Before you leave home
A month or two before you come to Edmonton, you will receive a pre-departure guide in your MacEwan email account. You and your family can also meet an international advisor during the pre-departure webinar. We will answer your questions and help you feel more prepared for your Canadian education experience. To participate, follow the link to the webinar in the email invitation you will receive.
It’s important that you know where you are going to live in Edmonton before you arrive. The three most common options are the MacEwan University Student Residence, homestay arrangements, and renting an apartment or house with other students or friends.
MacEwan University Residence
Located right beside City Centre Campus, living here puts you next door to the classrooms and study spaces that you will be calling home while you are a MacEwan student. The residence is located on a public transportation route and is close to grocery stores, restaurants, a weekly farmers' market, coffee shops, live music and theatre venues and Edmonton’s thriving downtown. The residence is about a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute bus ride to the Alberta College Campus.
Residents can choose between furnished bachelor, two-bedroom and four-bedroom suites. As an international student, you can apply to live in residence as soon as you have been offered admission to the university. Visit the residence website for more details and to apply.
International students who want to live with a Canadian family can do so through a homestay arrangement. If you choose this option, you are responsible for finding your own homestay family. MacEwan University partners with Canada Homestay Network, a national homestay company. Contact them for information on rates and services.
Some students prefer to live in rental accommodations, such as apartments or houses, by themselves or with groups of friends. Information on rental properties can be found in local newspapers or on online sites, such as Kijiji or Craigslist. You can expect to pay between $600/month and $1200/month for a one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton.
You may be asked to sign a legal contract binding you to certain conditions and payment and provide a damage deposit when you agree to move into the property. NEVER send money or sign a lease before you see the apartment or house.
Travelling to Canada during COVID-19 requires thorough preparation: collecting necessary documents and making a quarantine plan for a minimum of 14 days.
Review the current travel restrictions before booking your flight to Canada.
Check if MacEwan University is on the approved DLI COVID-19 readiness plan approved list.
Ensure you have the proper health coverage.
If you are not fully vaccinated, reserve a 3-night hotel stopover in advance of boarding your flight.
Attend a drop-in session—held every Friday at 9 a.m. Edmonton time—if you have a question.
Register for free transportation from Edmonton airport to your place of quarantine at least 48 hours prior to your arrival in Edmonton.
Create and finalize your quarantine plan.
If you have questions on how to write a Quarantine plan – please use a quarantine plan template.
Check the tool to assess your quarantine plan.
If you are staying at the MacEwan Residence, the quarantine plan will be provided to you.
If you are staying in a private accommodation, please email your quarantine plan to firstname.lastname@example.org for review at least one week before your travels.
Complete MacEwan University's mandatory International Student Travel Plans form.
You should submit a new form if your travel plans change.
- Download the ArriveCAN app, or use the web version, and follow the instructions carefully.
Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN App and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan. All travellers entering Canada must submit their information, including details of their 14-day travel history, electronically using ArriveCAN. This information must be entered into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before a travellers’ arrival to Canada to ensure accuracy and to help monitor importation of COVID-19. Either print the confirmation email or take a screen shot of your confirmation after entering your information into the app. You will have to show it upon arrival.
Prepare your non-medical masks and face coverings and pack your essential items and documents.
Monitor yourself and do not travel if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Starting July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Exemptions for fully vaccinated travellers who meet specific conditions
You may qualify for certain exemptions to quarantine and testing requirements if you:
are travelling for essential reasons (to study, not earlier than three weeks before your classes start)
meet all other entry requirements, including entering your information in ArriveCAN before arrival
Those who meet the requirements may be exempt from:
hotel stopover (for air travellers)
day-8 testing requirement
Entry requirements for the fully vaccinated exemption
Fully vaccinated travellers must follow the entry requirements:
You must have a suitable quarantine plan in place where you can stay for at least 14 days. This is required even if you are seeking the fully vaccinated exemption. Check the tool to assess your quarantine plan.
Final determination is made by a government representative at the border based on the information presented at the time of entry into Canada. You must therefore be prepared to quarantine for 14 days, in case you:
don’t meet the requirements
If you don’t meet the requirements, you'll be asked to follow the instructions provided by the government representative.
If you meet all the requirements, you won't need to quarantine.
Travelling with minors or dependents who are not vaccinated
Unvaccinated minors or dependent adults who are travelling with fully vaccinated travellers must quarantine for 14 days and follow all testing requirements but are not required to stay at a government-authorized hotel.
Register in advance for your test to save time at the border.
Follow the instructions provided to you upon entry to Canada to complete your arrival (day 1) test. Airports and some land borders have on-site testing or sample observation services where you can complete your test before continuing on to your destination.
If you receive a home test kit instead, complete it on the day you arrive and send it to the lab following the instructions provided.
If your arrival test is negative:
follow local public health measures
maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada
keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
If your arrival test is positive:
isolate yourself from others right away
you will be contacted by your local public health authority
follow their instructions
keep copies of your proof of vaccination for 14 days
How to meet the fully vaccinated exemption
You must use ArriveCAN to enter your proof of vaccination, quarantine and travel information. All travellers entering Canada must submit their information, including details of their 14-day travel history, electronically using ArriveCAN. This information must be entered into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before a travellers’ arrival to Canada to ensure accuracy and to help monitor importation of COVID-19.
More details can be found on the Government of Canada’s page
Gather all required documents
Valid study permit or letter of introduction
- TRV (counterfoil in your passport) or eTA
- School Documents
Letter of Acceptance
Late Arrival Letter (for students accepted in Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Spring 2021), OR
Late Arrival Letter (for students accepted to Fall 2021 term and coming after classes start in Fall 2021)
Verification of Enrollment (for students who were enrolled in Fall 2020, or Winter 2021, or Spring/Summer 2021)
Term enrollment and account summary for Fall 2021
Negative Covid-19 test* (Please check accepted molecular test types and more details on the Government of Canada’s page)
Proof of payment and booking for the government-authorized hotels (if applicable)
Proof of finances (bank account statements)
The ArriveCAN App
* Individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19 can provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular
When packing for your time abroad, remember that Edmonton’s climate may not be what you’re used to at home. In the summer, daytime temperatures range from 20 to 25°C; in the winter, temperatures can drop below -30°C. If your country does not have cold, snowy winters, you might want to wait to buy winter clothing here. Remember to check airline baggage restrictions before packing.
While some finance-related tasks will have to wait until after you arrive in Edmonton, you can do some planning before you leave home.
Prepare a detailed budget that considers the cost of living in Edmonton and the cost of going to school at MacEwan University
Have an emergency plan in place should you need extra money
Bring $200 to $300 in Canadian cash to cover expenses for your first few days
When you arrive in Canada your health and quarantine plan will be assessed by the Canadian Border Service Agent before your leave the port of entry. It is up to the discretion of the border agent to approve your entry into Canada.
You will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the port of entry at no cost to you.
You will proceed to your 3-night hotel pre-booked stopover where you will wait to learn your COVID-19 arrival test result.
If you receive a negative result on your COVID-19 arrival test, you will then be able to continue on to your originally planned quarantine location to complete the remainder of your 14-day quarantine requirements.
If you receive a positive result on your COVID-19 arrival test, you'll be relocated to a designated government quarantine facility for the remainder of your 14 days of isolation.
Inform MacEwan University that you have arrived in Canada by emailing us at email@example.com as soon as you arrive at your hotel.
Follow Public Health's instructions on how to quarantine.
Confirm with the Government of Canada that you have arrived at your place of quarantine using ArriveCAN (iOS, Android or web version) or by calling toll free 1-833-641-0343. This must be done within 48 hours of arriving in Canada.
Be aware that the penalties for not complying with the quarantine requirements are steep and should be taken very seriously.
At the customs and immigration desk, you will show the officer the letter you received from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada when your study permit was approved. This letter lets the officer know to direct you to another room where you pick up the study permit. If your program has a work placement or practicum component in the first year, you should also ask the officer about issuing your co-op work permit together with your study permit.
Review your study permit carefully to ensure that all of the details are accurate. The procedure for changing details after this point can be very time consuming. Your study permit should have the following condition so you can apply for a SIN number and work: May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
The Edmonton International Airport is about 30 kilometres outside the city of Edmonton. There are a few ways you can get from the airport to your home.
MacEwan University will provide a free taxi service to our international students who will be arriving at Edmonton International Airport from abroad. Please keep in mind that you need to register at least 48 hours prior to your arrival to receive this free service.
Please go to the link below and provide your first and last name, arrival date and time, flight number, MacEwan ID number and drop off location (please provide the address where you are going to quarantine). You may be prompted to log in to your mymacewan account before registering.
You will show it to a CBSA officer along with other documents upon your arrival in Canada. Please refer to your email for more information.
The Skyshuttle is a large van that stops at several hotels and other points in Edmonton, including the MacEwan University Residence. Effective August 2017: free Skyshuttle.
Temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19
New international students can take the Skyshuttle free of charge from EIA to designated drop-off locations in Edmonton. Register for Skyshuttle with your MacEwan username and password. The Skyshuttle service is available between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
For $5, you can take public transit, Bus 747, from the airport to the Century Park bus and light rail transit (LRT) terminal in south Edmonton. At the terminal, you will need to buy another ticket to take a bus or the train to your destination. Choose the Metro LRT line and get off at the MacEwan stop if you are coming directly to campus or to the university residence. You may not want to choose this option if you have more luggage than you can easily carry.
If you know someone in Edmonton who will be picking you up at the airport, the passenger pick-up area is located on the lower ramp on the Arrivals level.
Join MacEwan International mandatory check ins webinars every Tuesday and Friday at 12 pm Edmonton time.
Check the quarantine online resources for international students.
Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever/chills, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.
Be aware of scams targeting international students and learn how to protect yourself.
Take care of your overall wellbeing while you're in quarantine.
Take another COVID-19 test toward the end of your quarantine.
Instructions will be provided when you arrive in Canada. You will be required to stay in your place of quarantine until you receive a negative test result.
If you receive a positive test result, you will be required to isolate for an additional 14-day period that begins on the day the test was taken. Upon receiving a positive test result, contact your local public health authority and follow their directions.
MacEwan International is here to help you balance the excitement of going to university far from home with the challenges of adjusting to life in a new country. We will connect you with the people and services you need for a successful and memorable university experience. On the first business day after you arrive in Edmonton, go to the MacEwan International Office. Bring your original transcripts, supporting documents and certified English translations of these documents with you. We will help you take your next steps as an international student in Edmonton.Find us here
School of Continuing Education International
For International Professional Development students, SCE International is here to help you gain confidence as a highly educated professional in Canada. We are located at the Alberta College campus and are here to answer any questions you may have to help make adjusting to life in Canada easier.Find us here
At the MacEwan International office
Bring your original transcripts, supporting documents and certified English translations to MacEwan International when you arrive in Edmonton. Our staff and volunteers look forward to meeting you. We will help you get accustomed to living in Edmonton, going to school at MacEwan University and meeting your educational goals. We will also teach you how to navigate myStudentSystem if needed.
MyStudentSystem allows you to track your application, search for and enrol in classes, pay fees and manage personal information. As soon as possible, you need to update your address in the system so that documents can be mailed to your new home in Edmonton and so you can apply for Alberta Health Care.
Program advisors can answer specific questions about your area of study and help you enrol in classes.
The MacEwan Card is the official student identification and library card. Get your card from the library before classes start.
The U-Pass gives you access to Edmonton, Strathcona County, Leduc and St. Albert transit services for every term you are registered in classes. The cost of the U-Pass is covered by your student union fees. Contact the Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) to find out when U-Pass stickers are available and where to pick them up.
International students in a School of Continuing Education Professional Development certificate program do not qualify for a U-Pass but can purchase an ETS bus pass at most convenience or grocery store customer service areas.
Alberta Health Care Insurance
If you study in Alberta for at least 12 months, you are eligible to apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). This insurance is free but you need to apply within one week of moving here. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of your visits to doctors, hospitals and other basic health care needs.
SAMU Supplemental Health Benefits Plan
When you register as a full-time student, you also receive supplementary SAMU health and dental benefits. The supplemental health care plan covers much of the health care needs that are not paid for by Alberta Health Care, such as the cost of prescription medicine, dental work and physical therapy. The cost for this is included as part of your student fees. After you pay for the health or dental services, you can go to the SAMU office for help in processing a claim to get some of your medical costs recovered.
Short-term studies and insurance
International students who will study for less than 12 months are not eligible for Alberta Health Care Insurance. We strongly encourage you to purchase private insurance to cover medical needs during your time in Canada. Guard.me is recommended for short-term international students who are already in Canada.
Medical Clinics and Hospitals
The MacEwan Medical Clinic at the City Centre Campus is open to all students. You can book an appointment with a doctor or just drop in. Alberta Health Services can connect you with doctors in different parts of Edmonton and offers a Health Link telephone line if you would like to ask a nurse a question from home. You should go to a medical clinic for minor illnesses and non-urgent medical care.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital is the nearest hospital to MacEwan University. There are several other hospitals around Edmonton. Call 911 if you have an emergency.
MacEwan International staff and volunteers will give you a tour of the campus and help you find those spaces and places that you'll be seeking out in the first weeks of class: your classrooms, the library, the gym, quiet study rooms, coffee shops and food venues. As well, when you attend the New International Student Orientation, you will learn more about the campus.Campus maps
Shortly after arriving in Edmonton, you should open a bank account. A representative from the bank you choose will describe available services and help you choose the account that best meets your needs.
Bank of Montreal
CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
RBC Royal Bank
TD Canada Trust
The unit of currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar ($).
Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express and debit cards (bank cards) are widely accepted.
In Alberta, the 5% national Goods and Services Tax (GST) is added to the displayed cost of most goods. In other provinces of Canada, a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) may be added.
There are a number of cell phone plan providers available. If you go to a local shopping mall, you will be able to check out various plans and find the one that suits you best. To make your decision, consider how you will be keeping in touch with friends and family back home.
In your first few weeks
MacEwan International hosts several integration seminars and an orientation for all new international students. These events will help you settle into a new routine and prepare you for success in your studies. We offer integration seminars on:
Settling in Edmonton
Research, writing and academic integrity
Filing a tax return
As well as the orientation specifically for international students, MacEwan hosts a new student orientation for all students on campus.
The policies that govern student and faculty activities at MacEwan University might be quite different than policies in your home country. It is important for you to be familiar with pertinent policies, including:
Student Rights and Responsibilities (E3101)
Refunds of Tuition and Student Fees (E2112)
Academic Standing (C2070)
Repeating Credit Courses (C1035)
Final Assessment (C2005)
MacEwan University's Academic Calendar is the authoritative source for official course descriptions and the rules and regulations that apply to our students. You are responsible for checking and adhering to all posted dates, deadlines and university policies.
The Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) connects MacEwan University with all areas of the city. Your U-Pass sticker, which all students receive after they enrol in classes, allows you to take the public bus and train services at no cost. You can use the ETS trip planner to find your way around by bus or train. As well, ETS recommends a few real-time apps that let you know exactly when your bus will arrive.
Making new friends is an important part of your experience in Canada. Friends can help you navigate a new city and a new culture. You can meet new people when you volunteer on campus or in the city.
Volunteer @ MacEwan International
International Student Services at MacEwan International has various volunteer positions that can help you gain valuable experience and connect with other students. The opportunities range in length and intensity from helping with one-day events to committing to the whole semester. Students can volunteer with Airport Welcome (joint initiative between 6 major universities and colleges in Edmonton), Tea Chat, Badminton, New Student Orientation for International Students and events. Students who volunteer for minimum 20 hours per academic year are eligible for the co-curricular record (CCR). Please email us to learn more about our current openings.
Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU)
The Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) also has plenty of groups and volunteer opportunities, including Safewalk, the Food Bank and international sports clubs.
Volunteer Edmonton can connect you volunteer opportunities around the city.
Your safety is very important to MacEwan University. Security officers patrol campus all day and night, seven days a week. The officers can also help you if you've lost something on campus or even if you are not feeling well. Call Safety and Security if you need assistance.
SafeWalk volunteers will walk with you to Residence, your car, a bus stop or the LRT train station if you are going home after a late class.
If you plan on working while you are attending classes, you might want to find a position early in the term, before your workload gets too heavy.
Careers and Experience can help you navigate the process of finding work in the Canadian job market. You will need a resume and references to apply for a job.