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#BacktoSchool’21: A Checklist for Your First Week of School

CAN’T KEEP CALM because we’re finally back to school in person!! First years, and non-first-years re-learning to go to school in person, I KNOW!! I know it’s a crazy, jittery week for you all and of course, you forgot to make a back-to-school checklist for yourself! Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Here’s a comprehensive checklist that will help you in your first week at school:

 #1 Updated Travel Resources

By this time, most of you must already be in Canada but for those of you who aren’t yet, ensure you’re eligible to arrive in Canada based on the current travel restrictions

(Tip- keep travellers’ cheques or credit cards that can be used internationally handy. You can also bring along prepaid borderless travel cards for your journey. It is also advisable to purchase a travellers’ insurance plan.)

#2 Important Documents 

As an international student, it is very important for you to have all of your important documents in place. While digital versions of most documents are accepted almost everywhere, it is important to keep a documents folder with the physical copies of all the documents for when technology leaves you stranded at the most random of places and situations. Here are some of the most important documents that you need to have on you in physical or digital forms all the time:

#3 Important items

 We know packing your entire life in a couple of suitcases is impossible but make sure you bring the absolute essentials with you. Most of the everyday items you might need for your first week in s school are widely available and inexpensive in Canada. However, it is advisable to bring some of the following items with you:

  • Driving License and other national IDs
  • Jackets (Waterproof) and sweaters
  • Waterproof/Anti-slip boots
  • First aid and prescription medications
  • Updated prescriptions from your Doctor
  • Laptops and chargers
  • Adapters and muti-plugs
  • Important books; dictionary; a map of the city 

Important tasks for the first week of school

  1. Get your Social Insurance Number

You will need your Social Insurance Number to work or start a Bank account. You can either apply for your SIN online or in-person. Alternately, most colleges and Universities have in campus booths to help students get their SIN. 

  1. Open a bank account

Open a bank account at your nearest bank at your earliest convenience. Most international students already have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) before coming to Canada from selected Canadian banks. 

  1. Register yourself for the provincial health plan

As an international student, It is imperative that you have a valid health plan as soon as possible. Most provinces health plans require three months from landing in Canada as processing time. Make sure you apply to your provinces health plan as soon as possible and have a secondary/private health plan covering you for the 3-month processing period. 

Medical Services Plan (MSP) – Province of British Columbia

Ontario Health Insurance Plan

  1. Get yourself a Provincial ID Card

While your passport is your primary ID card, it’s best to present government-issued ID to businesses and service providers that are required to check ID. Get your provincial ID card made at your earliest convenience at your nearest Service Canada.

BC Services Card

Ontario Photo Card

  1. Get a Transit Pass

If you choose to stay or work off-campus, the provincial transit system will be your best friend. Get yourself a transit pass for easy and inexpensive travel within your city and province. For information on how to get around your city, check out our articles:

Vancouver’s Transit System – How to Get Around!

Toronto Transit Commission System – Your Way Around the City!

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