Coming to study at a University in a new country can seem very overwhelming. Culture shock, the demands of your classes, making new friends, figuring out where to go when you need help, all these things and more can be tough things to navigate in your home country let alone in a new one. There are things though that you can do to help your transition into UAlberta smoother and here they are:
Find your Barings and go to Transitions Orientation:
The first couple weeks of the fall term at the University of Alberta is filled with a million things to do from clubs fair to various student life events, to free food all over campus. Boredom will not be something you suffer from. That being said there is one thing that you should absolutely that will help you get settled into life in Canada and at UAlberta, and that is the Transitions Orientation. Students who attend the Transitions Orientation have fewer difficulties with their adjustment to Canadian life and it’s a great place to meet other International Students who are going through the same things you are. Some of the highlights include seminars on: Achieving academic success and meeting professor expectations. Immigration Regulations, Cross-cultural adjustment, Living day to day in Canada etc. Tours of campus and downtown Edmonton are also offered to students.
One of the best ways to meet like-minded people, have fun, and broaden your horizons is to join one of the many student clubs UAlberta has to offer. Each September and January, Student Group Services hosts Clubs Fair. As part of Week of Welcome and Orientation, September Clubs Fair is a large event that showcases the many groups on campus. With over 150 participanting groups, from anything to the Gateway (the official UAlberta Newspaper) or the Japanese club, Clubs day is something you for sure don’t want to miss.
One of the biggest mistakes students can make when coming to Edmonton is not spending a few times out of the month to explore Edmonton, this is especially an important thing to do in the first couple weeks when school work hasn’t yet gotten too busy and the weather is nice for exploring. Check out the amazing Alberta Art Gallery Downtown, or visit North America’s biggest mall West Edmonton Mall, walk the river valley, eat on Whyte Ave, all these things will help you gain a better appreciation of your new home and can become good distraction when you’re feeling a little home sick.
Ask for Help:
It is perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed with the multitude of things you have to get done. If you feeling like it’s too much however ask for help. There are many student services that provide support for students on campus for anything from the Center for Writers which offers free writing support to all students in any subject, discipline, program, or faculty, and at all levels of study, to the Student Financial Aid Information Centre (SFAIC) which helps assist students in finding the financial resources necessary to fulfill their academic objectives. Just ask your course advisor or the Infolink booths scattered around campus for any help on finding the service you need.
Go to the International Center
The International Center houses International Student Services and the Global Education Program, and is here to help you adjust to life both at the UAlberta and in Canada. The international student advisors at the International Center can help answer all of your immigration, financial, academic, intercultural, and interpersonal relationship questions. They also host workshops to help you navigate everything from Canadian academics to beginning your Canadian work search, and even host socials for you to meet both Canadian and other international students, and panels to open discussions about international issues.
By: Nathalie Batres