Moving to another country to attend university requires careful planning: completing paperwork, arranging accommodations, saving enough money. There are plenty of resources available to help you get ready to study abroad.


Outbound students are eligible for a number of MacEwan scholarships, awards and bursaries. Some are open to all students; others are program specific. In particular, outbound students should apply for the Education Abroad Award and the Scotiabank Global Citizenship Award. Browse through our Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries database for details on these and other opportunities.

Inbound students need to check with their home institutions for information about scholarships, awards and bursaries.

Health and safety

Ensuring personal health and safety is an important part of preparing for your overseas experience. Some preparation needs to take place several months before you leave Canada. MacEwan University policy stipulates that all students travelling internationally on an exchange, internship or on other university business (such as presenting at or attending a conference, completing a practicum, or volunteering through a MacEwan University club) must obtain the necessary travel authorization at least 30 days prior to departure. Once your travel authorization has been approved, you are required to 

If you are participating in a student group travel, your faculty advisor will complete your form for you.

Adapting to a new culture

Going abroad for long periods of time is exciting, but it can also be scary. Most travellers experience four stages of emotion as they prepare for and participate in education abroad programs.

Graphic representing the various stages of cultural adaption

In the first stage, you may experience pre-departure ups and downs, shifting between feeling really excited and really anxious about the adventure that lies ahead. The second phase, referred to as the honeymoon phase, occurs when you arrive in your host country. You experience a heightened sense of independence and everything seems perfect. After a period of adjustment, however, the differences between your home and host culture may seem strange. You've entered the third stage, which is described as “culture shock.” Symptoms differ from person to person, but it is important to recognize what you are experiencing so you can take steps to cope with a tangle of emotions. During the last phase, you begin to adapt to and accept your new surroundings, finding a balance between the honeymoon and culture shock phases.


Culture shock: Symptoms and strategies for coping

Clearly, you don’t want to linger in the culture shock stage any longer than you have to. The best strategy for coping with culture shock is making a conscious effort to overcome the negative feelings. Here are some suggestions for helping you feel more at home in your new environment.

Acknowledge the symptoms

When you experience culture shock, you may feel angry, confused, frustrated, irritable or uneasy. You may lose your sense of humour and prefer spending time alone, avoiding contact with your host community. You become disenchanted with the culture and people of your temporary home. You eat and drink compulsively or need an excessive amount of sleep. You are bored, fatigued and unable to concentrate.

When you recognize that the negative emotions and behaviours you are experiencing are related to culture shock, you are in a better position for coping with them.

Learn the "rules" of living in your host country

Try to understand the local culture. Choose not to judge your hosts’ behaviour and customs. Although they may be different from your own, they are neither better nor worse.

Take care of yourself

Eat well, exercise and get a good night’s sleep. Drink only moderate amounts of alcohol.


Take the time to be a tourist and explore the country’s sights.

Make friends and develop relationships

Getting to know local people will help you overcome cultural differences and understand the country. You will also learn to be more sensitive to cultural norms and expectations.

Stay in touch with friends and family back home

Writing home—through blogging, social media, or good old-fashioned post cards—can help you sort through problems and reflect on experiences.

Keep a journal

When you write in a journal, you give yourself the time to reflect on and appreciate your new surroundings.

Don't idealize life back home

Try to make the most of your stay and consciously adopt an open mind.

Find a familiar activity

Listening to your favourite music or working on a familiar hobby can boost your spirits when you are feeling homesick.

Get involved

Seek out an activity that will get you involved with some aspect of your host country’s culture. Study art or music or learn a new sport or martial art. Being an interested student will make a world of difference in how you perceive a new culture.


If you are struggling or feeling despair, you can reach out to MacEwan's Student Affairs for support.

Student Affairs Services & Resources