If you’re an International Student coming to U of T, you may be feeling overwhelmed with preparing for your arrival. Starting a new school can be scary, especially when it’s so far from home. Maybe you’ve been to Toronto before, or perhaps it’s your very first time in the city or even Canada! Either way, the U of T community will be waiting to welcome you with open arms.
As you prepare to join us this September, here are some things to know, from a lifelong Torontonian:
Yes, Toronto has beautiful summers, but our winters can be tough and long. As someone who’s been living in Toronto my whole life, my closet is filled with cozy sweaters and sweatpants, so I can stay toasty warm during the cold November to March months. Coming to class on a cold winter day means I’ll be bundling up with my winter boots, jacket, hats, gloves, scarves, and a mug for lots of hot chocolate! Despite the frigid cold, winter is actually my favourite season as it brings on a plethora of activities like skating, skiing, and perhaps even tobogganing! Right by our school is Nathan Philips Square which is an amazing spot to go skating with new friends. You can rent skates and take advantage of the frosty weather.
The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is our public transportation system that will get you from point A to B in the city. This includes subways, buses and streetcars. Since I commute to school, I’ve had to become accustomed to the subway system. Before my first class I even practiced my route to and from school beforehand just to make sure I didn’t get lost. I got a Presto card so that all I need to do is tap my card and off I go for $3.25 a ride. I try to avoid busy times on the TTC since they can be jam packed, especially during rush hour which is around 9:00 AM and 4:00PM. However, if you’re living on campus, everything is pretty close by and right in the heart of the city. Lucky you!
Coming to a new country, especially by yourself, may feel daunting or lonely, but at U of T, 21% of students are international, so you’re really not alone! Within our large school there’s never a shortage of events and activities whether through your faculty, program, and clubs. I attended a campus wide “Unity Ball,” Positivity Project origami night and more! The Centre for International Experiences also holds different events and has clubs that can be a great way to meet other international students and help you transition to Toronto life. There’s Grub Club, Language Exchange, and more on the Events and Programs section of the CIE website. Getting involved is a great way to get to know your U of T community.
4. Health and Well-being
To keep yourself healthy and manage stress, don’t forget about the incredible workout facilities at the Athletic Centre, Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, and Hart House. As a full-time U of T student, you can access gym equipment, swimming pools, fitness classes, and drop-in sports. I took advantage of the Virtual Fitness Studio this year when my classes were online, staying active with dance fitness, Zumba, Barre and pilates. Personally, during the busier, colder months and exam seasons, I found it challenging to get to the gym, so these online classes made it super easy to fit a little self-care into my hectic schedule.
For more information, check out the Centre for International Experience website: https://internationalexperience.utoronto.ca and this Facebook Live: https://fb.watch/epG2UQv03b/
Happy packing and see you in the fall!
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