Top 5 Things International Students Should Know

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

Here are a few things you may need to know once you arrive in Kamloops:

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 at 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. 

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 Academic Advisors, located at the Enrolment Services office in the Student Street area of the Old Main building (right across Starbucks). If you are a third or fourth-year student, you can book an appointment with your Program Advisor.

If you want to do it yourself, you can start by searching the required courses for the program you are in. After you have your list of required courses, you can access your myTRU account and under “Course Planning and Registration” you can browse classes, build your tentative schedule and register for classes.

Don’t wait too long to register, as classes fill up fast! So make sure you are aware of your registration dates and deadlines.

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 3 TRU residences available – North Tower, McGill Residence and East Village – as well as a Homestay option.

North Tower

Home to over 570 students, the North Tower is a modern, 11-storey building with some of the best views in the city. Each private bedroom includes a desk, chair, double XL bed, TV and overhead lighting. Floors are co-ed, but individual units are either all female or all male. You can choose either a two- or four-bedroom suite.

You can apply directly through this link.

McGill Residence

McGill Residence has 300 self-contained rooms, divided into 75 units, in three buildings. Each unit shares a kitchenette, a common area, and a washroom. All residents have access to a central building with study and recreation space. Each housing unit is assigned to four males or four female students.

You can apply directly through this link.

East Village

East Village is the newest addition to TRU Housing and is home to almost 300 students. East Village is located in the eastern part of the campus and is a six-minute walk from the Old Main building. Within East Village, students can choose between four-bedroom suites or two-bedroom apartments. Each suite comes with a private bedroom, bathroom, full kitchen and dining area.

You can apply directly through this link.

Homestay

The Homestay Program allows students to live with Canadian families, be exposed to, and participate in Canadian culture and customs. The family provides a private, furnished bedroom and three meals each day, plus snacks to each student. Students can usually expect to travel about 20-45 minutes between their homestay and the TRU campus.

You can learn more about the program and how to apply through this link.

If you are looking for Off-campus accommodation, you can learn more about how to find a rental in Kamloops through this link. You can also find some really good information and tips on renting off-campus through ourTRU’s blogpost “Housing in Kamloops: Tips For Renting Off-Campus“.

Should I carry my passport with me?

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 any driver licensing office, 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.

Can I work as an international student?

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 visit the Career and Experiential Learning Department, located in the Old Main Building at OM 1712, to get help with your resume and/or other career services

You can search for jobs online or deliver your resume in person. Popular websites to search for jobs are Kijiji, Indeed, LinkedIn and others. The CEL Department also provides a helpful job posting links page.

Even though you are allowed to work in Canada as a student, remember that your main focus is your studies – your job shouldn’t interfere!

Are there any student discounts?

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 present your card 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

Many local restaurants will also offer discounts to TRU students. Head to our blog post “10 Restaurants That Offer Discounts to TRU Students” to find out which.

Being an international student is not easy at first, trust me. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows. Just be open to accepting 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. Have fun and welcome to TRU!

If you still need any further help you can visit your International Student Advisors (ISAs), and they can help you with anything related to life in Canada. If you want to talk to a student, you can also reach out to one of our amazing Social Media Ambassadors!