College in Atlantic Canada: 10 Helpful Links for International Students Before and After the Acceptance Letter

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Deciding to leave your country and pursue higher education is a big step!

Whether you are applying to Cape Breton University (4 year programs) or Holland College (2 year programs),there are so many new avenues to navigate as an international student from the Caribbean. 

The question is where to start?! Here are a few links to get you started. 

Before the Acceptance Letter

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! Language tests, visas and essays are all apart of the college application process for an international student. We’ve listed some basic resources below for you. 

1. Official BusinessThe Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship Canada (CIC)Website – As an international student, no matter the country, you will spend a lot of time here.  This site is where you will apply for a study permit , a work permit (when necessary) and a travel visa or eTA for accompanying family members. 

2. Transcript Assessment WebsitesWorld Education Services (WES). Depending on your program, your future college or university may need to assess how the credentials you obtained outside of Canada compare  to theirs. Your school will tell you if this this is necessary. 

3. English ProficiencyInternational English Language Testing System (IELTS)– When applying to a program taught in English and English is not your first language, proof of English proficiency is necessary. For example, Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, requires an IELTS overall score of no less than 6.5 if english is not your mother tongue. 

Your institution will inform you of the score they  require. Other proficiency exams include TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). 

4.  Learning About CanadaEducanada, well, educates you about life in Canada. The site features a student life section, an international scholarship section and a work after graduation section.  

After the Acceptance Letter

Once you’ve been accepted and all immigration paperwork is squared away , you may start thinking about  travel and what life in your future home will be like. The links below are a great start.

5. Booking your tickets – Sites like kayak.com are really helpful platforms for price comparisons.

6. International Foods at the Canadian BorderThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency – If your mom is like ours, she may try and send you with the entire contents of the kitchen cupboard. But, it would be wise to check and see if the sweet bread, frozen conch and beef patties  she is sending are border friendly. If they are not, border patrol will dispose of the goods and may even enforce a fine. See the list of things you can bring into Canada. 

7. Keeping Up with the WeatherEnvironment Canada– Maritime weather is like no other and when winter rolls around, you will want to know what outside feels like before stepping out . Environment Canada provides official weather forecasts, warnings and storm tracking for all of Canada.  You can type your east coast city or town in the ‘Access City‘ box (found at the top right of the website).  

8. Local NewsCBC News – This is one of the best ways to stay in tune with what is going on in your town, city or province. Each city has their own dedicated page, so specify your location from the dropdown list under the ‘Local’ tab.  Also, this is another great way to keep up with the local weather!

9. GroceriesAtlantic Superstore– If you don’t have a meal plan or you are opting for an apartment, chances are you will be needing groceries. Check Atlantic Superstore’s website for weekly discount flyers.  

10. Previously Used Appliances & Furniture– Kijiji is a great place for a used microwave or mini fridge. Check out this article on how international students can use it for other things like hair and tutoring services . 

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