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International students

A group of students attending an Orientation event inside a classroom in UWaterloo's Hagey Hall.

Programming for international student takes place Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 3. 

Attending International Orientation this fall? Here's what you need to know to get ready:

What is International Orientation?

International Orientation takes place Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 3. This is the weekend before Waterloo Orientation so that you can also attend Waterloo Orientation. 

During International Orientation, you will:

  • Learn how to be academically successful
  • Experience faculty-based lectures or other activities
  • Learn job search strategies and professional etiquette to help you prepare for your first co-op term or part-time job
  • Learn about campus services and resources available to international students
  • Understand key elements of Canada and UWaterloo’s culture, history, and people
  • Meet international and Canadian students and learn more about student life

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How do I register?

To register, log into Portal with your WatIAm login information (the username and password that you use to log into Quest). Portal is a web tool and app with all the information you need to succeed during your time at Waterloo – everything from your class schedule to the campus map.

Once you’ve logged in:

  1. Click on Widgets (top menu item)
  2. Search for and select Orientation
  3. Enter your information on all pages and submit!

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Who is International Orientation for?

  • International Orientation is for any first-year student who has a study permit, or attended high school internationally, or is new to Canadian culture, or is developing their English language skills.
  • International Orientation is for any Bridge to Academic Success in English (BASE) or iBASE and English Language for Academic Studies (ELAS) or iELAS students. 
  • Your parents and family members can also take part in International Orientation.   

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Where will I live during International Orientation?

  • If you're moving into Waterloo Residences you can move in early (starting September 1, 2017). Please note this on your International Orientation registration form.
  • If you're moving into one of the affiliated University College Residences, you can move in early (starting September 1).
  • If you're arriving before September 1, you will need to coordinate your own accommodation and cover any costs. Waterloo Residences has a list of short-term accommodation options
  • If you're living off-campus, you will need to confirm move-in plans with your landlord and roommates.

Where will my parents and family live?

  • Your parents and family will not be able to stay on campus. They must coordinate and cover the cost of off-campus accommodation. 

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Is there a cost?

There is no fee to participate in International Orientation, but there are costs to consider:

  • Meals. Dinner is included on September 2 and snacks will be provided throughout the program. You will need to cover the cost of the rest of your meals. 
  • Transportation to campus. There are a variety of transportation options available from the airport to Waterloo.
  • Activities during the program and spending money. There are no required fees, but if you wish to purchase anything on campus you will need to cover the cost. If your parents and family join the optional bus trip into Waterloo, they will need to pay for public transportation (exact change required). You can ride for free with your WatCard.

While many places offer credit or debit payment options, we recommend that you have Canadian cash on hand.  

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When should I arrive?

You are encouraged to arrive on campus on Friday, September 1 between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

This will allow you to obtain your Watcard, take care of any campus business before offices close for the holiday weekend, and take part in optional campus tours and information sessions. 

If you are unable to arrive by 12 p.m., don’t worry! The International Orientation check-in desk will be open until 8 p.m. 

Please note: Monday, September 4 is Labour Day, a statutory holiday in Canada.

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Email We look forward to welcoming you to campus this fall!

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