Getting Ready for the big move ?!

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I hope you are all really excited for your big move to Canada! It may be bit nerve-racking to leave family and friends (and weekend hangouts) behind, but we are busy preparing for the start of your program and are excited to get your arrival information.

You are not alone! In 2012, Canadian Immigration and Citizenship issued 100,000 study permits and this trend continues to grow. Every year, thousands of international students begin their new life in Canada and add to the growing globalization of our population.

In the coming weeks, you will arrive here in Manitoba. Here are some tips and essential information on how to prepare for the trip and for your first months in Canada.

  • Packing is not everyone’s forte and it’s definitely not mine for sure. Read the post, Packing for Canada for some smart tips. PS: Don’t forget to bring at least one of your traditional wear. We have a big cultural celebration at PACE in January.
  • Did you know that UWinnipeg International Student Services offers free airport pick-up service? If you have not already booked this service, please be sure to complete the Airport pick up application right away.
  • Health Insurance – You can deal with this in the first week in Winnipeg
  • Buying a new phone – Compare rates and plans before you purchase
  • Banking – Scotia, CIBC, RBC, and TD Canada Trust are popular with the international students. Research before you sign up for the plan and be sure to inquire about student banking fees to get the best service plan. All these banks will a downtown branch, which can be found on this map.
  • RentingUWinnipeg Housing, Kijiji, and Rent Canada are sources with information of rental properties. Please be prepared for a guarantor clause with some rental agencies, which requires that you have someone (a relative or friend) here in the city who will guarantee the financial obligations of your rental agreement. For more information about renter’s rights, please check this document in the Residential Tenancy Branch:http://www.gov.mb.ca/cca/rtb/resource_list/what_mb_t_need_to_know.pdf
  • Temporary stay in the first week – You can check in to Holiday In, Alt Hotel or Delta Hotel in Winnipeg, or find a economical stay at airbnb site.
  • Groceries – A sure-fire way to reduce your living expenses is to avoid eating out whenever possible. Try to cook healthy affordable meals and this should help you cut some expenses. You may hate your own cooking in the beginning, but gradually, this may change as you master some recipes. Who knows, you may even begin to invite your new friends to dinner. Safeway, Superstore, Dino’s East and West Indian Food are some names you can Google for your grocery needs.
  • Electronics – There may be some student deals in August, September. Check out Staples, Best Buy or The Source for laptops, TV, video games and all.
  • Housewares and furniture – Winnipeg has Ikea, Walmart, Jysk and other affordable stores to stock your new apartment with the essentials to make it a home Gently-used housewares, furnishings and electronics can also be found on Kijiji.
  • Exploring Winnipeg – Start collecting memories since the day one. So you can share with your family and friends back home. They are waiting to hear all the fun you have. Since most of you will be here before the end of August, you will have some time to enjoy the city. Make sure to check out these sites for upcoming events in Winnipeg during that time.

We are looking forward to see you soon!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsh.

I look forward to meeting you all!

Mekala Wickramasinghe,

PACE Student Life Coordinator

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