How to prepare yourself for York University as an international student

Written by Boris Licina

Good preparation is often the key to success, whether running a half marathon or giving a presentation. I did both, and I used the same strategy to organize myself for my first year in York as an international student. 

Don't stress out. Connect with York International.

I was stressed before my first year, but only briefly, as I got to know York International. I attended their workshop, Study Permit Application Webinar, before arriving in Canada, which was extremely helpful. I thoroughly researched the York International YouTube channel, which has recordings of past webinars. You can find a robust collection of webinars, resource guides, and pre-arrival information on their website. You can register for these webinars on the York International Events calendar.  

Ask: What work options will you have as a York student? What resources are at your disposal for job hunting? 

Pro tip: I found my first job through the York University Recruitment website. You can search for work-study jobs there, apply for them and track your applications. Be mindful of the responsibilities and skills required for the job. To be eligible for work-study positions, I, as an international student, must be enrolled in at least 18 credits for Fall/Winter term (min. 9 credits or more per term) or 9 for Summer one. Check the requirements here.

Discover scholarships, awards and bursaries.

Financial planning is extremely important. I used Numbeo to learn about the cost of living for a family of four and by visiting this webpage about Work and Finances to learn more about the work options I would have while studying. Be sure to check out York’s scholarships, awards and bursaries and learn how to apply and for which you are eligible.  Be sure to complete Student Financial Profile before applying. Your faculty page also has more information about awards that are specific to your program. My school - AMPD - has many award options for me to look at.

Learn about UHIP and YFS Health Plan.

During my studies in York, I (or someone in my family) will likely get sick. I learned about UHIP (University Health Insurance Plan) at the resourceful York International UHIP page and everything about the YFS Health Plan here. I filled out several claims through their online system in the last two years. Be sure to save all the receipts; you will need them. Also, be sure to set up the York email address, as all UHIP-related information gets sent to the school email address. It was also good to know that York University has a Walk-In Clinic on the Keele Campus.  

Know your deadlines and important dates.

Before my first year, I reviewed all the deadlines and important dates, put them in my Google Calendar, and set up reminders. You can find deadlines on the Registrar's Office website. On the same page, I found financial deadlines and drop course dates. If you were to drop a course, be sure to check the Refund table. Let's say you added a course, and several weeks into the semester, you realize it is not for you. You can drop a course, but the total amount you paid is refundable only if you drop the course by a specific date. The refund table will explain what percentage of the amount paid you can get back, depending on the date you dropped the course. I dropped one course and replaced it with another, so there was no need for a refund. Once, I considered dropping out, but it was too late – I would lose around $700, so I stayed in the course. Don’t forget that as an international student, before dropping courses, you need to connect with immigration advisors to ensure you are still in status.