence Life Co-ordinator to request a
one-day extension on your stay. For the rest of the break, you
can use short-term accommodations available around the city.
For anyone staying in Waterloo during the winter break, the
International Student Experience team organizes Winterloo,
a fun series of events and holiday activities. Stay tuned to our
events calendar for updates on this years program.

17

leArning About student life

contact your global representative


We are sure that you have many questions about what it is like to study at
uWaterloo and what it is like to live in Canada. That is why we started the
Global Representative program. This is an opportunity for you to connect with
a senior international student possibly even one from your region and ask
them questions. You can contact your Global Rep to ask your questions before
you arrive in Canada and once you are here in Canada.
register for student life 101
We want to help you transition to student life at uWaterloo quickly and
successfully. Every term the Student Success Office organize sessions for new
international students as well as their parents. Check your @uwaterloo email
address for more information and registration reminders.

section 2
I need to get ready

What Is student lIfe 101?

Student Life 101 is a two-day, overnight event for new students where you have
a chance to connect with upper-year mentors and
Meet other first-year students
Stay in residence
Attend a lecture and tutorial
Pick up your WatCard
Write the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE)
Learn about strategies and resources to make your first-year
experience extraordinary
If you plan to arrive early we have a special three-day Student Life 101 session
just for international students. International Student Life 101 costs $164.47 +
HST and will be charged to your school account.

18

hoW can my parents learn about student lIfe?

If you are bringing your parents or another family member they can attend
Parent Orientation while youre at Student Life 101. The one-day program
allows parents and family members to:

See where you will live and study


Discover on-campus resources
Hear from staff experts and meet other parents
Learn about your academic requirements

Immigration related to your studies


The cost of this program is $25 for the first parent and $10 for each additional
family member.

register for internAtionAl orientAtion

section 2

You may not be able to travel to Waterloo for Student Life 101, but make
sure that you register for International Orientation. This free event generally
begins the day before classes start each term, or in the fall term on the first
day of Orientation. This is a chance to meet other international students and
the International Student Advisors from the Student Success Office who will
provide information about:

I need to get ready

Health insurance
Academic resources on campus
Library resources
Services for spouses and dependents

19

register for wAterloo orientAtion

Orientation is a welcome event for all new international and domestic


students. The Federation of Students and the Student Success Office designed
Orientation to help you become acquainted with the university and introduce
you to all the student and academic services that uWaterloo has to offer.
You can meet Canadian students and people in your faculty and program.
Each faculty plans events throughout the week where you can meet professors
and find out more about what it is like to be a student in your faculty.
The university holds an undergraduate student orientation and a graduate
student orientation through the Graduate Student Association.

section 2
I need to get ready

mAking trAvel ArrAngements

If you do not make your housing arrangements before you travel, you need to
arrive in Waterloo at least two weeks before the term begins to find housing.
This will also give you time to become acquainted with the campus and the
city before classes begin.
Airline travel
Most international students travel to Canada by air. When booking your flight,
you should consider a few things around time and date:
Offices on campus are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm
(this includes the Student Success Office)
The First Monday in September is Labour Day a holiday in Canada and all
university offices, government offices, banks and most businesses are closed
this day
If you are living in residence, it will be open on Labour Day for new students
to move in

20

WhIch aIrport Is closest to uWaterloo?

The Lester B. Pearson International Airport (code YYZ) in Toronto, also known
as Pearson International Airport, is the closest major airport to Waterloo.
It is the biggest and busiest airport in Canada with flights arriving from every
corner of the world. The airport is located about 1.5 hours away from campus.
hoW can I get from the aIrport to uWaterloo?

There are several ways to travel from the airport to uWaterloo, but you may be
especially interested in a service that the ISE team provides.
fall

On both the Saturday and Sunday before Orientation Week starts


there are three pick-up times: 9:00am, 3:00pm and 9:00pm.

winter We have two pick-up times on the Saturday before the winter term
starts: 3:00pm and 9:00pm.

section 2

This service is free of charge for all incoming international students, their
spouses and dependents. We will send you registration information via email
once registration is open.
If you arrive at Pearson when the airport pick-up service is not available, you
will need to arrange your own alternate transportation. It is a good idea to
make these arrangements when you book your flight. Detailed information on
the options available to you is provided on page 30.

I need to get ready

the airport bus pick-up is a great service for new international students to save
money with a free ride to the university and meet other new students.
Avin L., Arts student from Thailand.

21

travel from within canada


If you are already staying in another part of Canada, you may
choose to travel to Waterloo by road. Depending on the distance
to the Waterloo Region there are a number of options for you.
bus or coach Book your ticket at least two months before
you plan to travel. Most bus companies limit the
amount of luggage you can carry so check with
the bus company ahead of time to ensure that
your luggage is not too heavy. Many students use
the following bus companies to reach Waterloo:
Greyhound
Go Transit
Coach Canada
rental car
section 2
I need to get ready

train

Most car rental companies in Canada require that


you are at least 21 years old to rent a car. If you
are under the age of 25 you may have to pay an
additional insurance fee as well as all the other
costs associated with the rental. Remember,
Canadians drive on the right-hand side of the
road. Some popular rental car companies are:
Avis

Budget

Discount

Enterprise

Europcar

Hertz

National

Thrifty

If you are located more than four hours away, you


may want to take the train to Waterloo. The train
system in Canada is operated by VIA Rail.

travel arrangements for your children


If you are bringing small children to Canada you need to
have a car seat for each child under 8 years old. Each child must
be properly secured in an infant seat, child seat or booster seat.
Without the correct car seat, your child will not be safe, and the
driver of the vehicle could be fined $90, two demerit points
and a victim surcharge for breaking the law.
The Transport Canada website has the most up-to-date
information for the type of seat required for your children.

demerit points:
Points that are added to your
drivers licence, if you are
convicted of breaking certain
driving laws. Demerit points
stay on your record for two
years from the offence date. If
you collect enough points, you
can lose your drivers licence.

22

pAcking for your trip

As exciting as it is to move to a new country, it can be challenging too. If this is


the first time that you have lived away from home, you may be feeling anxious
and worrying about what items to bring with you to Canada. No matter how
you are travelling, you may have restrictions on the amount of luggage you can
bring or the type of items allowed. Before you start packing:
Verify your luggage restrictions with your airline
Check which items the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) does
not permit through Customs such as firearms, pets, plants, fresh fruits and
vegetables, meat and meat products
Make sure that you do not pack any money or valuable items in your
checked luggage
Plan to pack two sets of clothing in your hand luggage in case your flight
is delayed or if your luggage is lost in transit.

section 2
I need to get ready

prepare a list
We suggest that you make a list of everything that you will need on your
journey. This will not only help you stay organized but you will need the list
when you enter Canada. A Customs official will ask for this list. The items that
you bring cannot be sold during your stay and you must take them with you
when you leave with the exception of worn out clothing and other items that
you throw away. Keep this list with you throughout your time in Canada so that
you can keep track of the items you brought.
Your list must also include all of your electronic items that you will bring with
you. For each electronic item include:
A description of the item
The serial number
Approximate value

23

WhIch Items should I plan to brIng?

Immigration documents
Travel money
Clothing
This handbook printed or downloaded on your laptop, tablet or smartphone
Books
Toiletries
Medications
Anything that reminds you of your home country such as a flag,
music or family recipes
Mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of your
family and friends
If you are spending your first few nights in temporary accommodations,
we suggest that you bring a sleeping bag and pillow.
section 2

Waterloo Residences has a list of items that students living in the suite-style
residences and the traditional residences should bring with them.
What ImmIgratIon documents should I brIng?

I need to get ready

Your immigration documents, and your accompanying family members


documents, are extremely important. We recommend that you pack any other
student paperwork you have received from uWaterloo. Keep all important
documents in a file or envelope and do not pack these documents in your
checked luggage. Keep them in a safe dry place in your hand luggage or on
your person.
Before you leave your home and check that you have packed:
Your passport
Letter of Introduction
Photo identification from your home country
Offer letter from uWaterloo
Official academic transcripts
Copy of your English Language Proficiency scores
Marriage certificate if you are travelling with your spouse
hoW much travel money should I brIng?

You need to bring enough money with you to cover travelling expenses such as
food and transportation to Waterloo from the airport. We recommend that you
also bring sufficient funds to cover at least two months of expenses. Plan to
bring $500 in CDN currency with you and $3,000 in travellers cheques if you
did not transfer funds to a Canadian bank before your arrival. Make sure you
keep this money with you at all times. Do not pack this in your checked luggage.
You can also exchange currency at the airport and banks.

24

What kInd of clothes should I brIng?

Bring whatever clothing you like, in the style that you are used to wearing.
There is no dress code at uWaterloo. Students usually dress casually in
comfortable and practical clothes. If you are in a co-op program, you will need
business attire for interviews and work terms.
The weather in Canada varies from season to season. Although classrooms are
heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer, we recommend that
you bring different types of clothing to suit the changing climate.
Light-weight clothing is best for spring and summer
Sweaters and light waterproof jackets are useful for cool and
rainy days in the spring and fall
Heavy jackets, scarves, gloves, hats and waterproof boots are
essential for the winter
Visit page 48 for more information about the climate in Canada.
What should I Wear In the WInter?
section 2

If you are coming to Canada from a warm climate, especially if you are arriving
in the winter (DecemberMarch), be sure to bring warm clothing. You may find
it less expensive to purchase additional winter clothing in Canada.

I need to get ready

can I buy everythIng When I get there?

Yes! We recommend that you buy bulkier or heavier items once you have
arrived, especially if you have a luggage allowance. Some of the items that you
can buy once you are here are sheets, bedding or winter clothes.
can I shIp any Items to uWaterloo ahead of tIme?

If you would like to ship any items ahead of time, contact your:
Residence Life Co-ordinator, if you live on campus
Landlord, if you will live off campus

25

checklist
to get ready for my
journey i need to:
Understand Fees Arranged and make sure
I pay my tuition on time
Transfer money to a Canadian financial institution
Prepare my budget
Arrange my accommodations
Arrange short-term accommodations (if necessary)
section 2

Register for International Student Life 101


Register for Orientation
Make my travel arrangements

I need to get ready

Register for airport pick-up or arrange


transportation to uWaterloo
Verify luggage restrictions with the airline,
bus or train company
Prepare a list of everything I am taking to Canada
Pack all items on my list

notes:

Make arrangements if I am shipping


items to Canada

26

section 3
i Am trAvelling to cAnAdA
At your first point of entry
trAnsportAtion to uwAterloo
checklist

i Am trAvelling
to cAnAdA
your journey to your new life at uwaterloo is about to begin. we will
help you get through customs and on the road to waterloo first. make
sure you have all your documentation ready.

At your first port of entry

Once you reach your first port of entry to Canada or the first airport you
land in, you need to go through Immigration and/or Customs. Here, you will
exchange your Letter of Introduction for your Canadian study permit, providing
you still meet all the conditions of a study permit
declaration card (e311)
If you travelled by air, a flight attendant may have handed you a Landing or
Declaration Card to fill out on the plane before you land. If you did not get a
card on your flight you can find one at the immigration desk.
section 3

If you are entering Canada on land, an immigration official will give you one
when you enter Customs. This card indicates some basic information about you
and your reason for entering the country. The border agent in Customs will ask
to see your card before you are allowed in the country.

i Am trAvelling to cAnAdA

28

follow the signs to immigration


Once you get off the plane, follow the signs to Canadian
Immigration. You may have to wait in line for a while before
you can see an agent. Make sure you have the following
documents ready:
Your passport and your family members passports
Letter of Introduction
Offer letter from uWaterloo
Proof of funds, i.e. a bank statement or letter from your sponsor

section 3

The immigration official may also ask to see an alternate piece


of photo identification. If you are in Canada for long-term study,
the official will print your study permit once your documents
are reviewed. For short-term study, the official will stamp, date
and/or sign your passport. This is a very important step in your
arrival to Canada, so ask questions if you are not sure what to
do. You must receive your study permit or have your passport
stamped, dated and/or signed, before you leave the airport.
collect your luggage

I am travelling to canada

Once you have your necessary paperwork and retrieved your


passport, collect your luggage. Keep your boarding pass so
that you can find your flight number and the corresponding
luggage gate.
go through customs
Once you collect your luggage, follow the Customs sign to
declare your items. Do you remember the list you prepared
of everything you brought with you? Make sure that you have
that ready now. If you are bringing food, plants, animals and
their products, you should have filled that out on the Canada
Border Services Agency (CBSA) Declaration Card that the
flight attendant gave you on the plane. If you sent anything
else to Canada, inform the customs official and present your
shipping records.
lost or delayed luggage
Sometimes an airline loses your luggage or it becomes delayed.
If this happens, report your lost luggage to the appropriate
airline desk in the airport terminal. Make sure you have your
baggage tags/stickers to give to the airline official and describe
what your luggage looks like. They will track your bags and tell
you when they will arrive. Give the airport desk the address of
where you will be staying so they can deliver your luggage to
the right address.

29

trAnsportAtion to uwAterloo

You are finally ready to head to the City of Waterloo. If you


registered for the airport bus pick-up service, your trip will
be very simple.
Airport bus pick-up service
If you registered for the airport bus pick-up service, go
to Terminal 1 at Pearson Airport to meet the bus pick-up
volunteers. The volunteers will wear yellow uWaterloo t-shirts.
Please note that the volunteers will only be at the airport at the
specified times on each day of the airport pick-up service (see
page 21 for the times). If you arrive at the airport earlier, please
check back at the meeting location closer to the pick-up time.

section 3

If your flight arrives at Terminal 3, use the free Link Train to go


to Terminal 1. It is accessible via the terminal/Sheraton Hotel
pedestrian bridge, either from the Sheraton Hotel lobby or Level
3 of Terminal 3.
other transportation options

I am travelling to canada

If you arrive at the airport outside the scheduled bus pickup dates and times, you can reserve alternate transportation
to Waterloo. Once you have gone through Customs, exit the
secure area and head towards Ground Transportation, some
things to consider:
If you have any questions about the available transportation
options go to an Airport Reception Information Booth
If you have a lot of luggage notify the transport operator
beforehand so that they can make provisions for you
If you are travelling with small children ask if the
transportation service has car seats or booster seats for
your children

30

how does AirwAys trAnsit work?

Airways Transit offers different services to get you to and from the airport.
door-to-door service Picks you up and drops you off at a location and time
that is convenient for you
Airporter bus service Departs from the Pearson Airport and drops you off at
the uWaterloo Student Life Centre (SLC) at scheduled
times Monday through Saturday. The Airporter does not
operate on holidays. This service can also take you or
your family members back to the airport.
You can make a reservation online or call the call the 24-hour reservation office.
how do i use A tAxi or limousine service?

If you would like to use a taxi or limousine service to Waterloo, Pearson Airport
provides a list of taxis and limousine companies. Taxi services tend to be more
expensive than shuttles, so keep this in mind when youre making your reservation.
section 3
I am travelling to canada

31

checklist
while at the airport i:
Filled out my Declaration Card (EM311)
Received my study permit from an immigration officer
Collected my luggage
Went through Customs
Verified my transport arrangements to uWaterloo

section 3
i Am trAvelling to cAnAdA

notes:

32

section 4
i Am in cAnAdA
leArning About cAnAdA
cAnAdiAn lAws
AdJusting to your new environment
cAnAdiAn culture
checklist

i Am in cAnAdA
welcome to canada! to help you learn more about
the country that you will live in while youre studying
at uwaterloo, we have included some information
about canada, its law and culture.

leArning About cAnAdA

Canada is the second largest country in the world, occupying six time zones
from east to west. The country is divided into 10 provinces and three territories,
each with its own elected government responsible for health care, education
and other services. Canadians are also governed by an elected federal
government that is responsible for the peace, order and good government
of the country as a whole. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, Ontario.

section 4

Canadians believe in tolerance and equality among people. Men and women
are treated with equal respect and there are strict laws against prejudice or
discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual
orientation, marital or social status. As visitors to Canada, you and your
dependants have the same rights and are protected under the same laws as
Canadian citizens. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees
that anyone residing in Canada has freedom of:
Conscience and religion
Thought, belief, opinion and expression
Peaceful assembly

i Am in cAnAdA

Association

cAnAdiAn lAws

Canadian law is based on British common law, it has three main principles:
Everyone is equal under the law.
An accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
Canadian laws apply to everyone living in the country. Even as a newcomer
to Canada, you have the full protection of these laws. You are also expected
to abide by the rules and regulations of Canada. What may seem perfectly
legal in your home country may be frowned upon or illegal in Canada. Any
form of discrimination is against the law and, depending on the severity of the
situation, anyone found guilty of discrimination may face heavy penalties.

34

Even if you are not aware of these laws, if you break any of them in Canada
you will be prosecuted and, in serious cases, asked to leave the country. Thats
why we suggest that you stay informed about the laws in Canada, including
those governing the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Laws vary from province to province and it is important that you are aware of
these changes when you travel throughout Canada. One example of this is the
legal drinking age. In Ontario it is illegal for anyone under the age of 19 to buy
or consume alcohol, however in Quebec the legal drinking age is only 18.
right to privacy
Canadians value privacy and privacy laws exist to protect individuals. You will
notice that many institutions, companies and service providers have policies
about privacy. Once you arrive in Canada you will be subject to privacy laws.
UWaterloo also has a campus privacy policy. This policy forbids anyone from
giving out information about you or anyone else without permission. For
example, if your family calls the university looking for information about you,
the university cannot provide any information unless you authorize its release.
section 4

freedom of religion

i am in canada

Canada respects all religions and students who wish to practice their faith are
free to do so. You are not allowed to persecute or harass anyone because of
their religious background. Many different religions are practised at uWaterloo
and in the surrounding community. There are chaplains on campus to offer
you support in spiritual matters. You can contact a chaplain or visit them in the
Chaplains Office on the third floor of the Student Life Centre (SLC).
All uWaterloo students have access to multi-faith prayer spaces on campus.
You can also find a number of faith-based communities off-campus.
freedom of speech
Everyone in Canada has the right to speak their mind and voice their concerns
without prejudice. This means that everyone has a right to an opinion, even if
that opinion differs from yours.
freedom of sexual orientation
All people, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian or
transgendered are free to love or engage in sexual activity with whomever
they choose.
drug and alcohol laws
In Ontario the age of majority, or the age one is considered an adult, is 18.
However, only adults 19 years and older are allowed to buy and consume
alcohol. In Ontario, alcohol is sold in wine stores, wineries, beer stores and
Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores; it is not available in grocery
or convenience stores. If you buy alcohol, or you are going to a place or event

35

where alcohol will be sold or consumed, you will need to show a piece of
government-issued photo identification such as a drivers license or passport
to prove that you are 19 years of age or older.
It is important that you remember not to:
Operate a vehicle after you have consumed alcohol
Carry open liquor (bottles of alcoholic beverages with the top off or seal
broken) in a car
Walk in a public place with open liquor. Drinking outside pubs or bars or in
public (e.g. on the street) and displaying alcohol in public, is not allowed.
Anyone caught doing so may be fined or arrested. If you buy alcohol from
a liquor store you must ensure that you carry it in a bag unopened to avoid
being fined.
Provide liquor to anyone under 19 years of age
Behave in a disorderly manner while drinking in licensed premises

section 4

Refuse to take a breathalyzer test, which measures the content of alcohol in


your body
The use and sale of illegal drugs are strictly prohibited in Canada. If you are
caught in possession of drugs you can be penalized.
tobacco laws

i am in canada

In Ontario, you must be at least 19 years of age to purchase cigarettes. You


may be asked to show photo identification to prove your age. Waterloo and
many surrounding cities have laws prohibiting smoking in any indoor, public
establishments, including all restaurants, bars, shopping malls, grocery stores
and all uWaterloo buildings. Violation of this law can result in a fine of $500
or more.
motor vehicle laws
The law requires that every person travelling in a motor vehicle must wear a
seat belt and children under the age of eight must have a safety seat. Drivers
are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 years of age are using
the seat belt or an appropriate child car seat or booster seat.

36

law enforcement
There are three levels of law enforcement that you should
understand.
rcmp

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or


Mounties, are the federal policing body
in Canada.

wrps

The Waterloo Regional Police Service can


be summoned in an emergency situation
by dialling 911 free from any phone. You can
also dial 911 for an ambulance or to contact
the fire department.

section 4

campus police Policing on campus is run by Police Services.


They are located in the General Services
Complex (GSC) and are available 24 hours
a day. There are also several security services
offered by the Police Services during the
evening hours to help ensure your safety:

wrps:
To contact the Waterloo
Regional Police Service:
Emergency calls: 911
Non-emergency calls:
519-653-7700

campus police:
To contact Campus Police dial
4911 from a campus telephone

uWaterloo Shuttle Service


Safety Office
Campus emergency phones.

i am in canada

personal safety
The Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre (SLC) and the
uWaterloo libraries loan out safety alarms. You can also
purchase safety whistles from stores across campus.
Counselling Services provides a list of emergency numbers.
You and your dependants have the right to freedom from sexual
harassment, discrimination, racism and prejudice. If you feel
you have been the victim of any offence contact Counselling
Services (ext. 32655), the Conflict Management and Human
Rights Office or Police Services as soon as possible.

AdJusting to your new environment

When you arrive, you may find that things are very different
than you are used to in your home country and it may take some
time to adjust. Learning about a new culture can be fascinating
and it is probably one of the reasons that you chose to study
at uWaterloo.

37

culture shock
Some students may become disoriented, confused and severely
homesick when they first arrive in Canada. They may feel
overwhelmed by the change in atmosphere, weather, language,
culture and even the time zone. This feeling is known as culture
shock and it is perfectly normal. Culture shock happens in stages
and you may not realize when it is happening to you. You may arrive
in Canada full of energy and excited about your upcoming studies,
but after a few days or weeks you may begin to feel frustrated,
lonely or even depressed.
No two people react to a new culture in the same way, so we cannot
tell you exactly how this change may affect you. The ISE team can
help make the adjustment easier. We are ready to provide you with
the right information and resources or to direct you to the right
places so that you can make a smooth adjustment into Canadian
life. Here are a number of strategies that have worked for other
international students:
section 4

1. take your time.


Give yourself lots of time to accomplish the things you need to do.
You will find it easier and less stressful if you do not try to complete
too many tasks in one day.

i am in canada

2. get some rest.


Make sure to get enough sleep, especially during your first days in
Canada. Travel is tiring and, depending on where you have travelled
from, you may experience fatigue or Jet lag
Jet lag:
3. eat a good meal.
Experiment with food slowly. New food can upset your stomach,
so try to continue to eat some of the foods that you ate at home
and drink bottled water during your first two or three weeks in
Canada. There are many international food stores and restaurants
within walking distance of campus.
4. call home.

A condition which comes


as a result of fatigue and
disorientation, usually brought
on by excessive travel. Jet
lag can last for several days.
Be sure to get plenty of rest
and try your best to sleep and
wake up during regular hours
in your new environment so
that your body can adjust.

Call, email or write to your family and friends. If you keep in


touch with people at home, you will feel less homesick.
5. Ask questions.
If you are unsure about something, ask someone. People are
generally very willing to help, and when you ask questions you learn
things more quickly and that will make your transition smoother.
Remember, you can always speak to an advisor about anything
were here to help.

38

6. get out of the house.


Get involved and meet people. International students say that this is the best
way to adjust to a new culture. You will find that there are many things to do
on campus, such as sports at the Physical Activities Complex (PAC). Playing
sports is a great way to meet people. International Student Connection (ISC)
represents international undergraduate, graduate, exchange students and
visiting scholars at uWaterloo. The ISC organizes activities, events and culture
presentations. Past activities have included trips to Niagara Falls, the jazz
festival in Montreal and professional sports games in Toronto.

section 4

7. explore the kitchener-waterloo region.

i am in canada

The more you get to know the city and all it has to offer, the more at home
you will feel. Kitchener-Waterloo has many activities, restaurants, programs
and events taking place year-round for you to explore. Visit page 47 for more
information about the Waterloo Region.
Once you settle into your new routine at school you may find that you begin to
feel much better and even look forward to the adventures ahead. However, if
you still feel disoriented or overwhelmed you can always visit the Counselling
Services office in Needles Hall (NH). Counsellors are always available
to listen to you.

cAnAdiAn culture

You will likely find that most Canadians genuinely want to find out more about
where you come from and how you ended up in Waterloo. We have a few
generalizations about Canadians to consider, but remember, not all Canadians
will fit into this description:
Canadians are known around the world for being polite and reserved
Time is very important and lateness is not acceptable. Arrive on time for
appointments, or if possible, notify them in advance that you will be late
Canadians like to form lines when they are waiting for something, rather
than rushing all at once

39

canadian slang
During your time in Waterloo you may come across some of the following
slang terms. Its a good idea to memorize some of them so that you know
what people are referring to. You will hear slang, phrases or acronyms every
day around your new friends, in your residences and in your faculty. If you are
unsure about what someone is saying, ask them to explain it to you. Examples
of common slang include:
double-double You would say this at a coffee shop to order a coffee with
two teaspoons of cream and two teaspoons of sugar.

section 4
i am in canada

eh?

You may notice that many Canadians end a question with the
word eh. E.g. Nice weather were having, eh?

humidex

A measurement of the humidity index. This is usually heard in


summer weather bulletins.

hydro

The word for electricity or power. In Ontario most of the


electricity is generated from hydroelectric power.

lcbo

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It runs the liquor


stores in Ontario and refers to the stores where you can
buy alcohol.

line-up

The Canadian word for when people wait in a line or queue.

loonie

This is the name for the Canadian $1.00 coin. The coin has a
bird called a loon on one side and is gold in colour.

pop

The word for carbonated drinks like soda or soft drinks, e.g.
Coke, Pepsi or Sprite.

the states

Refers to the United States of America.

tims/timmies The shortened version of the name of a very popular


Canadian coffee and doughnut shop: Tim Hortons.
toonie

The name of the Canadian $2 coin. The coin is silver with


a gold-coloured center.

toque

A word for a woollen hat generally worn in the winter.

two-four

This refers to a case of 24 beers.

washroom

The Canadian word for bathroom, toilet or powder room.

Zed

The pronunciation for the last letter of the English alphabet Z.

40

canadas official languages


Canada has two official languages English and French. All
government departments and offices can serve you in either
language. English is widely spoken throughout the country,
while French is spoken mostly in Quebec and New Brunswick.
In larger cities you may hear other languages such as Mandarin,
Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili or Arabic. This is a reflection
of the great cultural diversity in Canada.
uWaterloo is an English-speaking institution and you will be
required to communicate and submit all coursework in English.
uWaterloo offers various courses and classes that can help
you improve your English language skills. Renison University
Colleges English Language Institute has a number of English
language programs available.
uwaterloo writing centre
section 4

If you need assistance with your writing, or if you need help


preparing for your English Language Proficiency Exam, visit the
Writing Centre. The writing centre is a part of the SSO, just
like International Student Experience. The instructors offer
workshops and tutorials for all students.

writing centre
Located in the Student Success
Office on the second floor of
South Campus Hall (SCH)

multiculturalism and diversity in canada


i am in canada

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world.


When you arrive, you will see people of all different ethnicities,
cultures, religions and countries of origin. Try not to think of
Canada as having one ethnic identity. Many people in Ontario
are multi-generational immigrants who may have retained
their cultural identity or language. The Federation of Students
maintains a list of ethno-cultural clubs and societies, if you are
interested in learning more about other cultures on campus.
canadian holidays and celebrations
There are five nation-wide holidays or celebrations in Canada,
which are often called statutory holidays. During these holidays,
the university, government departments and most businesses
are closed. In some instances there is only a partial closure of
services. For example, the transit system may operate on a
limited schedule or the grocery stores may open for a shorter
period of time. We also have provincial holidays that usually
have some special significance to the province or the region and
may not be celebrated elsewhere in Canada.

41

Holidays celebrated throughout the country:


nAme

dAte

significAnce

whAt you cAn expect

New Years
Day

January 1

Celebrates the first day


of the year

Most people go out to parties


the evening before and celebrate
by counting down the seconds to
the new year.

Good Friday

Friday before
Easter

Commemorates the
Christian observation of
the death of Jesus Christ

Some people may go to church


on this day.

Canada Day

July 1

Celebrates the
confederacy or birth
of Canada

Many people have barbeques


and light fireworks in the evening
to celebrate. Many Canadians
celebrate in the national capital,
Ottawa, to see a fireworks
display on parliament hill.

section 4

Labour Day

First Monday
in September

Celebrates workers in
Canada and around the
world. Marks the unofficial
end of summer.

Celebrate the end of summer


with a barbeque.

Christmas
Day

December 25

Celebrates the Christian


observation of the birth of
Jesus Christ

Many stores and restaurants


decorate their windows and play
Christmas music several weeks
before Christmas. You will notice
that shopping malls become
busier leading up to December 25.

parliament hill:
The buildings that
house the Canadian
federal government
in Ottawa.

i am in canada

There are also holidays celebrated throughout Ontario. Not all businesses close
for these holidays, and where mentioned, some observed holidays all businesses
operate normally.
nAme

dAte

significAnce

whAt you cAn expect

Family Day

Third Monday
in February

Celebrates families day


for families to spend time
with each other

Some businesses may be closed.

Valentines Day

February 14

A celebration of love
around the world

All businesses are open as usual though


many restaurants have Valentines
Day specials. Many people give each
other gifts and many couples go out to
dinner to celebrate their love for one
another.

St. Patricks
Day

March 17

A day to celebrate the life


All businesses are open. A number of
of St. Patrick. This day has students will go to bars and pubs and
significant meaning to Irish celebrate.
people around the world.

42

section 4
i am in canada

nAme

dAte

significAnce

whAt you cAn expect

Easter

Variable,
either March
or April

Commemorates the
Christian observation of
the rising of Jesus Christ

Most Christians go to church on this


day. You may also hear church bells
ringing throughout the day.

Mothers Day

Second
Sunday
in May

A day to celebrate
mothers across the world

All businesses are open. Mothers


usually receive gifts of appreciation
on this day.

Victoria Day

Monday
before
May 25

Celebrates the birthday of


Queen Victoria of England

Some businesses may be closed.

Fathers Day

Third Sunday
in June

A day to celebrate fathers


across the world

All businesses are open. Fathers


usually receive gifts of appreciation
on this day.

Civic Holiday

First Monday
in August

An extra holiday in the


summer months

Some businesses may be closed.

Thanksgiving
Day

Second
Monday in
October

Celebrates the harvest


a day to give thanks

Most Canadians spend this day with


their families.

Halloween

October 31

According to Celtic legend


this is a day when spirits
cross from the land of
the dead to the land of
the living.

All businesses are open. Some people


carve pumpkins and leave them in
front of their homes. Children dress in
costumes and go from house to house
to collect candy. Some adults dress in
costumes and attend dress-up parties.

Remembrance
Day

November 11

A day to remember all


the armed forces who
have served and died
protecting Canada.

Some government offices are closed.


You may see many parades and
ceremonies where officials will lay
flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier.

Boxing Day

December 26

The day after Christmas.


In the past employees
would receive a gift from
their employers called a
Christmas box.

Most shopping malls begin their


Boxing Week sales and you may be
able to buy electronics, clothes and
other items much more cheaply.

43

checklist
i feel like i know more
about canada since i:
Read about Canadian Rights and Freedoms
Read about Canadian laws
Understand that I cannot buy or drink alcohol
under the age of 19
Understand that I cannot buy tobacco under
the age of 19
section 4

Know that I can call Police Services on campus


and the Waterloo Region Police Services for any
emergencies off campus
Read the tips on dealing with culture shock

i Am in cAnAdA

Know I can get advice on transitioning to


life in Canada
Know the different holidays in Ontario and Canada
Understand that I can get help with my English at
Renison and the Writing Centre

notes:

44

section 5
i Am in wAterloo
contActing your fAmily
living in wAterloo
getting Around the city
trAvelling outside ontArio
shopping
grocery shopping
bAnking in cAnAdA
communicAtion
finding work
heAlth And wellness
visiting heAlth services
mentAl heAlth
checklist

i Am in wAterloo!
welcome to the city of waterloo! we have provide
you with some information about the city including
how to get around, setting-up banking, shopping,
banking, communication, finding work and support
services, as well as health and wellness information to
help you transition.

contActing your fAmily

Before you do anything, we are sure that your family back


home would like to know that you arrived safely. Here are
some suggestions for contacting people in other countries.
by telephone

section 5

If you use telephone or calling cards to make long distance


calls from a payphone it is usually less expensive than paying
cash. You can purchase calling cards at the Turnkey Desk in
the Student Life Centre (SLC) or at convenience stores. You
can also make a collect call to charge the cost to the person
you are calling.
how do i cAll overseAs?

i Am in wAterloo

1. Dial 011, then the country code, then the city code followed
by the local number.
2. For a collect call, third-party billing or calling card calls,
dial 01, then the country code, then the city code followed
by the local number.
3. Check the phone book or dial 0 for operator assistance if
you do not know the country and city code of the location
you are calling.
by email
You can use the computers in the SLC to quickly send an
email to your family to let them know that you arrived
safely. These computers are set up for free Internet use for
intervals of three to five minutes. Go to the Turnkey Desk for
information. Internet access is also available at the libraries.

46

by mail
The citys main post office is located in uptown Waterloo at 70 King Street
North. Many drug stores and convenience stores also have postal outlets. If
you want to send a letter, you can purchase envelopes, paper and stamps in
International News on the main floor of the SLC. Staff in the store will direct
you to the nearest mail box. If you are sending a letter overseas, have it
weighed at the post office to ensure there is sufficient postage. Canada Post
has the latest postage rates.

If you want your mail to be delivered quickly, you can send it via Xpresspost
or Priority Courier from a Canada Post outlet. You can also use other courier
services such as FedEx or UPS. Prices vary according to the destination.

section 5

If you change your address, a change of address card can be filled out at
the post office. This authorizes Canada Post to forward your mail to your new
address. Notify Canada Post of your address change two weeks prior to your
move. There is a charge for this service.
by telegram or fax
To send a telegram, look in the Yellow Pages under Telegram Service for
businesses that offer this service. If you wish to send a fax, visit the MediaDoc
outlets on campus.

i Am in wAterloo

living in wAterloo

Waterloo is one of the cities which form the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
The region is made up of the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge (also
known as the Tri-Cities) and the townships of Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich
and North Dumfries. Waterloo and nearby Kitchener have a wide selection
of stores where you can purchase anything from specialty foods to designer
clothing. You will find also find clubs, theatres, art galleries, a highly regarded
symphony orchestra and hundreds of restaurants nearby. If you want any
recommendations about where to shop and what to do around the city, visit
the Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre (SLC).

the closest post office outlet to campus is located inside the 7eleven
store at 256 king street, waterloo. it is a 20-minute walk from campus.

post office
locAtion

47

location
The region lies in southern Ontario about two hours from the United States
border. The cities of Toronto, Hamilton and London can also be accessed by
highway and are about one hour away in each direction. Waterloos location
makes it the perfect place to explore much of Ontario. You can take a two-hour
car or bus ride to Niagara Falls, a popular tourist attraction, and you do not
have to drive very far to explore the country side.
the climate
Waterloo experiences diverse weather from hot and humid summers to very
cold winters. Temperatures can reach as high as 30C (86F) and as low as -20C
(-10F). We have four distinct seasons: summer, fall/autumn, winter and spring.
whAt cAn i expect from eAch seAson?

section 5
I am in waterloo

fall

september to december
September usually starts out as a warm month. But it becomes
cooler at night as October nears. The fall can be windy and rainy,
particularly in November.

winter

december to march
Winters in Canada are usually quite cold, with regular snowfalls
that leave 5cm to 20cm of snow on the ground. In Waterloo we
also experience high winds and drifting snow.

spring

march to June
March and April are still quite cool and rainy, but as we near June it
becomes mild and sunny.

summer

June to september
Summers are usually very warm and sunny. The temperature can
rise to around 30C and conditions can become hazy, hot and
humid in July and August.

fall

winter

did you know that the cities of kitchener and waterloo are
sometimes known as k-w or the twin cities?

spring

summer

INTERESTING

48

whAt Are the AverAge dAily temperAtures throughout the yeAr?


temperAture JAn

feb mAr Apr mAy Jun

Jul Aug sep

oct nov dec

Average Daily
Maximum (c)

-2

-2

11

19

23

26

25

20

13

Average Daily
Minimum (c)

-10

-10W

-5

11

14

13

-7

Mean

-6

-6

-1

13

17

20

19

14

-3

Rain (mm)

20

27

49

64

76

80

90

93

90

70

72

43

Snow (cm)

40

33

22

13

41

Total (mm)

54

56

73

73

76

80

90

93

90

70

83

79

Snow Cover (cm)

16

14

section 5

getting Around the city

I am in waterloo

Once you arrive in Waterloo, explore the city so that you can
become familiar with your new surroundings. uWaterloo is a
commuter campus, this means that many students drive, walk,
bike and take public transit to campus every day. As you can
imagine, certain times of the day mean that there is a lot of
traffic on the roads around campus. Please remember to always
follow the Canadian traffic safety regulations.
local bus
The Grand River Transit (GRT) bus system connects the
Tri-Cities (Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge). The GRT
operates seven days a week and covers over 50 routes
including ixpress or Routes 7, 8, 9 or 12 on University Avenue
which go straight to uWaterloo and connect with other routes
in the region. All students can access the bus system by using
their uWaterloo identity card or WatCard. The cost of using
the bus is part of your tuition fees.

ixpress:
A GRT bus route that runs
between Waterloo, Kitchener
and Cambridge and stops
at 13 stations along the way.
On weekdays the bus runs
every 10 minutes between
7:00am and 6:00pm, every
15 minutes from 6:00pm to
8:00pm and every 30 minutes
until 11:00pm. On weekends
the bus runs every 15 minutes
and 30 minutes on Saturdays
and Sundays respectively.

49

hoW do I use the bus system?

1. plan your route.


Use the GRT EasyGo feature to:
Enter your current location
Enter your destination
Choose whether you want to see schedules
for today or in the future
Enter your departure times
View PDF versions of the bus schedules
You can also visit the Turnkey Desk in Student Life Centre
(SLC) for route schedules. Always verify when your bus will
arrive at your stop so that you do not miss it or have to wait
outside if it is cold or raining.
2. locate the bus stop.
section 5

Find the closest bus stop. Bus stops vary depending on the
route and your location. Some bus stops are sheltered, have
seating and detailed routes or schedules posted. Other bus
stops have no shelter or seating. Look out for the GRT bus stop
sign and make sure that you are on the correct side of the road
for your trip.

I am in waterloo

3. get on the bus.


Once the bus arrives, wait for it to stop completely. Make sure
you have either your WatCard (if youre a student) or the cash
fare if you do not have your WatCard yet. Once you step onto
the bus, show the driver your WatCard or place your money in
the square fare box next to the driver. Bus drivers cannot give
you any change so you need the exact fare. Fare is $3.00.
4. request a stop.
The bus will usually stop at major bus stations along the route.
If there are no passengers waiting for the bus at smaller bus
stops, the driver may not stop. If you need to get off the bus
along the route press the Request a Stop button or cable
next to your seat and the bus driver will stop the bus at the
next scheduled stop. At night you can also request a nonscheduled stop along your route at night if it is safe for the bus.

50

buses to leave waterloo


feds bus

The Feds Bus is an inexpensive way to get to Toronto on


the weekend. There are various pick-up and drop-off times
for this service. It leaves SLC on Friday afternoon and
returns from Toronto on Sunday afternoon. Buy tickets
online or at the Turnkey Desk in the SLC.

greyhound canada Greyhound Bus Service is available from the bus terminal
in downtown Kitchener. You can take a city bus from
campus directly to the bus terminal. Fridays are the
busiest day for bus travel, so make sure you arrive at the
bus station well before your bus is scheduled to leave.
by car
Owning a car in Canada can be quite expensive to buy and maintain. If you
plan to purchase a vehicle in Canada, you need car insurance and an Ontario
drivers license. You should also know that any car you drive:
section 5

Must be registered
Must be covered by an insurance policy
Any driver must have a valid drivers license
It is illegal to operate a vehicle without the registration in the vehicle and
without a valid license, as well as if you are under the influence of drugs
or alcohol.

I am in waterloo

If you want a car for a short period of time, such as a weekend trip, you may
want to rent a car. Most rental car agencies require drivers to be 23 years old
for insurance purposes, and you need a:
Valid drivers license and passport (if you do not have a
Canadian drivers license)
Credit card
Deposit
When you are driving, carry your:
Valid home country drivers license or Ontario drivers license
An international drivers license (if applicable)
A copy of your valid Study Permit
A letter confirming your registration status at the University of Waterloo
hoW do I obtaIn an ontarIo drIvers lIcense?

A valid drivers license is required by law to drive a car or other motor vehicle.
If you have a valid drivers license from your home country it will only be valid
in Canada for 60 days. If your drivers license is from a country other than the
United States, you must also have an international drivers license. If you plan
to drive while you are here and do not have an international drivers license,
you must apply for an Ontario drivers license.

51

Anyone 16 years and older can apply for a drivers license in Ontario. Novice
drivers, or anyone who has never driven before, will need to take a driver;s test
and gain experience before they receive a full license. There are 15 types of
licenses in the province but to operate a car, minivan or small pick-up truck you
only need a G or full license.
You will need to read about the rules of the road in Canada. You can study by
purchasing a road-safety book or by enrolling in a driver-training program.
When you are ready you can take the theory test. You can buy a copy of the
book online through Service Ontario.

section 5

What If I am an experIenced drIver?

I am in waterloo

If you have 12 or 24 months of driving experience in your own country within


the past three years at the time of application, some of the mandatory waiting
times can be waived. You need to present a valid foreign drivers licence and
you need a written statement of your driving experience from the licensing
department in your home country, or from the Embassy, Consulate or High
Commissioners. The letter must be:
On official letterhead
Less than six months old
Written in either English or French
What do I need to knoW about beIng a neW drIver?

Ontario has a graduated licensing system and there are costs involved in each step.
For information about the testing you need to visit the Ontario Drive Test Centre.
As a new driver you must be at least 16 years of age and you first need
to pass an eye and written test to obtain a G1 drivers license. Several
restrictions apply to a G1 license, including the fact that you may only drive
with another fully licensed person.
After 12 months you need to take a road test to qualify for your G2 license.
There are still some restrictions for a G2 license and most apply if you are not
yet 19 years of age.
After another 12 months, you need to take another road test to qualify for full
license privileges to obtain a Class G license.
You can take a Driver Education Course at a driving school. Once you have
completed the course your insurance company may reduce your insurance
premiums if you plan to own a car.

52

What should I knoW If I am drIvIng?

As a driver you are responsible for maintaining safe driving conditions for
yourself and other drivers. In Canada, pedestrians, not cars, have the right of
way. When driving, keep your eyes open for pedestrians at all times, especially
around the university.
1. make sure your car is well maintained.
Keep a record of all your car maintenance checks and verify that your lights,
horn and tires are in good working order before you leave your house each day.
2. prepare your car for winter driving.
If you have never driven in snow or ice before, take your time and prepare your
car for the cold weather. Purchase winter tires and an ice scraper. Before you
leave anywhere make sure all your car lights work and scrape any ice and snow
off the windows of your car so that you can see. Many Canadians purchase a
Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) membership for access to emergency
road service (boosting or towing your car).
section 5

3. be alert.
Keep within the road speed limits and look out for animals, children or students
on the road. The Waterloo Region has a large Mennonite community and many
of them drive horse-drawn vehicles. If you come across one on the road make
sure that you give the driver plenty of space to manoeuvre.
Where do I park?

I am in waterloo

If you are driving through the city you may have to pay for
parking if you park on the street or in a parking garage. Note
that during the winter months you cannot park overnight on
the street. Remember to watch for No Parking signs to avoid
a parking ticket.
Several parking lots on campus require that you pay cash
to park. If you will park frequently on campus, visit Parking
Services in the General Service Complex (GSC) or apply
through the ePark system to purchase a parking pass.
Is there a car-sharIng optIon In Waterloo?

Check out the Grand River Carshare website for more


information about sharing a car with other members in
the community.
What Is the rIde board?

One of the least expensive ways to travel out of town is to ride with another
student. Check the Ride Board in SLC for information on students who are
willing to offer transportation to other students for a small fee (or no fee
sometimes). Ask the Turnkey Desk for more information.

53

by train
Travelling by train is a relaxing, relatively inexpensive way to travel from
Kitchener-Waterloo to Toronto or across Canada. The Via Rail station is
downtown Kitchener.
by air
To travel across the country the fastest option is to fly. Waterloo Region has a
small airport that operates flights to certain destinations across Canada. You
can also take flights from the Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto. The largest
airlines in Canada are Air Canada, Westjet and Porter. Contact a travel agent or
check airline websites for information about ticket pricing.
by bicycle

section 5

Many students enjoy riding their bicycles to school and around the city. It is
an economical, eco-friendly and healthier option than driving. K-W is a bikefriendly region and most roads have dedicated bicycle lanes. On campus we
have many bike racks where you can lock your bike for the day. Bicycles and
accessories like bike locks can be purchased from many stores in Waterloo.
We also have a resource called the UW Bike Centre on campus. It provides:
Resources and tools for fixing your bicycle
A bike auction where you have the chance to bid on a used bicycle
The Yellow Bike Program which allows you to loan or rent a bike for up
to 24 hours during the spring and fall terms

I am in waterloo

walking
If you live close to campus you may want to travel by foot. Walking in Waterloo
is relatively safe, as long as you follow basic traffic safety. Most major roads have
pedestrian sidewalks which will ensure that you remain safe when you walk.
What should I knoW If I am WalkIng?

Pedestrians or walkers are the most vulnerable group of travellers. If you walk
to campus or anywhere in the city follow these basic rules:
1. dress appropriately.
As a walker you must remain visible so that on-coming traffic can see you.
If you are walking home at dusk or at night, wear something bright that will
be visible to motorists. Make sure to dress for the weather and consider
carrying an umbrella with you in case it rains.
2. invest in good footwear.
Canada is a very cold country and during winter and late fall the ground can
freeze and become very slippery. The best types of walking shoes are ones
that have rubber on the bottom for good grip and a water-proof exterior. Try
to avoid wearing shoes with leather or plastic soles or any shoes with a high
heel. During the winter months the municipality sprays the roads with salt and
gravel to melt the snow and this salty mixture can ruin or stain your shoes.

54

3. Avoid walking at night.


If you have a class or tutorial that finishes late at night consider alternate
means of transportation to get home. Drivers sometimes have difficulty seeing
pedestrians at night, especially if you are walking on a road that does not
have a sidewalk or a dedicated pedestrian lane. It is also cooler at night and
sometimes ice may form on the roads. A driver may find it more difficult to
stop the vehicle in time if there is too much ice on the roads.
4. use the crosswalks.
Most traffic lights have signs that indicate when it is safe for pedestrians
to cross. When you come to an intersection:
Push the pedestrian button on a traffic light pole to send a signal
to the traffic light that you are ready to cross the road
Wait for the signal that allows you to safely cross the road
Make sure that the traffic has halted before you cross the road

section 5

Do not cross the road unless you are at a pedestrian crossing and
do not cross the road until all the cars on both sides of the road
have stopped. Because cars travel on the right-hand side in Canada
remember to look right first, then left, then right again before you
begin to cross the road.

I am in waterloo

trAvelling outside ontArio

Canada is a beautiful country with many diverse areas. We recommend that you
take some time to explore the country on your school breaks. If you plan to travel
around Canada take your identification with you. If you do not want to travel with
your passport, you can use your Ontario ID card or your drivers license. Travelling
across the country is relatively safe but we encourage you to always notify
someone of where you are going and when youll return to Waterloo.
travel outside canada during your stay
If you plan to travel outside Canada during your studies, verify which immigration
documents you need to enter different countries. If you require a visa you must
apply for it well in advance. Regulations for visa requirements for other countries
vary depending on your destination and your country of citizenship.
If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada make sure to
apply for a multiple entry TRV in your home country to ensure that you do not
need to do so in Canada. When you return to Canada make sure that you have
your passport and study permit. We recommend that you also carry a copy of
your Letter of Enrolment confirming that you are a student at uWaterloo and
proof of financial support (i.e. bank statement or letter from your sponsor).

55

shopping

There is a wide variety of shopping available to students in


the Kitchener-Waterloo region and the Waterloo Residences
has a list of great shopping resources. In addition to the two
major malls, the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and the Fairview
Park Mall in Kitchener, there are a number of shopping plazas.
Commercial business districts such as Uptown Waterloo and
Downtown Kitchener contain specialized stores and boutiques
that tend to be slightly more expensive.

shopping plazas:
Smaller versions of shopping
malls that usually contain a
variety of stores and services.

where to buy products and/or services

section 5

barbershop

A shop where (mostly) men have


their hair cut.

big-box store

A shop or store that is part of a chain


or franchise. These stores have many
departments and can be extremely big,
but often offer lower prices because
they buy merchandise in large quantities.

boutique

A smaller, privately-owned store that sells


high-end merchandise.

I am in waterloo

convenience stores Usually a small store that sells a wide


variety of things in a convenient location.
Convenience stores usually have long
opening hours.
department store

A large store with many different


departments or sections ranging from
clothes to housewares.

discount stores

These stores sell items at reduced prices.

ethnic stores

Shops that sell goods that appeal to or


have ethnic or cultural significance.

farmers market

A market where you can buy fresh fruits,


vegetables and dairy products directly
from a local farmer or producer. There is a
large farmers market in St. Jacobs and one
in Kitchener. You can also buy fruits and
vegetables at the uWaterloo Farm Market
which is organized by Food Services.

flea market

A market, usually held outside, where you


can buy new and second-hand goods.

grocery store

A store that sells fruits, vegetables, dairy,


bread, meat and other food products
and often toiletries. There is more about
grocery stores on page 57.

56

kiosk

A small shop that sells newspapers, tickets or food.

liquour store

A store or shop that sells alcoholic drinks. You must be


19 years of age to buy alcohol in Ontario (generally called
the LCBO in Ontario).

mall

A large building that contains 50-100 different stores,


places to eat and sometimes even movie theatres under
one roof.

plaza or strip mall

A mini-mall where all the stores are arranged in a row and


are not necessarily under one roof.

pub or bar

A place where people go to drink alcohol drinks. Some


pubs and bars offer food and dancing.

salon

A place that offers beauty treatments such as


hairdressing, manicures and pedicures.

second-hand stores Stores that sell second-hand or used goods.

section 5

grocery shopping

I am in waterloo

In Canada grocery stores sell fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products, nonalcoholic drinks and other household items. In most cases the bigger the store,
the better the deals you will find and the cheaper the goods. Some grocery
stores in Waterloo sell more than just food and you can buy non-household
items like clothes, small appliances and electronics such as phones. They
operate seven days a week, usually between 9:00am and 9:00pm. Waterloo
Residences provides a list of the closest grocery stores close to campus.
The first time you shop in Canada, you may find it overwhelming there is a lot of
variety, new foods and terms at a grocery store. Here are a few terms to help you:
generic brands

Also known as no-name brands. These items are usually


cheaper than many well-known labelled brands.

reusable bag

You can purchase reusable bags at all of the grocery


stores to carry your groceries. If you dont have these
bags, many stores charge you a fee to pack your groceries
in plastic bags. Using reusable bags is also better for the
environment.

debit machine

A lot of people in Canada prefer to carry their bank cards


with them, rather than carrying cash. You will notice that
the cashier at the grocery store may ask you whether
youre paying with cash, debit or credit. If youre paying
with a bank card, you use a debit machine to complete
the sale. A representative from your bank will show you
how this works.

supermarket

A large store or shop selling groceries and household goods.

57

student deals and discounts


As a student you may be eligible for a number of store discounts. Some
grocery stores have special student days where students can receive a discount
on their grocery shopping. Watch for student specials, especially around the
beginning and the end of term. The ISE team has created a list of other tips
for saving money.
international student identity card
As an international student you may be eligible for additional discounts
if you have the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). It is the most
widely accepted form of student identification in the world. It entitles
you to discounts on everything from museum admission and theatre
tickets to airplane and train tickets. This card is available to students of
any age for a modest fee. Apply through Travel Cuts if youre interested.
All you need to apply is a passport-sized photograph of yourself and
proof of full-time student status.
section 5

bAnking in cAnAdA

One of the first things to do when you arrive in Canada is open a bank account.
There many different types of financial institutions in Waterloo including:

I am in waterloo

bank

A financial institution that receives money through


deposits. Banks usually take this money and invest it and
provide loan opportunities for their clients. Banks tend to
be large institutions with branches all across the country.

credit union

A co-operative owned financial institution offering


banking services.

trust company

An institution that acts on behalf of an agent or a trustee


to manage funds and other assets.

All three offer several types of accounts and services, varying interest rates and
service charges. Consider these charges and services, as well as the location
when you choose a financial institution. We do have a branch of the Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) on campus in the Student Life Centre (SLC)
which you may find very convenient.

58

to open a bank account


1. gather your documents.
You will likely need two pieces of identification (ID) to open a bank account.
Passport
Study permit
Letter of Acceptance or Letter of Enrollment
Travellers cheques or funds
At the uWaterloo branch of CIBC you can use your WatCard as one of the
pieces of identification. Some branches also require you to provide a home
address in Waterloo in order to open a new account.
2. choose a bank and make an appointment.
There are several banks and credit unions in Waterloo:
Bank of Nova Scotia
Royal Bank of Canada
section 5

Toronto Dominion
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Bank of Montreal
Mennonite Credit and Savings Union
Libro Financial Group

I am in waterloo

Your Neighbourhood Credit Union


Education Credit Union
3. choose your account type
There are four main types of accounts:
type

description

Chequing

An everyday account that earns little or no interest. You can regularly


withdraw money and write cheques.

Savings

Savings accounts earn interest. You would use this account to store
money over longer periods of time. Generally you cannot write
cheques from a savings account.

Combination

This account usually earns interest and you may be able to write a
specified number of cheques from it.

Foreign currency

If you want to keep some money in a different currency, you may want
to open this type of account.

59

What happens next?

When you open your new account the bank will give you a bank card, also
known as a debit card. This card allows you to use Automated Teller Machines
(ATMs) for deposits, withdrawals and to pay your bills during or after normal
business hours. You can also use it to pay for items at stores and restaurants
with debit machines instead of using cash.
Bank cards are very convenient, but make sure that you understand the terms
and conditions. Ask the bank about transaction fees, as these vary from bank
to bank. You will also be given a PIN (personal identification number) with your
bank card to access your account through an ATM or debit machine. Your PIN
is your only protection against unauthorized use so do not reveal it to anyone
even bank employees. If you lose your bank card or it is stolen, report this to the
financial institution immediately.

section 5

Most financial institutions offer Internet banking which allows you to check your
account balance, pay your bills and transfer money online. Financial institutions
are usually open during the day, Monday to Friday, and closed on Saturday and
Sunday. Some branches are open on evenings and weekends.
bank loans and credit cards

I am in waterloo

Some banks may offer you a loan, line of credit or a credit card. For some loans
and lines of credit you may be required to provide some collateral or a safety
deposit in the form of cash or goods. This collateral is usually forfeited if you do
not make the payments on your loan.
Once you start using the credit, you will be charged interest on it if you do not
pay it back after a certain amount of time. Interest on loans and credit cards is
much higher than the interest offered for your savings accounts. That means if
you do not pay the credit card balance each month, or pay the loan according
to the payment terms, it may cost you more to borrow money or a use a credit
card. If you consider a loan, be confident that you can make the payments.
what types of credit cards are there?
Every bank will have at least one credit card that offers you different things.
Some credit cards have a lower interest rate which means that you may have
to pay an annual fee to use the card.
Some banks offer gift cards and incentives such as discounts for online and
store purchases if you use their credit frequently.
In Canada, banks generally issue three types of credit cards: Visa, MasterCard
and American Express. If you apply for a credit card from a Canadian Financial
Institution you may need to make a deposit of $500 or more which will be held in
a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). This amount will be your credit limit.

60

how do credit cards work?


Visa and MasterCard are issued at all major financial institutions and are
generally accepted at stores and restaurants. With a credit card you can make
purchases without carrying cash and have a period of grace before you have to
pay for the purchases. However, if you do not pay the full amount of the credit
card bill by the due date, the financial institution will charge you a high interest
rate on the total amount of the bill, regardless of any amount you paid during
the month. You will also be charged interest on any purchases made after the
due date. If you do not pay at least the minimum payment amount on your
credit card bill, the items you purchased could be repossessed.

section 5

Financial institutions offer various credit card incentives to attract customers.


Look carefully at the features of different credit cards and choose one that
best suits your needs. Department stores such as Sears and The Bay offer their
own credit cards which often have more generous terms than cards such as
Visa or MasterCard, but higher interest rates. Retailers often charge interest
only on the outstanding balance and from the date of the credit card bill rather
than from the date of purchase. If you consider applying for a credit card,
understand the terms and conditions of repayment and be certain you can pay
the credit card bill when it arrives.

communicAtion

I am in waterloo

internet
If you live in residence or work on campus you can access the uWaterloo
Internet wireless service. If you live off campus you may have to pay for your
Internet service. Some apartments include Internet as part of the overall rent,
but if yours does not then you can contact an Internet service provider to set
one up. The two largest Internet service providers in Waterloo are Bell and
Rogers, however there are a number of other companies that offer competitive
prices. All offer comparable services, but it is up to you to find out which one
suits your needs best. You want to purchase a package or band based on how
much you use the Internet and the prices can range from $40 to $200.
telephone and cellphones
Owning a cellphone in Canada can be quite expensive. Cellphone companies
offer many different packages and plans for students. Most companies offer a
pay-as-you go service and a contract service. Some cellphone companies may
not allow you to use an unlocked phone and you may have to buy a cellphone
directly from the service provider.
Some providers will give you a free phone with the contract, but be careful
because most of these contracts are a minimum of three years. If you dont get
a free phone with a contract, the cost of the phone is usually added to your
monthly bill. If you do not want a cellphone contract you can buy a cellphone
upfront and use the pay-as-you-go or prepaid option.

61

In Ontario, we have a number of cellphone companies to choose


from including Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido, Koodo, Wind and Virgin.
You can visit each providers website for a detailed listing of
services, prices and offers. Remember, you always have the
option to use Skype, Google Phone and other online tools to
communicate with your family and friends too.
where can i get a phone?
You can buy a cellphone from:
Phone stores or kiosks in Conestoga or Fairview Park malls
Mobile phone stores
Online
Campus Tech
What do I need to sIgn up for servIce?

Needs may vary from provider to provider but most students need:
section 5

Government-issued photo identification


Proof of address

I am in waterloo

Some providers will run your credit score to see if you have good
credit and if you pay your bills on time. If you do not have any
credit history or if you have a bad credit history, the provider may
not be able to offer you a phone or they may place restrictions
and limits to the service.
calling cards
Another option of communication could be calling cards. Calling
cards are pre-paid telephone credits that you can use to phone
anywhere in the world. They are available in $2.50, $5, $10 and
$20 denominations. Calling cards are a cost-effective way of
communicating with your family or anyone outside of Canada.
Go to page 46 for instructions on how to use the card or look at
the back of the card. Cards are available from the Turnkey Desk,
grocery stores and convenience stores.

finding work

Many students work part time when they are registered in courses
and full time during scheduled breaks. You need to verify that you
are eligible to work in Canada. All off-campus work requires a work social insurance number:
permit. If you are not in a co-op program and you want to work off
A number the Government of
campus you will need an off-campus work permit. If you are in a
Canada uses in the administration
co-op program you need a co-op work permit. In order to be paid of various government
programs and to keep track
by the employer, you will need a social insurance number (SIN).
of income for tax purposes.

62

uWaterloos Centre for Career Action (CECA) provides many resources and
tools to help you on your Canadian job search. CECA also provides career
advising support for all students at uWaterloo. We suggest that you make an
appointment with a career advisor or attend a career drop-in session for more
information about the Canadian job market and tips on how to find work. You
can also access the university job portal JobMine for a list of employers who
are currently hiring students.
teaching and research assistantships
If you are in a graduate program, you may apply to become a teaching or
research assistant within your department. Check with your supervisor for
more information, or contact the graduate program coordinator in your
department.
working on campus

section 5

If you are currently registered full time in a degree program and you have a
valid study permit, you may be eligible to work part-time on-campus without
a work permit. Typical pay ranges from $9 to $12 per hour.
co-op employment

I am in waterloo

If you are a co-op student, work-terms are part of your degree requirements
and you must obtain a work permit before you begin your work placement.
Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA) can provide information
about the work permit application and provide you with a letter from the
university confirming that your work terms are required to complete your
program. The work permit will be valid for the duration of your study permit
and passport. Contact your faculty advisor or CECA for more information
about co-op programs and jobs.
off-campus employment
You can apply for an off-campus work permit if you meet the
eligibility requirements. You:
Are a registered full-time degree student
Have completed six months of full-time studies in a degree program
out of the past 12 months
Are in good academic standing
Are not on exchange to Canada
The work permit authorizes you to work for up to 20 hours per week during
regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks (e.g. winter
or summer holidays and Reading Week). Even if you work off campus, your
studies must remain your top priority.

63

What If my spouse needs a Work permIt?

Your spouse can apply for a work permit to work on or off campus, if you have
a valid study permit. Some types of employment will require that your spouse
complete an immigration medical exam. A spousal work permit permits your
spouse to receive an open, unrestricted work permit to work at most jobs in
Canada. The permit will be valid for the same length of your study work permit.
If your spouse did not complete an immigration medical before coming to
Canada they will receive a restricted work permit. You can contact an advisor
for more information about applying for a work permit for your spouse.
What If I need a Work permIt after I graduate?

After you complete your degree requirements you may be able to work in
Canada for up to three years. To do this you must obtain a post-graduation
work permit within 90 days of completing your program.
income tax
section 5
I am in waterloo

Any money that you receive from your work in Canada is taxed from your pay
cheque. This tax is called income tax and helps to pay for public services such
as health care, police services and infrastructure. When you start a job, the
employer will have you complete a tax form called a TD1 form which authorizes
income tax deduction from your pay cheque. This form is important because
it may help you avoid paying extra taxes when you file your tax return in April.
We hold a tax information session every February to give you information about
filing taxes in Canada and we also have information on our website.
support services for your dependents
If you bring your spouse or any other dependents to Canada it is important that
you know about some of the services available to them during their stay.
support for your spouse
In some circumstances, your spouse may be eligible for an open work permit while
you pursue your studies. For more information about applying for this permit, visit
the ISE website. Your spouse can also take advantage of the programs.
international spouses group The International Spouses Group provides social
and cultural support programs and activities for
all uWaterloo international spouses. Spouses can
sign up to join the email list through the groups
co-ordinator, Nancy Matthews, or look at the
schedule of events for more information.

64

programs for your children


In Canada, children under the age of 12 may not be left alone. An adult must be
present at all times or the child must be enrolled in school. Most children begin
kindergarten at the age of five though schools with junior kindergarten will
accept children at age four. Schools are divided into elementary and secondary
schools. In some areas, there are middle schools, but typically children in
kindergarten to grade eight attend elementary schools and children in grades
nine to 12 attend secondary schools, also called high schools.

the school system


(417 years)

Two school boards in Waterloo Region


Public school with no religious affiliation
Catholic school, also known as a separate school
Tuition fees range from $10,000$12,000 per student per year
Tuition fees may be waived if you are a registered student and you
provide proof that you have paid your tuition fees to uWaterloo

section 5

Contact the Graduate Studies Office or Registrars Office for a letter


confirming that you registered and paid your fees
Provide a copy of your passport, your study permit and your
childrens passports

day care
(14 years)

We have day care or day care or childcare facilities


on the uWaterloo campus and in the community
Facilities are costly
Offer a range of full-day and half-day programs

I am in waterloo

Facilities are in great demand, so apply early


You may qualify for a bursary to help you with the cost of day care

heAlth And wellness

Your health is incredibly important. We want to make sure that you stay healthy
during your stay in Canada. In the case that you require medical treatment,
there are health plans available to you.
university health insurance plan (uhip)
All registered international students are automatically enrolled in the University
Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). If you are bringing your dependents with you to
Canada, they must be enrolled in UHIP within 30 days of their arrival to avoid
a fine.

65

Whats covered under uhIp?

UHIP covers basic medical services such as hospital and doctors visitors.
hoW do I apply?

Students are automatically enrolled in UHIP when they register for courses.
You can apply to register your dependents in the plan at the Student Accounts
Office. You only need to complete the UHIP application form only once. The
Student Accounts Office will email you with more information about how you
can access your health card.
hoW do I pay my premIums?

section 5

The cost of purchasing UHIP varies according to the number of people


covered; paying UHIP premiums is your responsibility. If you are an
undergraduate degree or undergraduate exchange student, your UHIP
premium appears on your September account for the fall term and your
January account for the winter and spring terms. You must maintain
continuous enrolment in UHIP, even if you leave Canada for one term during
the year. Graduate degree and graduate exchange students will be assessed
the UHIP premium on their account in three payments:
September for the fall term
January for the winter term
May for the spring term
hoW do I make a claIm?

I am in waterloo

If you require medical attention, present proof of UHIP coverageyour UHIP


card or Proof of Coverage UHIP application formand a UHIP claim form to
the doctor.
Both you and the doctor complete the claim form and in most cases. The
doctor mails it to the insurance company to be reimbursed for medical services
provided to you. Sometimes the doctor requires that you pay the medical
fees at the time of treatment. If this happens, mail the completed UHIP claim
form with your receipt for payment to the insurance company and you will be
reimbursed for the medical services provided to you.
can I be exempt from uhIp?

The insurance company has a list of health plans that are exempt from UHIP.
If you would like to be exempt you can fill out a Certification for UHIP
Exemption Form.
feds/gsA health and dental plan
As a registered full-time student at the University of Waterloo, you are
covered under the FEDS/GSA Health and Dental Plan. The student plan is
supplementary to UHIP coverage, and covers medical services that the UHIP
plan does not, such as dentist visits and prescriptions.

66

visiting heAlth services

Medical services are expensive, especially if you do not have any health
insurance. Kitchener-Waterloo has a shortage of physicians and it is very
difficult to find a family physician. If you or your dependents become ill,
you can visit:
The Health Services complex on campus
A walk-in or urgent care clinic in the city
A hospital when it is an emergency only (you should seek out medical
attention on campus or at a walk-in clinic before you go to the hospital)
If illness has affected your academic standing, talk to your professor. Health
Services can provide verification of your illness, if you request it, but only if
you were seen at Health Services for that illness.
uwaterloo health services

section 5
I am in waterloo

The uWaterloo Health Services facility


is located on campus, across the Ring
Road from the SLC. It offers confidential
medical services to all students. If you
have any kind of medical emergency, a
medical question or would like to make
an appointment to see a doctor, call the
Health Services office. If you need to
cancel an appointment, you must do so
within 24 hours of the appointment or
you will be charged a fee. Please keep in
mind that Health Services closes during
the Christmas holidays, but there is
always a doctor on call.
walk-in and urgent-care clinics
If you have a medical problem that needs immediate attention but is not life
threatening, you can go to a walk-in clinic, where you can see a doctor without
making an appointment. Medical staff in these types of clinics do not take
x-rays, set bones or provide stitches to close cuts or wounds. If you require
this type of medical attention, you must visit an urgent care clinic or a hospital
emergency department.
Walk-in and urgent care clinics charge medical fees beyond the fees covered
by the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). These clinics charge a $100 fee
that you must pay before medical service is provided; you can then submit your
UHIP claim form to the insurance company for reimbursement of the portion of
the fee that is covered by UHIP.

67

hospitals
Hospital emergency departments may charge fees that are higher
than those covered by UHIP. If you go to a hospital emergency
department the severity of your medical condition will be
assessed; waiting times to see doctors are based on the severity
of medical assessments. Emergency rooms are usually very busy
and waiting times can be very long. Make sure to bring your:
WatCard
UHIP enrolment form or UHIP card
UHIP claim form
telehealth ontario

section 5

You can call Telehealth Ontario, a confidential telephone service, to get health
advice or general health information from a registered nurse. This service is
free and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It does not replace a doctors
diagnosis or a call for an ambulance, but this service can help answer your
medical questions.

mentAl heAlth

uWaterloo offers free counselling services for students who are facing issues
related to:

I am in waterloo

Depression
Anxiety
Stress
Grief
Sexuality
Relationships
Substance abuse
Students can go to Counselling Services in the office in Needles Hall (NH),
residences and in your faculty. All sessions are private and confidential and are
conducted in a safe welcoming environment.

68

checklist
did i:
Contact my family to let them know I arrived safely
Explore the city
Find stores where I can get shopping done
Open a bank account
Get Internet
Get phone service
section 5

Apply for a work permit (if applicable)


Apply for UHIP

i Am in wAterloo

notes:

69

section 6
i Am on cAmpus
getting to know the cAmpus
pArticipAting in orientAtion
getting reAdy for clAsses
checklist

i Am
on cAmpus
your travelling is done, but your journey is not. you are about to begin
your university career. you may be nervous, excited or a bit of both.
this section will help you get settled on campus, in the classroom, and
possibly prepare you for travelling outside of canada when you get
the chance.

getting to know the cAmpus

You have likely done your research about uWaterloo, and that is why you chose
to come here. There are so many great things about the university academic
programs, its research, its entrepreneurial programs, its history and what a
degree from uWaterloo represents. Now you will be a part of this community
every day. Below is a campus map and a list of some of the places on campus
that you want to make sure that you visit:
The Physics Observatory to look at the stars
The Physical Activities Complex or the Columbia Icefields to see the facilities
The School of Architecture in Cambridge in the historic Riverside Silk Mill
along the banks of the Grand River
Downtown Kitchener to visit the Health Sciences Campus and
School of Pharmacy
HA
GE

BO

UL

R
VA

RAC

RA2

BAU

445
WES GRAHAM WAY

WES GRAHAM WAY

DAVID JOHNSTON
RESEARCH + TECHNOLOGY PARK

375

340

275

ViSitoR PaRKing

295

COG

NO

CL

COLUMBIA LAKE

d: Weekdays: $2 per hour up to daily


maximum of $15. After 5 pm and weekends:
$5 coin entry

Permit Parking

MotoRCYCleS

aCCeSSiBle PaRKing
Accessible parking for persons with
disabilities
is available in most lots. For details visit:
parking.uwaterloo.ca

Construction Site and


Future Site of Building

Academic/Administrative Buildings

Grand River Transit

Roads and Parking Lots

Greyhound

Research Park Buildings

Service Vehicle

dWe
e2
e3
e5
e6
eCH
eit
eRC

Commissary H3
Carl A. Pollock Hall H4
Central Services Building G3
William G. Davis Computer Research Centre
H3, H4
Douglas Wright Engineering Building H4
Engineering 2 H4
Engineering 3 H4
Engineering 5 H3, H4
Engineering 6 H4
East Campus Hall H3, H4, I3, I4
Centre for Environmental & Information
Technology G4
Energy Research Centre G3

STJ

eV1
eV2
eV3
eSC
Fed
ga
gH
gSC
HH
HMn
HS
KdC
lHi
liB

Environment 1 G5
Environment 2 G5
Environment 3 G5
Earth Sciences & Chemistry G4
Federation Hall F3
335 Gage Street see back page
Graduate House G4
General Services Complex G3, H3
J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities G5
Hildegard Marsden Nursery G2
Health Services F4
Klemmer Day Care G2
Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion G3
Dana Porter Library G4

EIT

NH

LIB
GH

ML

PAS

MHR

DWE
WILMOT
COURT

UWP

HH
Humanities
Theatre

WELLESLEY
COURT

EBY HALL

Visitors Centre
Campus Tours

HV
R

IN

A
O

NIV

WATERLOO
COURT

CPH

SCH

AL

EV2 EV1
EC

LAUREL
LAKE

CGR

EV3

Campus Court

E2

RCH
TC

University Shops
Plaza

PHY

Theatre
of the Arts

STP

PHILLIP STREET

E3

B1
D

ER

SIT

E
AV

NU

ES

UWP
BECK HALL

WOOLWICH
COURT

Public Telephone

B2

REN

E6

IV

CoM
CPH
CSB
dC

ESC

DR

Water

ECH
E5

QNC

AM

Information

DC

C2

R
AG

Help Line Telephone

Residence Buildings

B
MC

HS

GO Transit

Pathways

WatCaRd PaYMent
Available at Lot C, N, W, X, M, UWP

Grand River CarShare

UW Police and
Parking Services

COM
GSC

M3

SLC

VILLAGE GREEN

Accessible Entrances
Building Codes

CSB

ERC

SE

Fifteen minute parking is available on the


Ring Road at Environment 2 and Ira G.
Needles Hall. Meter parking is available, visit
the Parking website for locations at:
parking.uwaterloo.ca

LHI

UC

TH

SYMBolS

Visitor Parking

City Roads and Parking Lots

SHoRt-teRM PaRKing

V1

BMH

PAC

Short-term Parking

ColouR CodeS

FED

LAUREL CREEK

Motorcycle Parking

NORTH

PeRMit PaRKing

Building loCation
Arts Lecture Hall G4
Biology 1 G4
Biology 2 G4
B.C. Matthews Hall G3
Brubacher House F2
Chemistry 2 G3, G4
Conrad Grebel University College F5
Columbia Icefield G2
Columbia Lake Village North B2, C1, C2
Columbia Lake Village B2, C2, D2
Columbia Greenhouses D2

REV

Accessible Parking
Meter Parking

MKV

PaRKing

a, B, eC, H, R:$5 coin entry

RING ROAD

LEGEND

Faculty and Staff: a, B, H, K, l, n, o, R, t, X


Resident: Cl, J, S, V, uWP, t
Parking in any ungated lot after 4:30 pm
with valid Faculty/Staff Permit

Code
al
B1
B2
BMH
BRH
C2
CgR
CiF
Cln
ClV
Cog

OV

COLUMBIA STREET WEST

aFteR 4 PM and WeeKendS

BUILDING INDEX

OPT

Warrior Field

Cl, uWP: $5 pay and display

Purchase a term or day pass from Parking


Services, in the COM building for use at
motorcycle pads

PLAYING FIELDS

D
UNT ROA

J, S, V:$5 pay and display. Pay in lot S

CIF

CLV

WESTMO

oV: $5 coin exit

X
X

KDC

M: $6 pay and display

P: $4 coin entry for St. Jeromes University,


Renison University College and St. Pauls
University College; $1 per hour up to a $4
daily maximum at Conrad Grebel University
College

HMN

BRH

AD
T RO

HV: Weekdays: $2 per hour with $10 deposit


on entry. Deposit reduces throughout day.
After 3 pm and weekends: $5 coin entry

300
FRANK TOMPA DRIVE

FRANK TOMPA DRIVE


WEATHER
STATION

OUN

lot X is free on weekends

HAGEY BOULEVARD

CLN

C, n, W, X:$5 per day pay and display

RTH

All Day, Every Day

PHILLIP STREET

PARKING INDEX

TM

i Am on cAmpus

Stratford to see the digital media campus and take in a show at the
world-famous Stratford Festival

WES

section 6

The Dinosaur Museum

M3
MC
MHR
MKV
Ml
nH
oPt
PaC
PaS
PHR
PHY
QnC
RaC
Ra2

Mathematics 3 G3
Mathematics & Computer Building G3
Minota Hagey Residence F5, G5
William Lyon Mackenzie King Village E3
Modern Languages G4
Ira G. Needles Hall G4
School of Optometry G2
Physical Activities Complex G3
Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology G5
School of Pharmacy see back page
Physics G4, H4
Quantum Nano Centre G4
Research Advancement Centre F1
Research Advancement Centre 2 F1

RCH
Ren
ReV
SCH
SlC
StJ
StP
tC
tH
uC
uWP
V1

J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall H4


Renison University College F4
Ron Eydt Village E3
South Campus Hall G4, G5, H5
Student Life Centre G3
St. Jeromes University F4
St. Pauls University College F4
William M. Tatham Centre for Co-operative
Education & Career Services G4, G5
Tutors Houses E3
University Club F3
University of Waterloo Place I4, I5
Student Village 1 E3, F3

71

the student life centre


The Student Life Centre (SLC) is the only building on campus that is open 24
hours a day, seven days a week. It is a hub of student activity and is a great
place to hang out during the day or after class. The SLC offers a variety of
services that may be useful to you including multi-faith prayer rooms, study
space, restaurants, telephones, a bank and the campus pub.

section 6

is the turnkey desk in the slc?

I am on campus

Yes it is, and it is always open. Staff at the Turnkey Desk can help you provide
you with any information or assistance you may need and help you with any
questions you may have about anything on or off campus. They can:
Tell you about the many services available in the SLC
Tell you where to find something to eat
Provide you with maps of the campus and city
Tell you where the grocery stores and banks are located
Direct you to your residence
Help you arrange temporary accommodation and store your luggage,
if necessary

72

pArticipAting in orientAtion

Hopefully you have already registered for Orientation. It is a great opportunity


for you to experience the different aspects of university life with the guidance
and support of upper-year students. The student governments, the Federation
of Students and Graduate Student Association, the Student Success Office and
the faculties have partnered to welcome to you.
The ISE team also holds a special session for international students so that you can:
Meet other international students
Find out about the services offered for international students
Receive support in your transition to a new country and a new school
getting reAdy for clAsses

your watcard
section 6

All students at uWaterloo must have a student identification card called a


WatCard. This card is the only valid piece of student identification on campus.
It is also your library card and your meal card (if you signed up for a meal plan).
You will also need your WatCard to:
Use athletic and recreational facilities
Pick up documents from the Registrars Office or the Graduate Studies Office

i Am on cAmpus

Take the Grand River Transit bus service if you are a full-time registered
undergraduate student
Add money to your WatCard to pay for parking, photocopying, laundry, books,
and meals on campus and in some restaurants off campus.
Getting a WatCard is easy:
1. Go to the WatCard office in the lower level of the SLC
2. Present your acceptance letter and a piece of photo identification
3. Have your photograph taken
4. Get your WatCard in a matter of minutes
Look after this card, because if you lose it you will have to pay a fee for
a replacement card.

73

computer account
The University of Waterloo assigns you a free computer account and email
address. This also gives you full access to the university Internet. You can
find computer labs across campus to use 24 hours a day. Each faculty has
a computer help desk where you can get help setting up your school-based
email account during regular business hours.
class schedules
The University of Waterloo uses an Internet-based system for managing
student records called Quest. It will help you:
Register for courses
Get your class schedule
Find information about your financial records
Look at your academic transcript
If you need help, ask at the Registrars Office or Graduate Studies Office in NH
or contact the Quest support desk.
section 6

books and school supplies


You can find out which books you need to buy for your classes at the
Bookstore online. Use your student ID number (on your WatCard) to make a list
of books for each school term. You can visit the BookStore in SCH to buy new
textbooks or purchase them online.

I am on campus

You can also check for used books in the Used Bookstore in the lower level
of the SLC. We suggest that you buy your books early, as both bookstores
are always very busy at the beginning of each term. Pens, pencils, paper,
calculators, binders and other school supplies can be purchased at WriteStuff
in South Campus Hall (SCH). You can find uWaterloo apparel, gifts, and
souvenirs at the WaterlooStore, also in SCH, or you can shop for them online.
laptops and cellphones
If you need a cellphone, laptop or iPod and accessories, visit the Campustech
store in the SLC. You can even get your laptop repaired here.

74

checklist
Checklist

to prepare for classes


starting, did i:
Get to know the campus
Arrange my fees (if applicable)
Attend Orientation
Pick up my WatCard
section 6

Test my Waterloo computer account


Check class schedule
Buy my books and supplies

i Am on cAmpus

notes:

75

section 7
i Am in my first term
AdJusting to the cAnAdiAn
clAssroom culture
AcAdemic integrity
getting involved And settling
into university life
student services
checklist

i Am in my
first term
AdJusting to the cAnAdiAn clAssroom culture

You may find that the classroom culture at uWaterloo quite relaxed compared
to what you are accustomed to in your home country. Class sizes and rooms
vary from small seminars (10 to 15 people) to large lection theatres (200
students). Many students bring their laptops and tablets to class to take
their notes while others are more comfortable writing their notes with pen
and paper. Most electronic devices, with the exception of calculators may be
prohibited from exam rooms.

section 7
i Am in my first term

respect
In the Canadian classroom everyone must be treated with respect. This includes
the professor, students and any teaching assistants or speakers. Respect in
classrooms includes:
Muting all your electronic devices
Avoiding food that is noisy to eat or has a strong scent
Avoiding disturbances, for example if you need to leave the class early
do so quietly
treatment of professors or supervisors
Professors are here to help you to succeed and are important to your academic
career. Here are some etiquette tips:

Make sure you are adequately prepared for your classes


Do your readings before you come to class
Hand in assignments on time
Refer to your professors using their title (i.e. Dr, Professor etc) unless they
have told you otherwise
Arrive early or be on time. If you have an appointment or if you are going to
be late, tell them if there is a delay

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Your professor will appreciate your efforts and will be more likely to
accommodate you if the need arises. If you have some problems with your
professors or supervisors, address the problem as soon as possible. Make an
appointment with them and explain your concerns and any challenges youve
faced. If you cannot reach an understanding, speak to your department head
or visit the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office.
Active participation
You are encouraged to take part in class discussions and to offer your
own opinions. In some classes, professors offer a small percentage of your
final marks for participation, which means that you may be required to say
something at one point during your class. Do not be afraid to speak up, even
if your viewpoint does not reflect that of the professor.
Assessment

section 7
i am in my first term

Most classes work on a continuous assessment model. This means that you will
be required to work very hard all throughout the term, with each assignment
counting towards your final grade. If you find that you are not doing well after
your first few assignments, contact your academic advisor and seek help so
that you do not forfeit your entire term. Exams are usually held during the
last two weeks of term with midterm exams happening every month. The
Registrars Office has more information about examination procedures, dates
and venues for undergraduate students and the Graduate Studies Office has
information for graduate students.
The Student Success Office offers several workshops that help students
prepare for exams or you can book an appointment with a success coach.
group work
Depending on your program, you may have to work on group projects and
deliver presentations. Use these opportunities to get to know your classmates
and contribute as much as you can to the discussion. The more practice you
get working in a group, the more prepared you will be for the workplace.

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AcAdemic integrity

As a student at uWaterloo you are expected to hold to the highest standard


of academic integrity in your studies, teaching and research. The Office of
Academic Integrity provides detailed information on uWaterloos policy for
students and faculty, including why academic integrity is important and how you
can avoid academic misconduct. You can find resources on campus for students
and faculty to help achieve academic integrity inand out ofthe classroom.

getting involved And settling into university life

Now that youve arrived in Canada it is important to get involved and to


embrace your new home. There are a number of ways that you can do this,
especially on and off campus. Students who engage in the community improve
their language skills, make new contacts, network and experience all that
Canada has to offer.
international welcome programs
section 7

The International Student Experience (ISE) team organizes a number of


programs for new students. These programs help you:
Settle in
Meet other students on campus
Provide an opportunity to get involved

i am in my first term

Please come visit us in the SSO in SCH. We would like to be among the
first to welcome you to uWaterloo and tell you more about our programs.

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i participated in the international peer mentors program and the english


conversation circles during my first term at uwaterloo. i had a lot of
fun meeting new people and making friends. i have developed a sound
friendship with my mentee. Katherine Z., Environment student from China

international peer
mentorship program

Links new international students with experienced uWaterloo


students during their first term
Mentors maintain weekly contact and meet with new
international students twice a month for a social activity
You need to register for the program

english conversation circles

Students gather in small groups with a native English speaker


Opportunity to learn more about Canadian culture and
improve your conversation skills
Run each term for 1 hour a week

section 7

english conversation partners


(ecp)

Paired with a student volunteer


Opportunity to improve your language skills
Conversation partners meet at mutually convenient times at
locations both on and off campus
Practice conversational English, reading, writing, grammar
and pronunciation
Two-hour classes are held once a week for 8 weeks in the fall,
winter and spring terms

i am in my first term

You need to register for the program.


global representative
program

Global Representatives assist students from their home


country via email to help them prepare for their sojourn
to Canada
We have a list of current representatives and their
respective countries

student government, clubs and societies


The Federation of Students (Feds) is the undergraduate student government.
Since 1967, the Federation of Students has existed to serve, empower and
represent the undergraduate students of uWaterloo. Feds manage the SLC,
operates seven commercial services, six services, encompasses over 200 clubs,
supports student societies and oversees some aspect of Orientation, Welcome
Week and other special events held on campus. Feds provides part-time
employment and volunteer opportunities for students, the Fed Bus, Health and
Dental Plan and UPASS.
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the graduate student government.
The GSA provides a number of services for graduate students, including legal
aid, income tax aid, supplementary health and dental plans, and social events.
It also runs the Grad House, a members-only club featuring food and bar
service and entertainment.

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sports
If you like sports the Department of Athletics provides many opportunities.
If you have experience playing for a team or if you are more competitive, try
out for one of our varsity teams that play against other universities in Ontario.
If you would like to try a sport you have never played before or play a sport
against other uWaterloo students at a similar skill level, join intramurals.

section 7
i am in my first term

AdditionAl student services

international student experience (ise)


The ISE is here to make your stay at Waterloo enjoyable and successful. We
are located on the second floor of South Campus Hall (SCH) in the Student
Success Office. We are open from Monday to Friday and are available for both
drop-ins and appointments every day. If you need help when the office isnt
open, our website is a great resource that is always available for any questions
about life in Canada, health insurance and other services.
We offer a range of services and programs for international undergraduate
and graduate students and their families which include:
Health insurance
Information on community resources
Information sessions about life in Canada, immigration and taxes
Campus and community referrals
Canadian immigration information
Each week we send out an email with useful information about health,
events, information sessions and volunteer opportunities. Read the current
email message.

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As a new international student, i had a tough time adapting to my new life in canada.
i had a lot of questions about school and adapting to life in canada. thankfully, the
student success office offers drop-in advising for international students so that i can meet
with an advisor at a time that works best for me. Avin L., Arts student from Thailand

student success office


The ISE is part of a larger office the Student Success Office (SSO). If you want
information, resources and tools that will help you to succeed at uWaterloo, visit the
SSO. In this office you can:
Speak with international advisors about any concerns about, medical insurance or
trouble transitioning to life in Canada
Visit a success coach to help you achieve academic success, set practical goals
and find study/life balance
section 7

Meet a tutor in the Writing Centre to improve your writing


Join a community of student and alumni entrepreneurs at VeloCity Residence,
VeloCity Garage or VeloCity Campus.
We also offer a number of workshops, drop-in study sessions, first-year transition
programs, leadership and peer-mentorship development and volunteer opportunities.

i am in my first term

library
As a registered student you have access to uWaterloos libraries. You need your
WatCard to borrow books from the libraries. Each library has a computer lab and
some have a coffee shop or restaurant located inside.
We suggest that you take a tour of the Dana Porter and the Davis Centre libraries.

my first week at uwaterloo i had a lot of questions so i contacted the student success
office. the international advisors helped me become familiar with on-campus resources
and events for new students. i encourage my new friends to drop by the sso whenever
they have a question. Mojtaba E., Engineering student from Iran

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checklist
to increase my success at
uwaterloo, i must:
Visit the International Student Experience team in the
Student Success Office
Make sure I am prepared for class
Participate in class
Register for the ISE programs
section 7

Look at the list of clubs, societies and sports to find


something to get involved in
Make an appointment with an international advisor
if I have any questions
Go for a tour of the library

i Am in my first term

Check what paperwork I need if I am going to travel


during my studies

notes:

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I
C002407 JULY 2013

South Campus Hall, second floor


519-888-4567, ext. 84410
uwaterloo.ca/ise
ise@uwaterloo.ca