Life outside of academia

There is lots to do on campus, and in the Waterloo Region, outside of academia. Below you will find a listing of some of the commonly used offices and services on campus to support your life outside of the classroom or lab: 

*Several resources are specific to graduate students.

**Many campus partners offer graduate student specific resources, in addition to general services

Adjusting to life in Canada

Resources for adjusting to life in Canada
Name of unit or service Brief description
Immigration consulting The Student Success Office has an experienced and dedicated team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), formerly known as International Student Advisors, who are licensed with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). All consultations are free and confidential.
International Peer Community The International Peer Community is a peer-support program aimed at helping new international students settle in and feel at home at the University of Waterloo. All international students including undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students are welcome to apply. 
International Student Guide (Student Success Office)

The Student Success Office has a comprehensive guide for international students that covers everything from setting up a Canadian bank account to academic skill building.

International student resources (Student Success Office)

The Student Success Office has a listing of resources available for International students that are focused on adapting to life in Canada and UWaterloo. Resources cover topics including: immigration information, English language supports, health insurance, winter in Waterloo, documents for your family, and more!

Writing and Communication Centre English Speaking and Writing Practice

The Writing and Communication Centre organizes an English Practice Community made up of two programs:

  1. Conversation Café: This drop-in café offers informal discussions about a range of topics.
  2. Conversation Circles: Open to students and spouses of UWaterloo students, this small group practices talking and learns about everyday Canadian culture, guided by an experienced facilitator.
English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS) credit courses for graduate students*

English Language Studies at Renison University College offers EMLS credit courses (formerly English as a Second Language (ESL) credit courses) for University of Waterloo graduate students whose dominant language is not English and who want to improve their English language skills. No additional tuition fees are required.

Graduate student immigration information sessions*

Graduate student specific immigration information sessions on working in Canada and post graduate work permits are offered by the Student Success Office.

Arts, culture and entertainment on campus

Opportunities to explore arts, culture and entertainment on campus
Name of unit or service Brief description
Brubacher House

The Brubacher House was built in 1850 in a style typical of Pennsylvania German architecture. Today the beautifully preserved home has become a landmark overlooking Columbia Lake and the University of Waterloo playing field.

Department of Communication Arts performances

The Department of Communication Arts produces a series of performances each year created by faculty, students, and visiting artists. Performances are open to the public.

Department of Music ensembles

The Department of Music at Conrad Grebel University College sponsors and organizes eight musical ensembles. All members of the university community, including graduate students, are invited to participate (note: participation in most ensembles requires an audition). 

Department of Music events

The Department of Music engages the community in many ways, including: the noon hour concert series, public concerts, the Community Gamelan, and the Chapel Choir.

Earth Sciences Museum

The University of Waterloo Earth Science Museum is open to be enjoyed by people of all ages. No matter what your level of learning, the museum serves to amaze the general public, elementary and high school groups, and university students alike.

Graduate House

Operated by the Graduate Student Association, the Graduate House is a hub for graduate students and their guests in a relaxed social space. Graduate students may also reserve space for social events, and events are often hosted here by the Graduate Student Association.

Gustav Bakos Observatory

The Gustav Bakos Observatory, named in honour of the first astronomer at the University of Waterloo, houses a twelve-inch telescope, which is located on the roof of the Physics building. Free tours, which include a chance to look through the telescope, are offered monthly.

Museum of Vision Science

The Museum of Vision Science is Canada's only museum dedicated to preserving the history of vision science. Their mission is to preserve the history of vision science in Canada and educate visitors of all ages on the importance of vision.

Science Outreach UWaterloo Science Outreach is passionate about making science and research an accessible and comprehensible topic for all interested audiences. Events and public lectures provide numerous ways for you to engage in a lifelong discovery of science.
University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG)

UWAG is located in East Campus Hall and is home to a full range of exhibitions and programming. Both fourth year undergraduate and graduate students showcase their work in annual exhibitions.

Managing family and relationships

Resources to support managing family and relationships
Name of unit or service Brief description
Day cares on campus

Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre: Bright Starts is located on the North Campus of the University of Waterloo and provides priority for enrollment of available child care spaces to faculty, staff and students of the University of Waterloo.

Early Childhood Education Centre: The Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC) was established in 1974 by the Psychology Department of the University of Waterloo and provides programs for children 30 months to 4 years of age.

Kids & Company, TechTown location: Kids & Company is located in the David Johnston Research & Technology Park on the University of Waterloo's North Campus. 

Note: Waiting lists for child care in the Waterloo area can be long. Children's names should be added to waiting lists and registered for child care and day care as soon as you arrive in Waterloo. See the OneList Waterloo Region website for further information about day cares in the Waterloo Region.

Documents for international family members

Within the International Student Resources provided by the Student Success Office, there is information about documents required for international family members to: visit or attend convocation, obtain work permits as a spouse of an international students, and obtain health care coverage. 

Engineering Science Quest (ESQ)

ESQ provides a variety of engaging kids programming, including summer day camps, winter break programming, and March break programming.

Graduate Studies Parental Leave Bursary*

The University of Waterloo will provide an eight-month Graduate Studies Parental Leave Bursary (includes adoption) to eligible graduate students.

Graduate Student Day Care Bursary*

Graduate Student Day Care Bursaries are available each term to eligible students with day care expenses. Day care expenses include those incurred through a day care centre, a home day care, before and after care through schools, and Christmas break, March break and summer camps. These bursaries are used to subsidize resources and are awarded based on financial need.

Family Health Clinic

The Family Health Clinic at Health Services provides primary medical care for family members of registered students, visiting scholars, postdoctoral scholars at University of Waterloo. You are welcome to register if your family does not already have a family doctor in the community.

Family Housing: Columbia Lake Village-North (CLV-N)**

CLV-N is designed for single graduate students, student couples and students with families. Family housing provides many benefits including: being surrounded by other student families, supports for spouses such as conversation circles, and recreational programming at the Community Centre.

Family Housing: St. Paul’s Grad Apartments**

The Graduate Apartments Building at St. Paul's was designed to promote community, and hosts several common spaces, including a rooftop patio lounge. Apartments are available to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting professors at the University of Waterloo, particularly those with families or dependents.

International Spouses group Since 2005, the International Spouses group has served as a community for those wishing to meet other people, learn about Canada, go on outings and make connections.