Services at ISSAC
There are over 2800 International students from more than 80 countries studying at the U of S, and ISSAC provides support to all of them and their families. Beyond the many programs and services for all students at the U of S, some of the guidance ISSAC offers includes:
- programs and services specifically for international students that will help to ease your adjustment to university life and culture
- ways to connect with other international students
- If you are concerned that you are experiencing or may experience culture shock, be sure to read Student Counselling Services’ handouts on assessing and dealing with culture shock. It is also a good idea to read their information on reverse culture shock.
Other On-Campus Services
There are many services for students at the U of S. Did you know you can see a doctor right here on campus? No need to find a walk-in clinic somewhere, just head to Place Riel. If there are no appointments left for the day, they put a sign up outside the elevator. In order to access medical care and have certain costs covered, International students must apply for a Saskatchewan Health Card. Do this as soon as you can. The following services are available on campus:
- Student Health Services focuses on medical care (for example, seeing a doctor) are located on the 4th floor of Place Riel.
- Student Counselling Services focuses on the emotional and mental health of students. They are located on the 3rd floor of Place Riel and have many online resources as well as volunteer opportunities for students.
- There is a dental clinic located in Lower Place Riel.
- The Student Health and Dental Plan helps to cover healthcare related costs (medical, dental, vision etc.) and is available to full-time, on-campus students. Students must have a Saskatchewan Health card to use this coverage.
- Access and Equity Services assist and advocate for students with medical-based disabilities and learning disabilities (both long-term and temporary). They are located in the Administration Building and have 15-minute drop-in advising sessions on Wednesdays from 2:00pm – 4:30pm and Thursdays from 9:30am – 12:30pm.
- You can get your hair cut at Être Belle in Lower Place Riel
It is very important to see an academic advisor. An advisor will help to ensure that you have all the required credits to graduate within your desired timeline.
Integrating into Canadian Life
Canadian school life will be different, but enjoyable. To familiarize yourself with academic practices at the U of S:
- Attend a Writing or Study Skills workshop (workshops designed to help students improve their writing and study skills)
- Speak with staff or volunteers at ISSAC.
- Read our answers to Frequently Asked Questions from first-year students.
Feel free to visit the International Student and Study Abroad Centre in Lower Place Riel.
Tips from Other International Students
- Talking to your professors is very important. Ask questions when you are unsure of things – either during class or during office hours. This shows you are a dedicated student. Often students go to office hours to get further clarification on assignment and exam expectations.
- In other countries it might not be acceptable to speak up in class, ask questions or even challenge the professor. Here at the U of S professors encourage participation – it shows that you are interested.
- ISSAC is organized and very prepared to help all international students. Even if you don't know anyone at U of S or in Saskatoon, ISSAC can be a good resource, guiding your way and introducing you to people.
- Try to familiarize yourself with the bus system. Use an app – Google maps or Transit App: Real Time Bus & Subway Tracker both work well – to figure out which bus you need and at what time. Each stop also has a number you can call that tells you the scheduled times for that stop.
- If you’re bringing a phone from home, check to make sure it is unlocked and will work in Canada. Don't sign a cell phone contract immediately after arriving. Use Wi-Fi to communicate for the first few days. Study each provider and determine which plan (or SIM card) works for you. Some examples of providers are Rogers, Koodo, Bell, Fido, Virgin, Telus, and Sasktel. It may be cheaper for you to buy a phone with a plan here.
- If you are not living in residence, wait until you are in Saskatoon to rent a place. Most students use kijiji to find roommates, basement suites, or apartments. Start looking a few months before you arrive – you will get an idea of prices depending on the area of the city and type of place. While more expensive, there are benefits to living closer to campus. There are more students around, transportation to campus is more convenient (especially in the winter), and grocery stores tend to be closer. If you already know people in Saskatoon, speak with them about finding a place to live. Be sure to read the City of Saskatoon information on Housing and their Housing Handbook for information about finding housing in Saskatoon.
- You must carefully read your lease agreement before signing it! Not all landlords are nice and you may accidently agree to something not discussed. Conduct an initial inspection before you sign a lease.
- Buy tenant insurance. It is available at levels that differ by price, coverage, and expectations. Overall, even the most expensive tenant insurance is cheaper than replacing all of your belongings.
- When packing, keep in mind that everyday items can be bought in Saskatoon (including toiletries and clothing). Clothing sizing and styles may differ, but may be cheaper than in your home country. Do bring small traditional or cultural items from home to use as gifts and souvenirs for people you meet here. Unless you are from a country with similar weather and already own winter clothing (good to -30 Celsius), wait to buy winter clothing until you are in Saskatoon. The winter clothing available in your home country may not be suitable for Saskatoon.
- When you arrive in Canada, you will go through Customs – very likely in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or another larger city. Your study permit will be issued when you go through customs. You need to have the required documents in your carry on luggage. Make sure the customs officer knows you are student and will be studying in Canada. Your study permit and your temporary resident visa are two separate things.
- The length of study permits issues seems to vary (1 year, 4 year, or 5 year) and occasionally may not match the expiration date on your temporary resident visa. Don’t worry if your permit does not match your visa, you may apply to change the conditions of your permit or extend your stay as a student.
- If you are planning on going to Service Canada: The Service Canada office is located at Market Mall. Feel free to enter using the main door. You must register at the welcome desk. If that person can’t help you, then they will direct you to take a seat and wait to be called.