Top 5 Things International Students Should Know


Being an international student can be challenging – doesn’t matter how much research you might do beforehand, there’s always things you can only figure out once you’re settled.

Where should I live? Which documents do I need?

Well, I am here to help. Here are a few things you may need to know once you arrive in Kamloops:

  1. What classes should I take?

It’s always good to have a plan. There are many opportunities that you can take advantage of during your years in University, so make sure you plan your classes accordingly. Whether you want to do a Co-Op or Study Abroad (or both!) for a semester, you will need to plan ahead.

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SoBE Program Advisor, Heather Wisla

There are a few ways you can plan your schedule – you can either do it yourself or get help from your Academic Advisors. If you are a first or second year student, you should meet with the International Student Academic Advisors, located on OM 1155, right in front of Starbucks. If you are a third or fourth year student, you can book an appointment with a Program Advisor

If you want to do it yourself, you can start by searching the requirement courses for the program you are in. After you have your list of required courses, download and print a timetable. Once you have your timetable on hand, it is time to search your courses and the available sections. You can do so by logging into your MyTRU and Look Up Classes under the Student Resources tab.

Look Up Classes (left) and Add or Drop Classes (right), on MyTRU website

Look Up Classes (left) and Add or Drop Classes (right), on MyTRU website

Once your schedule is done, don’t forget to visit the International Admissions’ office, located in the third floor of the International Building, or register online at MyTRU (Add or Drop Classes under Student Resources) for your classes. Don’t wait too long to register, classes fill up fast! So make sure you are aware of your registration dates and deadlines.

  1. Where should I live?

Finding the perfect place to live at first might be more complicated than you think. That’s why living on campus might be the best option for international students, at least for their first semester. Campus rooms are furnished, all you need to bring is your bag and bedding. Superstore is a 5 minute walk from campus, as well as restaurants and other retail stores.

There are two options on campus: the McGill Residence and the TRU Residence.

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McGill Residence (left) and TRU Residence (right)

The McGill Residence, located behind the Gymnasium and the Science Building, has 300 self-contained rooms, each equipped with a kitchenette. There are three types of rooms: Regular, Upgraded and Deluxe. You can check the pricing list here.

thompsonriversuniversity-residencewinter

TRU’s Residence, known as “New Rez”

The TRU Residence, commonly known as New Rez, is a 11-storey building with 570 rooms. Located right behind the Campus Activity Centre, the New Rez has one of the best views of Kamloops. You can choose between One, Two or Four Bedroom Suites. You can check all rates here.

There is also a residence outside campus, the Upper College Heights. UCH is located across the street from the campus, right in front of Superstore. They offer 2 or 3 bedrooms shared apartments, and each include a full-size kitchen. You can check their website for more information.

If your want to rent your own apartment, there are a few options around town. You can search on websites like Kijiji, or you can join Facebook groups like Facebook 4 Rent .

Thompson Rivers University is located in the neighbourhood of Sahali. If you want to live around university, you can search for places in the Sahali area (Lower Sahali or Upper Sahali). If you are willing to commute (either taking the bus or you plan on purchasing a car), Aberdeen and Downtown are around 15-20 minutes from University.

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Kamloops Neighbourhoods

When making arrangements for rentals online, beware of scams! Make sure you view the apartment or meet the landlord  before making any payments.

  1. Should I carry my passport with me?
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BC Identity Card

We always hear people saying that we should carry our passports with us because that is the only government issued ID we have. But carrying your passport might be risky – you wouldn’t want to lose such an important document!

Want a better alternative? Just go get your British Columbia Identification Card or “BC ID.The BC ID is an identification card that proves that you are a resident of British Columbia – it does not count as a driver’s license!

It is super easy to get yours – just go to Service BC, located on 455 Columbia St., get in line, take your picture and wait around 2 weeks and you’ll receive it in the mail. But don’t forget to take both your passport and student permit with you when going there, since they’ll need it in order to issue your BC ID.

  1. Can I work as an International Student?

YAAAS! As an International Student you are able to work part-time (maximum of 20 hours a week) during the school year, and full-time (20 hours +) during scheduled breaks in the academic calendar.

But before applying to a job, you need to go get your Social Insurance Number, or “SIN”. You can go to Service Canada, located on 520 Seymour St., and apply for one. They will give you your SIN right away, no need to wait. Make sure to take your passport and your study permit with you!

After getting your SIN, you can start applying for jobs! You can go to the Career Education Department, located in the Old Main Building at OM 1712, to get some help with your resume.

You can search for jobs online or deliver your resume in person. Popular websites to search for jobs are Kijiji, Indeed, LinkedIn and TRU’s career portal, Simplicity.

  1. Are there any student discounts?
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SPC Card (top) and ISIC Card (bottom)

Get on this bandwagon! There are numerous ways to score student discounts in stores. You can start by getting a Student Price Card, or SPC Card. From Aldo to Burger King, you can score some pretty nice deals with the card – you can check the store list here. Whenever you see the SPC sign, just ask for the discount and they’ll give you! You can get a card at the TRU Bookies, located at the Campus Activity Centre, and then register it here.

You can also apply for an ISIC Card! International Student Identity Card, is a student discount card that works not only in Canada, but around the world – you can get discounts on bus tickets, clothes, furniture and more. You can apply for an ISIC here.

 

Being an international student is not easy at first, trust me. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows. Just be open to accept  all the new experiences and new people along the way. Have fun with it – go to events and get involved on campus, talk to people and network. And last but not least, welcome to TRU!

If you still need any further help you can visit your International Student Advisor (or ISA), located on the 3rd floor of IB and they can help you with anything related to life in Canada. You can also email me at carolina@ourtru.ca if you have any other questions!

Do you have any tips for new upcoming international students? Comment down below and share this post with your friends to be entered to win some awesome TRU swag!

 

 



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