Balancing School and Family, International Students, Student Life

International Student Family Resource Guide

Welcome to the University of Toronto! As an international student with family care responsibilities you may be unsure as to what resources are available to assist you and your family in your transition to U of T student life.

Below you’ll find a list of on-campus services that are dedicated to helping new international students like yourself, and a great online resource about Toronto-based community organizations geared towards newcomers.

Reach out to any of these offices on campus and you’ll be guaranteed to be taken care of.

1. Access the Centre for International Experience on Campus

Here at the University of Toronto St. George Campus, we’ve got the Centre for International Experience (CIE). It’s a fantastic resource for those new to Canada, as it has transition advisors, information on student orientation, Customs and travel information regarding Pearson International Airport, immigration guidance, health insurance info, and English language support. The CIE can also help you file your Canadian income taxes and help you with securing a work permit.

The CIE also has a pre-arrival guide in the form of webcasts that’ll help prepare you for when you arrive at the University of Toronto. You can watch them here. Don’t miss their “Before You Arrive” and “After You Arrive” checklists.

Are you a new international student headed to UTM? The University of Toronto Mississauga Campus has the International Education Centre. It provides on-campus support to UTM students arriving in Canada for the first time.

The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) has the International Student Centre. It provides the same services as the CIE and UTM’s International Education Centre but is dedicated to students attending UTSC.

Image of University College building

“CRW_6678” CC image courtesy of John Maynard on Flikr

2. Find Family-Friendly Housing on Campus

UTM and UofT’s St. George Campus both offer on-campus student family housing options. At the University of Mississauga you can rent one of the three or four-bedroom Schreiberwood townhouses with on-site laundry facilities and wifi.

If you’re at the St. George Campus you can rent a flat in the University’s high rise Charles Street apartment buildings or else choose one of their smaller Huron-Sussex apartment units.

Apartment vacancies are often available with short notice for eligible student families, so call your campus’ housing office to be placed on the waitlist!

3. Visit Us at the Family Care Office and Sign Up for a Mentor

The Family Care Office (FCO) is located on the St. George Campus and is dedicated to supporting all UofT students, staff, and faculty members with family responsibilities. We facilitate events, discussion groups, and offer learning workshops on family care-specific topics. We are available for one-on-one appointments and can provide you with information on any number of family care-related subjects, for example how to access subsidized child care in the city.

We advise signing up for a Family Care Office Peer Mentor. Our mentors will support you in your navigation of school-family life while providing insight and guidance in a safe and supportive environment.

In general, our website is a great spot to find resources, tips, and videos on strategies for success. Sign up for our newsletter to never miss an update!

Image of the Family Care Office's peer mentors from 2015 wearing matching tshirts

The Family Care Office’s 2015 Peer Mentors

4. Read About Your Health Insurance and Add Your Dependents

All international students at UofT are automatically enrolled in a mandatory health insurance plan called UHIP. It covers things like: hospital and physician services, surgery, counselling services, and pregnancy related health care. Click here to access a complete list of services and treatments that are included.

You can enrol your dependents on your UHIP plan. This includes your spouse or common-law partner and/or children. If you are enrolling your eligible dependents you must book an appointment with the UHIP office on the St. George Campus.

For extended health coverage, this link provides students headed to UTSC all the information needed to learn about plan coverage and adding dependents. For those enrolled at UTM or the St. George campus, find information about your extended health coverage here.

If you’re a graduate student you’re covered under the UTGSU health and dental insurance plan. Learn about family coverage and benefits here.

5. See Your Registrar for Advising and Counselling

Your registrar is an important resource to make use of on campus. Their office is a spot where you can go for academic advising, personal counselling, and financial counselling. Your registrar is also able to refer you to resources on campus that will further support you.

Professional faculty students should make use of their faculty registrar’s office, while students in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences should contact the registrar’s office at their college. If you are a graduate student you should contact your department first, but you are always welcome to seek guidance from your graduate faculty registrar or the School of Graduate Studies.

Image of well lit office with type writer and art on walls

“Receptionist’s Office” CC image courtesy of Charles Pence on Flikr

6. Bookmark to Learn About Services for Newcomers in Toronto

This site is a fantastic resource that outlines all you need to know when new to Canada. They have online discussion forums, essential information translated into 30 different cropped-FCO-Logo1.jpglanguages, as well as info on housing, citizenship, employment, health, children’s education, and more. Here’s their link to services in the Toronto area. Read through the Canadian Government’s ‘Welcome to Canada’ guide as well!