Tips and resources for international students for Winter 2021

In what feels like a lifetime ago, I was at the Toronto airport in June departing the city for an indefinite time. It’s now been multiple holidays and birthdays since and I do hope that it is getting better day by day. It is reassuring to hear stories from carers and nurses that our efforts immeasurably make an impact on our communities but nevertheless, it can be tough. Reflecting on past memories is a natural feeling and I feel at the start of a new year and term, it’s time for me to revisit when I last was in Canada. And as an international student, it’s incredibly exciting to engage in a different culture and be surrounded by a new culture and a refreshing perspective. I hope all international students are feeling calm and can hold onto their natural thoughts, experiences and perspectives for future days - I think it will be important to talk about them and it’s healthy too. Yet, of course, it can be hard to think that far ahead in this present, and I'll share some resources for overseas students, if you’re an international student like me, or just far away from campus at the moment.

Empty departures gates at Toronto Pearson Airport
Empty departure gates at Toronto Pearson Airport

I've found the Centre for International Experience great for all my questions and they keep me updated on the important information regarding travelling in Canada, health and many other key things. I've found them really friendly and helpful.

The CLNx is also another great place to go to find a variety of resources. I'm leaving a link to a general list of what is on. You can find anything from career guidance, health and wellness, accessibility, international students services, graduate student information, faith services and many, many more. And specifically for international students, I've also left an events link to a calendar of the events planned for each month, but you can find it yourself too within CLNx.

As one of my favourite places to check out, Hart House is here for all students and to me feels like a great place to start and find any range of activity you may have needed or didn't know you need. I should say that this is perfect for any student, domestic or international, whichever year you're in - any student should feel welcome at Hart House. For a hint of what's there, there are chances to learn more about music production, crafts sessions, socials, and exercise classes. I hope to take some of them this semester too!

For other resources, there's the International Student Experience at U of T Facebook group. It's a great resource for international students because they highlight events and opportunities specifically for international students.

If you're more after finding and discovering new languages and exploring that path, try the CIE Language Exchange Facebook group. It's there for any student who wants to try languages at any level to learn, to practice or to share how they've found it.

Sunrise outside a plane window

So, before the term begins to come full force, take a day or hour to think if any of these services or offerings would be worth it for you. In my experience, there are always lovely people on the other end with these places especially Hart House, so if you're lost or need to know what something means or why something isn't offered, please ask a person and I'm sure it may lead to somewhere better than letting it drift past.

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