Pre-departure & Arrival

After you accept your admission offer from MacEwan University and pay the confirmation deposit, you are officially a MacEwan University student. Now you can start looking after the many details that will make your international education adventure a success.



Before you leave home

Sign up for a pre-departure webinar

A month or two before you come to Edmonton, you and your family can meet MacEwan International staff during the pre-departure webinar. We will answer your questions and help you feel more prepared for your Canadian education experience. To participate, reply to the webinar email invitation you will receive.

Gather all necessary documents

Going to university abroad involves plenty of paperwork. To ensure a smooth start to your time in Canada, start gathering the bits and pieces you need early. Do not put original copies of documents in your checked luggage; carry these items with you at all times.

Document checklist

When you arrive in Canada, you will be asked to show the following documents to customs and immigration officers:

  • A valid passport or travel document

  • The letter that you received from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)  when your study permit was approved

  • A temporary resident visa or eTA (if required)

  • Your offer of admission/letter of acceptance from MacEwan University.

You may also be asked to show:

  • Proof that you have access to adequate funds for the duration of your stay

  • Original transcripts, supporting documents and certified English translations of these documents

  • Other official identification, such as a driver’s license

  • Medical records and prescriptions.

Although not required when you enter the country, we recommend that you also bring:

  • An emergency contact list, with details on contacts in Edmonton and from home

  • Reference letters from employers and teachers, especially if you plan on working while you are going to university.

Book your flight

Plan on arriving in Edmonton with enough time to settle into your new home, meet with MacEwan International staff and explore the campus and the city. Arrive at least one week before your first day of classes, which you can find on the academic schedule.

Academic Schedule

Pack your bags

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.

Edmonton International Airport // Packing tips

Find a place to live

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.

MacEwan residence



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. 

Canada Homestay Network


Off-campus rentals

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.

Search for vacancies

Arrange finances

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 

    Tuition, Fees & Costs

  • 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


On arrival 

Provide entry documents to customs and immigration officials

At the first Canadian city your flight stops in, you will meet with a customs and immigration official who will ask to see the documents you’ve gathered for entry into Canada:

  • A valid passport or travel document

  • The letter that you received from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada when your study permit was approved

  • A temporary resident visa or eTA (if required)

  • Your offer of admission/letter of acceptance from MacEwan University

You may also be asked to show:

  • Proof that you have access to adequate funds for the duration of your stay

  • Original transcripts, supporting documents and certified English translations of these documents

  • Other official identification, such as a driver’s license

  • Medical records and prescriptions

Pick up your study permit

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.

Travel from the Edmonton International Airport to your new home

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.


The check-in counter and waiting area for taxis are located on the Arrivals Level of the airport. It costs about $70 to get from the airport to downtown Edmonton.



The Skyshuttle is a large van that stops at several hotels and other points in Edmonton, including the MacEwan University Residence.

For the Fall term, 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.

Register for skyshuttle


Public transit

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. 

Routes and schedules


Pick up

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.

Airport drop-off/pick-up information

Visit MacEwan International offices

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

Meet the MacEwan International advising team

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.

Log in to myStudentSystem and update your address

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.

Meet your program advisor and enrol in courses (if necessary)

Program advisors can answer specific questions about your area of study and help you enrol in classes. 

Pick up your MacEwan ID 

The MacEwan Card is the official student identification and library card. Get your card from the library before classes start.

MacEwan Card

Pick up your U-Pass

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.

ETS Bus Pass

Apply for health insurance 

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. 

Register for AHCIP


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.

SAMU Health & Dental


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.

Get to know your campus 

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

Open a bank account

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. 

Alberta Banks

  • ATB Financial

  • Bank of Montreal

  • CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)

  • RBC Royal Bank

  • Scotiabank

  • TD Canada Trust

Money Facts

  • 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.

Get a cell phone plan

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

Attend orientation events and integration seminars

MacEwan International hosts the mandatory orientation for all new international students and several seminars throughout the year. These events will help you settle into a new routine and prepare you for success in your studies. We offer sessions on:

  •     Settling in Edmonton 

  •     Enrolling in classes 

  •     Research, writing and academic integrity 

  •     Immigration 

  •     Filing a tax return

MacEwan International events

As well as the orientation specifically for international students, MacEwan hosts a new student orientation for all students on campus.

Become familiar with university policies

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)

  • Grading (C2020)

  • Academic Standing (C2070)

  • Repeating Credit Courses (C1035)

  • Final Assessment (C2005)

Policy Manual


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.

Academic Calendar

Get around Edmonton by bus or train

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.

Edmonton Transit

Meet fellow students through clubs or volunteering

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.

Welcome Squad @ International

This volunteer program builds bridges between cultures and students. Its main goal is to provide a Canadian welcome to international students at MacEwan University and bring international experience to Canadian students. If you have completed one or more years of your post-secondary education and are interested in joining the Squad, email MacEwan International.

Contact us


Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU)

The Students' Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) also has plenty of clubs and volunteer opportunities, including Safewalk, the Food Bank and international sports clubs. 

SAMU clubs


Around Edmonton

Volunteer Edmonton can connect you volunteer opportunities around the city.

Volunteer Edmonton

Learn about campus safety 

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.

Campus Safety

Find work 

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.

Career Services 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.

Career Services