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December 7 IRCC announcement

December 7 IRCC announcement

If you are an international student, please read this summary of several important policy changes made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The topics include off-campus work hours, how taking online courses can affect PGWP eligibility, and an increase to the minimum amount of funds you must show for a study permit application.

Updates have also been added on the relevant pages of the immigration advising section of the website.

December 1st – UHIP Extension Request Deadline (for the Winter Term)  

Are you completing your degree requirements in the fall and will not be taking any winter courses? Request an extension to your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage plan for the winter 2024 academic term by December 1st. To apply for an extension by this date, please fill out this Form. If you have any questions or concerns, please take a look at our website or contact us at  

Have more questions about this? Join our UHIP Extensions 101 Information Session on November 21st. Register on CLNx!

8 Things I Wish I Knew in My First Year

When I was going into my first year at University of Toronto (U of T), I had mixed feelings. I was super excited, yet also a bit lost, not knowing what to expect or how to get prepared. As an international student from Hong Kong, I was very new to Canada. I didn’t have any friends or relatives in the country, and I didn’t know anyone studying at U of T who could give me tips on how to navigate my upcoming journey. Perhaps you’re feeling the same way, so I want to help! I don’t want you to feel as overwhelmed as I did in my first year. Let me share 8 things I wish I had known in my first year at U of T.

1. Study-life balance

In my first year, I was pretty much about hitting the book. Looking back, it would have been way more productive if I’d struck a balance between study and life. University life isn’t just about cramming for exams. It’s also about making lifelong friends, figuring out who you are, getting involved, and picking up skills you’re going to need in the real world. If I could have a chat with my first-year self, I’d say, “Hey, take at least one hour each day to do things you love.” It doesn’t have to be anything big – maybe learning a new language, hanging out with friends, diving into a good book, or getting some exercise.

2. Save money

Every time I saw my favourite food or clothes, I was like, “I’m going to have it!” without even thinking if I really wanted it. In my first year, I went a bit crazy on food, but looking back, I know I could’ve saved a great deal of money if I’d been smarter about my budget. That dough could’ve gone towards my graduation trip or tuition. I know it sounds super cliché, but always remember, the money you save is just as valuable as the money you earn!

3. Make new friends

Looking back on my first year, I can still vividly remember how scared I felt when I had to go up and talk to my classmates. But honestly, as I started making more new friends at U of T, life here in Canada got a whole lot more fun. So, don’t be shy! Everyone’s in the same boat as you. If the idea of chatting up a big group freaks you out, start small. Just strike up a conversation with one person in your class.

4. plan your courses

In my first year, I was totally lost with how the program worked. I had no clue that I had to take other electives too (also known as breadth requirements). Can you believe it? I totally forgot to take the first-year courses, so I couldn’t even sign up for them in my later years. If I could travel back to my first year, I’d map out my courses in advance and really consider which ones to take first, especially since some are strictly for first-year students.

5. great programs offered by centre for international experience (CIE)

Looking back on my first year, I wish I’d known about the awesome opportunities offered by the Centre for International Experience (CIE). I totally missed out on the Language Exchange Program, which would’ve been a great chance to learn new languages and meet folks from all over the world. And I wish I’d known about the Intercultural Learning Program (ILP) right from the starting point. That program was a total game-changer! Through ILP, I met some truly amazing friends from different cultures, and together we discovered the hidden gems of Toronto. These programs meant a lot to my personal growth, and I just wish I’d discovered them sooner. So, if you’re about to start your first year, don’t do what I did – grab these opportunities right from the start!

6. make good use of reading week

I regret how I spent my first reading week. I literally spent the whole time binge-watching shows on Netflix, not doing anything even remotely productive. But in my second year, I got lucky. My career advisor clued me into Alternative Reading Week – a 3-day volunteering program during the winter semester’s reading week. It was a perfect chance to connect with the community and meet some new faces. I even got to organize some conversational English activities to help the new folks in Canada feel more at home. So instead of wasting your break like I did in my first year, make the most of it! Volunteering not only makes a difference in others’ lives but also enriches your own.

7. embrace your own pace

When I was a freshman, I thought that I needed to keep up with everyone else’s pace. However, I soon realized that everyone’s approach might be different based on their goals and paths. So, it’s better to focus on your own rhythm rather than relentlessly comparing yourself with others. For example, while some of my friends managed six courses per semester, I found that it was too much for me. Instead, I chose to take four courses each semester, completing the rest during summer school. This balanced approach not only allowed me to juggle my academics with extracurricular activities and work but also enabled me to fully enjoy my university life. So, I encourage you to explore what works best for you. Trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to follow your own pace – after all, it’s your journey!

8. connect with professors

I know how intimidating it can be to reach out to professors. I used to think they’d chew me out, too. But when I finally plucked up the courage to hit up my first office hours for my linguistics class, things totally flipped. Turns out, my profs were really kind, patient, and cared about how I was doing! The more I started popping into office hours, the more I felt tuned into the class. It also helped me get to grips with the stuff that was totally going over my head before. Plus, it’s pretty cool to hear about your prof’s other interests and snag some life advice from them. So, don’t let nerves put you off – give office hours a go!

So, those’re 8 things I wish I had known in my first year. But remember, university isn’t just about study; it’s a life-changing adventure. Dive in, make friends, and take it easy on yourself! Cheers to an amazing first year

Incoming Students! Apply to be a mentee!

The Centre for International Experience (CIE) invites incoming international undergraduate students new to Canada to take part in the Bridging Connections Peer Mentorship program this Fall 2023.

Are you an incoming first year international student looking for advice as you come to UofT? Do you want to connect with upper year peer mentors and learn more about what the University of Toronto has to offer? Apply to be a mentee with the Centre for International Experience (CIE)!

We are here to help smooth your transition into the University of Toronto, get paired up with an upper year international student in August and learn how we can support you with navigating a new city, country, university and understanding what resources and referrals are available to you! Bridging Connections will include weekly group mentorship from August 21st – October 6th, 2023 to get you settled in, and then we will move to monthly themed discussions and social outings/activities until March 2024.

This is a wonderful opportunity for first year international students to engage in building community, developing communication and intercultural competencies, and learn of the resources and supports available to you on campus. For more information and/or questions about this program, please reach out to us at

Program Dates: August 21, 2023 – March 6 2024

Program Location: University of Toronto, St George Campus and surrounding locations

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, August 4th, 2023 11:59PM *We have a limited number of spots available, please send application before the deadline Application form, please visit

You will receive confirmation of participation the week of August 9th, and the program will officially launch on August 21st.

Please see our programs and events for more opportunities available to you!

Apply to be a Peer Mentor!

Do you want to be an upper year peer mentor for international students? Do you want to make a positive impact for incoming first year students? Then apply and be a peer mentor with the Centre for International Experience (CIE)! 

As a peer mentor you will be the first point of contact for newly admitted international students. As volunteers, you will be responsible for supporting incoming international students as they transition into the University of Toronto. This includes fostering a sense of belonging, facilitating connections, and supporting with resource navigation and referrals. 

For more information about the role, please visit the Volunteers Postings page on CLNx and search using the job ID 220636

Applications are due Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. via CLNx. 

Beware of Scams!

Please be aware of ongoing scams that have been targeting international students.  

Some recent scams include text messages claiming to be from the CRA asking to click a link, reply to an email, or input personal information. In these cases, do not reply to the text or click the links in the message. Also do not provide them with personal or financial information. For more information on recent scam alerts please take a look at the CRA scam alerts page.  

The Office of Community Safety website also has fraud prevention tips, important information, and tips on what to do when encountering a scam. If you have any questions or concerns, you can also contact the Community Safety Office (CSO) directly at 416-978-1485 or  

IRCC Labour Disruption

We are looking forward to welcoming you to U of T this year. As you may have learned, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which includes Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada employees, declared a general strike on Wednesday, April 19th.  

If you are a newly admitted student outside of Canada, we encourage you to apply for the required documentation (Study Permit and/or Entry Visa/eTA) at your earliest convenience. At the moment, your ability to submit your application is not impacted, nor are the Visa Application Centers where you book appointments for submission of biometrics, if needed.  

If you are a newly admitted student within Canada, we encourage you to apply for or extend the required documentation (Study Permit).  

If you are a continuing student and need to renew your Study Permit, we encourage you to review our step-by-step instructions on how to maintain your documentation or to connect to one of our advisers.  In-Canada applicants are reminded that they can remain in Canada while waiting for a decision about their application, even if their existing permit expires while they are waiting. Information and guidance about the various Canadian permits and visas students and their dependents may apply for is available in the Immigration section of our site

If you still have questions after reviewing the applicable page(s) of our site, there are multiple ways to connect with one of our International Student Immigration Advisors.  The Advisors are looking forward to working with you.  

CIE’s ISE Team is Hiring for Summer Work Study Positions! 

The Centre for International Experience (CIE)’s International Student Experience team is recruiting work study students to join us for the Summer 2023 term! Join our team, gain invaluable experience, and make an impact on the lives of international students. Apply on CLNx! 


Resource & Information Communications Assistant (1 Position)   

  • Work Study Job ID: 216258 
  • Application Deadline: May 5th, 2023 

At CIE’s Resource and Information Hub, we work to provide international students with the tools and knowledge they need to successfully navigate student life at UofT. Under the supervision of the Resource & Information Coordinator and Program Coordinator Inclusion and Diversity and Team Lead, ISE the successful candidate will support the promotions and communications activities at the CIE to help connect international students with relevant resources and other members of our community 


Intercultural & Global Programs Assistant (1 Position)   

  • Work Study Job ID: 217629 
  • Application Deadline: May 1st, 2023 

The Intercultural & Global Programs Assistant will directly support the development and implementation of intercultural and global programs for globally-minded students. The Program Assistant will provide support in improving and developing programs set to take place in the Fall 2023 term by conducting research and reviewing data. In addition, the Program Assistant will support the planning and implementation of in-person/virtual programming scheduled in the Summer 2023 term and engage students by communicating with program participants, co-facilitating workshops, and encouraging intercultural connections among program participants. 

Orientation & Community Program Assistant (1 Position)   

  • Work Study Job ID: 217597 
  • Application Deadline: May 1st, 2023 

The Orientation and Community Programs Assistant plays an important role in the organization and facilitation of events and programs designed to support international students as they navigate student life at U of T, providing opportunities to build community and make connections. The Programs Assistant will directly support ISE programming scheduled for the 2023 Spring/Summer term which includes on-going programming for continuing students as well as pre-arrival programming for incoming international students. In addition, the Programs Assistant will support the planning of orientation and community programs set to take place during the 2023 Fall term. 

Global Fluencies for Teaching Staff Program Assistant (1 Position)   

  • Work Study Job ID: 217834 
  • Application Deadline: May 1st, 2023 

At the Centre for International Experience (CIE), we are committed to providing all University of Toronto students the opportunity to engage with the world, offering support and resources for international students/newcomers in addition to enabling global learning for the U of T community. The successful candidate will directly support the development and implementation of the Global Fluencies Series for Teaching Staff project by helping to perform literature reviews, focus groups and data collection. 


How to Apply 

To view detailed job descriptions and to apply for a position, log in to CLNx  then go to Work Study Positions and search by keyword or the posting number.  

Visit this website for more information about the Work Study Program and eligibility requirements.  

Make sure to apply early and don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to develop transferable skills and grow professionally in a team-oriented environment!  

“My Research in France” Competition

The scientific cooperation service of the Embassy of France in Canada, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIScience), is pleased to announce the opening of the third edition of the competition “My Research in France”. This is an opportunity to share the experience of a research internship in France through the use of social networks, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok. One winner will receive $1,500 to return to France from Canada in 2024. All the details are available on the website:   

Registration is open and the deadline is Oct. 31th, 2023.