Preparing to study abroad.
A great adventure full of new experiences and learning opportunities awaits you. With so much to think about and so much excitement it is important to prepare, prepare, prepare. Here are a few tips to help you as you anticipate your study abroad experience at DeVry Institute of Technology.
Scroll through this page or select from the categories below to find the information you need:
- Weather and Clothing
- Money and Spending
- Health and Health Insurance
- Mail and Communications
- Student Housing
Weather and Clothing
Climate. Learn about Calgary's climate and see local weather forecasts at weather.ca. If you plan to travel while in Canada, please be aware that the weather varies greatly from region to region.
Attire. On campus, students usually wear informal clothing such as jeans and casual shirts. Plan to wear warm clothing during the winter months (November - April), and be prepared for occasional rainy weather. You may want to bring your national costumes to wear to certain campus events or to represent your country at public occasions.
Packing. Packing for an entire school year or longer in a foreign country can be daunting. First, make a list of items to bring. Then ask yourself if you really need every item. Are there some things you can purchase once in Canada? Keep in mind that airlines will charge extra for baggage exceeding their weight limitations. Consider bringing clothes that can be mixed and matched to extend your wardrobe. And bring an outfit for special occasions, including your national costume if appropriate.
Here is a packing list to help you get started:
- Passport, visa, school registration papers
- Guidebook and map of Calgary
- Small amount of Canadian currency ($30 in bills and change)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Soap, shampoo and other toiletry items (pack small bottles to last until you go shopping)
- Hairbrush and hairdryer*
- Weather-appropriate clothing (including winter coat, rain jacket, umbrella)
- Shoes, sandals and/or boots
- Socks and underwear
- Swimsuit and/or sports clothes
- Study materials
- Small gifts or mementos from your country, as well as photos from your homeland
- Laptop computer and/or other study devices (optional)*
- Reading material for plane and first few nights
*The standard voltage throughout North America is 125V AC, 60Hz. If you plan to bring electronic equipment, you may want to purchase a plug adapter. If you are only bringing a hairdryer, it may be cheaper to buy a new one once you arrive, rather than buy an adapter.
Money and Spending
Before leaving home, visit a bank in your country to learn the requirements for exchanging money. Know the value of your own currency in Canada. It's a good idea to have several Canadian coins and bills to use for tipping, telephone calls and miscellaneous expenses when you arrive. You can find banks for this purpose at most major airports upon arrival. Businesses usually will not accept credit cards for very small purchases. Taxicabs or small vendors may not accept credit cards at all.
Currency Restrictions and Transfer of Funds to Canada. Know your government's regulations regarding currency restrictions and the transfer of funds. Your government may restrict the amount of money that can be taken out of the country or may wait to release funds until a letter confirming enrollment has been received from DeVry.
ATMs. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are generally located at most banks, supermarkets, convenience stores, and malls.
Credit Cards. Credit cards are popular in North America, and nearly every business accepts them. They are exceedingly convenient, but also dangerous if not used with good judgment. If you decide to use a credit card, be sure to keep a written tally of your purchases. Credit card balances can become large in a hurry. Don't forget that a finance charge will be applied to any unpaid balance, and there are often other related fees. It's wise to pay the entire balance each month, or as much as possible. Read the literature that comes with your card - especially the fine print.
Tipping. In general, if you eat at a sit-down restaurant where you are waited on, expect to leave a 15% tip for satisfactory service. For haircuts and taxicabs, a 10% tip is customary. Tips are not included in the bill. Of course, percentages may vary depending on quality of service. Use your judgment.
Health and Health Insurance
Healthcare in Canada is a publicly funded health care system administered by the individual provinces. Alberta's health care system guarantees that Albertans receive universal access to medically necessary hospital and medical services. Coverage is offered through the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. For general information or non-personal questions regarding Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, you may send an email.
Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
Telephone: (780) 427-1432 (Edmonton)
Toll free for the rest of Alberta dial; 310-0000 then (780) 427-1432.
Fax: (780) 422-0102 (Edmonton)
Alberta Health and Wellness
P.O. Box 1360, Station Main
727 - 7 Ave SW, Calgary
Office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday
Mail and Communications
Post Offices. Most post offices are open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Check with your local Canada Postal Service for specific hours of operation. To find the post office serving your Canada address, visit www.canadapost.ca. You can also find information concerning postage rates and services. In general, postage for a one-ounce airmail-letter post is about $0.80 (Canadian dollars).
Email. As a DeVry student, you will be provided with a DeVry email account, which you can access through computers on the DeVry Institute of Technology campus or through the public libraries, which offer online access to library cardholders.
Telephone Cards. Prepaid telephone cards can be purchased at convenience stores and supermarkets. These cards allow you to buy a certain number of minutes in advance for overseas and domestic phone calls.
Cell Phones and Pagers. Cell phones and pagers are a popular means of communications in Canada. To get the best plan, do your research. See cellphones.ca to compare several companies' service plans. Keep in mind that it is now illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving a vehicle in some provinces. Make sure you know the law. Cell phone use is also restricted in some public areas. Watch for signs posting any regulations. And, as always, be courteous of others when talking on the phone in public.
Computers. Each DeVry location has a computer lab available for students. If you would like to buy your own computer, it's best to shop around. And, again, do your research. Many companies offer installment plans. Although this often makes the equipment more readily available, interest rates guarantee it will cost you more in the end. Check with different companies to see what purchasing plans they offer. To learn more about different models, look on the Internet and/or read computer magazines or Consumer Reports (a magazine that rates appliances, electronics, cars, and more; often available at libraries).
As a new student one of your primary concerns will be housing. The DeVry New Student and Career Services Centre (NSCSC) maintains a list of accommodations to aid students in locating suitable housing, with a focus on room with board, room without board and shared accommodation. You can request these listings by calling the NSCSC or your education representative. As a continuing student you will be able to access these listings by visiting the New Student and Career Services Centre at the Calgary campus.
Living Independently. If you are an out-of-town student, a housing list will automatically be sent two months prior to your scheduled start date. DeVry does not view housing; it is your responsibility to view the accommodation prior to renting. Approximate housing costs are as follows:
|Room with Board||$450+|
|Room without board||$335+|
The Homestay Program. In conjunction with Peak Canada, DeVry Institute of Technology offers quality Homestay Services for students who want to experience local culture by living with a local family in a safe and secure environment. The program includes the following:
- Careful selection of families
- Computerized placement of students
- 2-3 meals/day (depending on location)
- Private room
- Laundry facilities
- Access to TV and telephone
- Professional counseling service
- Airport pick-up (for an additional fee)
The homestay process can be initiated by indicating your need in the application form or by emailing email@example.com.