Be it with regard to academic matters, such as help with coordinating the course of studies or support with academic writing, or be it with regard to personal support in a wide variety of matters – at a Canadian university no student is left alone with their problems. The service concept plays a major role in the Canadian university landscape. Accordingly, extensive and varied is the range of services on campus.
There is a suitable contact point with specially trained service staff for every student and every concern. It is also the excellently developed range of services offered by universities in Canada, which are common practice at both universities and colleges, that contribute to the high quality standard of higher education there.
Diversity is a particular concern of many Canadian universities and a lot is always done to ensure that the internationals find their way around, settle in quickly and feel comfortable. Therefore, there are many additional services available to students from abroad, so that nothing should stand in the way of successful studies in Canada.
Regardless of whether you are studying for a semester abroad or for a complete Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at a Canadian university: the most important point of contact for you is the International Office. In Canada, a major country in North America listed on behealthybytomorrow, this service facility for international students is usually called the International (Study) Center or International Student (Service) Office. In the International Student Office everything is geared towards the special needs of students from abroad, here you can get help, support and advice in areas such as
- Course selection, course change and course registration
- Creation of the timetable
- Search for accommodation
- Visa and immigration requirements (Study Permit)
- Health insurance
- Working alongside your studies (Work Permit)
- culture shock
The staff of the Canadian International Student Offices also organize events or initiate programs to make it easier for international students to arrive and live in their new study country:
- Orientation programs for new international students at the beginning of the semester
- Campus tours
- Airport pickup
- Buddy Program / Mentorship Program
- Activities and excursions especially for international students, such as excursions to sights
- Organization of regular events for internationals during the semester, such as barbecue, pumpkin carving or joint meals with international dishes
Student Union / Student Association
A Student Union, or Student Association (both terms are used equally in Canada), exists at every university and also at most colleges. It roughly corresponds to the German General Student Committee (AStA) or the Student Council (StuRa). Some large research universities even have two student unions: one for the undergraduate and one for the postgraduate area. The Student Union consists of a group of students elected by the student body who represent the interests of the students, for example in matters of university policy and other university-related issues.
The Student Union / Student Association plays an important role in campus life in Canada, especially in social terms. For example, she is also responsible for the various clubs and societies, organizes social, political and cultural events and educates people about racism, sexism, homophobia and other prejudices. It also offers students many services such as:
- Legal advice
- Financial advice
- Health Insurance Plan (student health insurance)
- Placement of tutors
- Printing and faxing
- Sale of used books at great prices
- Food bank
- Freebies and discounted tickets for concerts, cinema, etc.
- Shopping shuttle
At most universities, the Student Union has its own building, the Student Union Building (SUB), which is often very well equipped and is therefore often the central campus meeting point for many students. The equipment includes, for example:
- Offers for catering, such as a café, a snack bar or a dining hall
- Multimedia rooms with television, video games, etc.
- Billiard and foosball tables
- Board games
In addition to managing the various clubs and societies, the Student Union / Association itself has extra representatives or representatives (collectives) of certain student groups. For example, there is often an International Student Association / Collective within the general Student Association. This consists of international students who are specifically responsible for the concerns and interests of internationals.
Often there are other facilities in the SUB that have services for specific student groups, such as a Women Center or a Gay and Lesbian Center.
Counseling services for students in Canada
How do you put together your timetable? What does a good résumé look like? And how do you overcome your test anxiety? Regardless of whether you are a freshman or a master’s student just about to graduate: life and your studies always present you with new challenges. Students in Canada can access a variety of counseling services, regardless of whether they are academic or personal questions and problems.
Academic / Educational Advising
Academic Advising is available at every Canadian university. The so-called Academic Advisors advise and support the students in all academic matters, such as
- in the choice of study program and choice of courses
- in choosing the appropriate major and minor subject
- Providing information on the registration process and the availability of courses
- in understanding the examination regulations
- when crediting study achievements
- when looking for a scholarship
Depending on the size and organization of the Canadian university, there are Academic Advisors with different tasks / areas of responsibility:
- First-year Advisor: deals exclusively with the needs of freshmen.
- Faculty Advisor: Expert for specific courses with regard to admission requirements, examination regulations etc. and contact person exclusively for the students of the respective programs.
- Peer Advisor: A student who voluntarily provides study advisory activities for fellow students.
Universities in Canada keep an eye on ensuring that their students successfully complete their studies. Correct scientific research and writing has to be learned first and for some people in the first semesters there may be gaps in knowledge that need to be filled. For example, some students need a bit of tutoring in maths or generally need support in developing a proper learning technique. Universities and colleges have various learning-related services that students can access. These are for example
- Language Resource Center: Help and assistance with language learning
- Math Learning Center: tutoring for math problems
- Writing Center: Support with academic writing
- Learning Skills Services: Learning to learn, exam preparation, reading strategies, presentation techniques, stress and time management, etc.
In addition to academic advice, there are also various services from universities in Canada that offer advice in personal and individual areas (counseling). These include, for example, psychological advice centers (Mental Health Care) or advice and treatment centers for general health problems (Health Care).
The so-called Career Service is also available on almost every Canadian campus. As the name suggests: Everything here revolves around the professional life for which the students should be prepared during their studies. The Career Service offers the following support:
- Career counseling
- Help with writing the résumé
- Interface between students and future employers
- Workshops and trainings
- Job offers
Other services at Canadian universities
For students with children, there are of course special services from universities in Canada, such as a Children’s Center or Childcare / Daycare Services. The point of contact for students with disabilities is usually the Accessibility or Disability Service.
Other offers that can often be found on campus in Canada:
- Accommodation Service
- IT support
- Athletics / Activities / Recreation Center
- Info Center
- Campus Security