November 2014: York International E-Newsletter

Welcome to York International's November 2014 e-newsletter! Please read through the articles below for important updates and announcements.

Welcome to Our First Ever E-Newsletter for International Students at York University!

York University has a diverse international student population of approximately 8,000 international students from over 100 countries including both undergraduate & graduate students. This e-newsletter aims to support international student transition and promote their engagement and success in and outside of academics.

The e-newsletter will cover:

Things you need to know as International students

There have been many recent changes in government policies pertaining to international students. It is crucial for you as international students to be informed and to comply with government requirements without facing serious consequences. The e-newsletter will provide you with the most up-to-date information to address your questions and concerns in matters of immigration, finances, housing, employment, and social and cultural issues.

Stories of International students

Time to get inspired, engage and lead. Not sure how to get involved on campus? Don’t know where to look for jobs? Read stories of current international students, recent graduates as well as alumni and how these students actively engage in both on-campus and off-campus community and what advice they have for you.

International Programs & Services

York International’s endeavor in helping students gain valuable international experience while enriching student life both on & off-campus, brings together programs & services throughout the year for international students. As an international student, it is important for you to actively engage in a variety of services and programs which will allow you to benefit from opportunities to connect with York International staff and students and at the same time build an international network to enrich your life at York University and in Canada. You will also make life-long connections through leadership and volunteer opportunities that will connect you to like-minded people. Here is a highlight of some international program and services.

  • The International Student Peer Program connects new incoming students with current students, known as a Peer Supporters from upper years. The upper year student offers cultural guidance and information about student life at York University and day-to-day life in Toronto and Canada.
  • York International also hosts a number of transition support workshops such as – What you need to know about University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), Finding Employment in Canada as well as Career Workshops such as Cover Letter & Resume Writing Workshop, Making Degree Choices, etc.
  • We know that students work very hard and it is good to get breaks in between. York International in collaboration with ISX: Canada’s leading international student tour operator organizes trips off-campus and outside Toronto such as trips to Niagara Falls, 3 day trip to Ottawa & Montreal and Toronto Walking Tours. It is a great way to get to know the city you live in and improve your intercultural fluency.

It is never easy to be an international student. York International/We are here to support you. Read our e-newsletter, stay connected with the community and be informed – which is key for your success. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Phone: 416-736-2100 Extension: 55177
Office Location: Suite 200 York Lanes

 

Thank you!

Building Global Friendship & Finding Your Home Away from Home

The International Student Peer Program (ISPP) intends to address some of the unique needs of new international students transitioning to York University and Canada.

You are connected with a student peer even before you arrive in Canada. Student peers are senior-year students who have similar cultural backgrounds and/or study in the same academic program. By sharing their knowledge and personal experience of living and settling in Canada, student peers create a strong sense of community and promote global friendship for you as new international students.

The International Student Peer Program relies on three key elements:

CONNECTION: For you, the key to a successful transition is to build strong connections with the community. Student peers are usually the first personal contact you make, and their friendship and assistance helps to ease the anxiety of being new. These student peers will also connect you to other students, staff, faculty and other individuals off- campus.

SUPPORT: Based on their own experiences, student peers have the unique understanding of the issues you would have as a new international student. There are many different ways student peers could support you. This includes inviting you to international events, workshops and activities, directing you to local ethnic food restaurants and grocery stores, and sharing their academic experiences at York University, etc.

REFERRAL: Coming to Canada, you may experience challenges such as understanding the Canadian academic culture, complying with government immigration requirements, balancing between academic life and healthy living, etc. Student peers are trained to inform and direct you to the right resources including York International, the Counselling department, the Writing Centre as well as government agencies such as CIC or Service Canada offices.

The International Student Peer Program aims to enrich your experience at York University through community building, familiarizing you with York University student life and experiencing Canada. By participating in the ISPP, both you and your student peers will engage in global friendships and build a home away from home at York University.

  • To sign up for International Student Peer Program, please click here.
  • If you have any questions, please e-mail us: intlpeer@yorku.ca.

 

Important Immigration Updates for International Students!

Important federal changes to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) regulations that affect all York University international students who hold Study Permits came into effect on June 1, 2014. The new regulations stipulate that Study Permit holders must actively pursue academic studies in their Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and that DLIs such as York University must provide international compliance reports to Citizenship and Immigration Canada twice a year.

Some of the objectives of these new regulations include the need to reduce the number of non-genuine or poor quality learning institutions to host international students, to monitor bonafide international students in Canada, to explicitly impose Study Permit conditions, and to strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration program. Additionally, the regulations eliminated the Off-Campus Work Permit Program (OCWPP) making it easier for international students to work off-campus.

How do these changes this affect the international student community? International students are responsible for being aware of the new immigration requirements and are required to inform CIC about any changes in their status. They must maintain a minimum 4.0 GPA (undergraduate students) and remain in full-time status. Those students close to graduating should note that a Study Permit becomes invalid 90 days after completion of the academic program. Non-compliant students face serious implications and may be subject to review, investigation and removal from Canada. York University international students are also now required to provide their CIC Client IDs online using online services.

Since these regulation changes are relatively new, there is still some confusion about the how they affect different students with varying situations however CIC is working hard to continue informing the international education community regarding any updates. In turn, York International will continue to pass on those updates, inform and advise international students, faculty and staff in addition to providing training and relevant communication related to the changes. However, international students are still reminded to check the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website often for updates and information:.

Finally, international students are encouraged to direct any immediate questions or doubts to the York International office and to follow the following steps to stay informed and compliant:

 

Stories of International Students

Stefan Ma
Bachelor of Administrative Studies (BAS)- Marketing, 2nd year
Vice President, York Chinese Student Association
Shanghai, China

 

Stefan is an international student from Shanghai, China. Today, we will share some of his experiences as an international student and the pathway he took to get work experiences in his field of passion.

As an economics major in his first year, Stefan networked with people working in that fields & he realized it is not something he would have enjoyed doing for the rest of his life. He was introduced to Marketing by one of his friends’ who gave him insights to the industry and opportunities available. He found his passion in Marketing and is very satisfied with his decision. He went to China in Summer 2014 and took some rigorous professional Web Designing & Online Marketing course to develop his knowledge and skills in Digital Marketing.

This landed him a part-time job at York International after he returned back. He is working as a Web Designer for this e-newsletter and he gets paid. Wouldn’t you want that too? This is why we asked Stefan to share some of his strategies to get hired.

  • He thinks about the future and what he really wants to do in the next 10 years.
  • He is very involved on campus through student clubs. He is currently the Vice President of York Chinese Student’s Association. It helps him to network and build his own international community while making some lifelong friends.
  • Studies are his priority. However, Stefan believes that we all need to learn some professional skills that will help us to develop ourselves and prepare us for the future. We need to get a job based on what kind of career we would like to have after we graduate.