You have made it!
Here are a few tips on how to settle in Toronto and get yourself started.
Subject to public health guidelines around COVID-19 and the time of year you arrive, you may find U of T “welcomers” at Terminals 1 and 3 when you land at Toronto Pearson International Airport (Pearson for short).
For all students:
- Make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest guidelines on entering Canada. Visit the COVID-19 information page for students for details: FAQs for international students
- If you are experiencing delays or difficulties in transit or upon arrival due to immigration issues, please contact U of T Campus Safety at +1 416-978-2222 (available 24/7). They will contact a member of our team on call to speak with you. Make sure to provide campus police with your name, student number, campus and a phone number where we can reach you.
For students requesting U of T Quarantine accommodation:
- Please log in to Star Rez portal using your UTOR/JOINid to complete the application form.
- Make sure your U of T quarantine confirmation is saved on your phone for offline access or printed out for your arrival in Canada.
For students arranging their own quarantine accommodation and transportation:
- Make sure you are following all public health guidelines.
Here are possible routes from Pearson International Airport to each of the three campuses. Please check the public health link above for approved means of travelling from the airport.
- Print your UHIP card: You’ll want to carry it with you in case you need to access health care services. You should get familiar with what the plan covers and enroll your dependents if applicable.
- Get your TCard: Getting a TCard allows you to access buildings, meal plans, and various programs and services on campus.
- Get a Social Insurance Number: You will need a SIN in order to work in Canada, file an income tax return and get access to Canadian government programs and benefits. Your bank may also ask for your SIN if you set up an account that earns interest.
- Set up a Canadian bank account: You can compare the fees and perks of different banks and credit unions and find a branch location that is convenient for you.
- Get an Ontario Photo Card: To avoid using your passport as photo ID, you may want to apply for an Ontario Photo card that can be issued to Ontarians who don’t have a driver’s license.
- Choose a phone plan that’s right for you: In Ontario, there are several mobile phone companies to choose from, including Bell, Rogers, Freedom Mobile, Telus, Koodo, and Virgin Mobile. With most companies, you can choose to either use your own unlocked phone, or purchase a phone with an annual contract. Many companies also have packages for students, or offer special deals around the beginning of each new school year.
Stay safe and get around in Toronto
Toronto is often ranked as one of the safest cities in North America. It’s good to familiarize yourself with safety services available:
Safety on campus and in Toronto:
- Campus Safety (U of T)
- Community Safety Office (U of T)
- Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre (UofT)
- Public safety services
- Emergency services
There are also many ways to travel around the city:
- Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – learn more about reduced student fares and Presto cards
- By bike, ride share services, or taxi
- Driving – learn how to get a new license or exchange your license
- GO Transit if you are headed outside the city of Toronto
No matter the challenges or questions you encounter while navigating campus life in Toronto, the CIE and CSO are here to help.
Connect with your peers
While we may not be able to gather in large groups due to COVID-19, there are still opportunities to connect with other students:
- e-Ambassadors: Connect with an e-ambassador over the summer to ask questions about life at U of T
- CIE programs: Several exciting activities for you to connect with your peers, exchange ideas and build community.
- Mentorship & Peer Programs: Opportunities to be mentored by a fellow student or staff
- Join a student group: Ulife is a one-stop website listing a large and diverse directory of student clubs, organizations, activities and opportunities on all three campuses
Orientation is a great way to meet new people and discover useful information about the University. Orientation activities normally take place in the two weeks leading up to the start of classes in early September. If you are a graduate student arriving in January, you will also find a variety of orientation activities to support you.
If you are not able to join orientation events during orientation week, you can still connect with the Centre for International Experience to get all the info you need. Staff and student ambassadors can provide information about the University and the City of Toronto and assist you in any way they can.
CIE Welcome Reception
The CIE invites all new international and exchange students to join us for a welcome reception. Check back in Summer 2022 for more info!
Grad Step Up
Grad Step Up is an extended orientation program designed to support your transition to U of T as an incoming international graduate student by connecting you to key information, resources and communities on campus.
Find out more about Grad Step Up.
The CIE invites all new international and exchange students who have recently arrived in Toronto to connect with a variety of service providers and learn about phone plans, banking, food options, Toronto attractions and more! Find all the information you need in one place! Check back in Summer 2022 for more info.
Be sure to check out what your faculty, college, department or student union/ association has planned for orientation. You can also find out about upcoming orientation events and activities on the Student Life Orientation calendar.
U of T Student Life also offers a range of programs and services to support you in finding community, staying well, succeeding as a university student and so much more.