Preparing to come to UAlberta: answering your top questions!
Coming to study at UAlberta this fall? We bet you’re excited, but probably have a lot of questions! Many international students who come to UAlberta have never been to Canada and we get a lot of questions about weather, clothing and transportation. So before you leave your home country, we’ve put together the most popular questions we get asked, to help you prepare:
(Assiniboine Mountain, in the Alberta Rockies, photo by @MEC)
Since we get four seasons, with chilly weather in the winter and hot weather (up to 30C in the summer), you will want to bring a lot of different types of clothing. If you’re from a very hot climate and don’t have many “winter” clothes, don’t worry!
When you arrive before the beginning of the school year, it will not be cold yet, so you will have lots of time to explore Edmonton’s stores and shopping areas to find some fantastic clothes for the winter season. Whyte Avenue, a long and popular shopping street is also only minutes from campus, so you won’t have to go far to shop.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Canadians are very easy going and very multicultural! That means that people wear all different styles of clothing from all different kinds of cultural backgrounds. However, we can almost guarantee that you will pick up some sort of flannel (warm plaid patterned clothing) while you study here - it’s just too Canadian to resist!
And to get really excited, check out 5 amazing natural sights that you need to see in Alberta >
“Does it get really cold?”
(View of Edmonton downtown and river valley, photo by @christopherjohnmartin)
Yes, Edmonton does get a snowy winter and, it's true, it can get pretty cold sometimes. If you’ve never experienced snow before, don’t worry, we promise it will be fun! Sometime in November is usually when Edmonton gets its first snowfall, but it really varies from year to year. In 2015, we didn’t get snow until mid-December!
When the first snowfall of the year happens, the city gets covered in a soft white blanket of snow, making it into a true “winter wonderland”. It really is amazing to see! We’re also very lucky to get over 320 sunny days per year, so even if it’s a little cold the sun is usually still shining bright.
Like any kind of weather, knowing what clothes to wear during it, is the best way to enjoy it. We recommend buying a warm pair of winter boots, hat, gloves and of course a parka! Never heard of a “parka”? These are thick winter jackets, that almost any Canadian clothing store will sell. Wearing one of these will truly make you feel like a Canadian!
If you want to find out more about what winter is like, check out our Fun Facts about Edmonton and Winter!
“How will I get around the city?”
(City center of Edmonton, photo by @weareyeg)
Edmonton Transit System (ETS) is the city’s transportation system, which includes trains (LRT) and buses. All you need is your U-Pass, a university transit pass that will be attached to your UAlberta student card, to take any buses or trains in the city. The U-Pass is included in your student fees each semester.
Learn more about day-to-day life at UAlberta and around Edmonton here >
“Are people friendly and will I make friends?”
(Students enjoying Green and Gold day at UAlberta)
Edmonton is known for its friendly residents and here at UAlberta we provide you lots of opportunities to meet new people and make friends. If you are coming to UAlberta from another country you have the option to attend Transitions, an orientation program for international students that will help you prepare for UAlberta's academic and social life, and introduce you to Edmonton's vibrant community.
In addition to orientation, there are also many ways you can get involved on campus, like joining a student club, attending fun events or even just socializing with other students in residence.
Here’s our top tips on how to make friends at UAlberta >