Planning Your Journey

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to find accommodation – most landlords will look for someone to move in on the first of the month, so keep that in mind when planning. For more information about finding a place to live, including where to find temporary accommodation upon arrival (if needed), see our Accommodation section.

We recommend arriving at least a week or two before the start of classes. This will give you time to get settled and become familiar with your new home before New Student Orientation and the start of classes.

You’ll have a lot to do, such as become familiar with campus, get your student ID card, apply for your Social Insurance Number, and open a bank account.

When planning your arrival please refer to the Academic Schedule section of the Academic Calendar to learn about important dates and deadlines including holidays, last days for registration or cancellation of courses, New Student Orientation and your first day of classes. 

When planning your arrival for the Spring term, please note that all University offices and services, including the International Centre, will be closed between December 25 and January 2 or 3. Most businesses are closed on December 25, so plan your arrival accordingly.

New Student Orientation

All new students should attend New Student Orientation (NSO). It is the best way to start your studies. At NSO, you'll learn what is expected of you as a uLethbridge student, meet with faculty and staff, become familiar with campus resources and, of course, meet other students new to uLethbridge!

New Student Orientation is free to attend!

For Calgary Campus, the New Student Orientation dates may be different from those in the Academic Calendar.  Watch your uLethbridge email for an invitation to Calgary Campus NSO!

Do not pack your important documents in your checked luggage. Keep them with you, or in your carry-on luggage. You will need to show them to the border services officer when you arrive in Canada before you collect your checked luggage.

Keep the following documents with you:

  • Your passport
  • The Letter of Introduction provided to you by the visa office that approved your study permit
  • A valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) (if applicable)
  • A copy of your Letter of Acceptance from the University of Lethbridge
  • Proof of financial support (e.g.: bank draft, financial statements, letter of credit, or other proof)
  • Any other valuable documents, or cash

For further information, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) explains what to expect when you arrive in Canada.

Are you worried you’ll forget to bring something? Here is a list of essentials to help you:

  • Clothes
  • Winter jacket
  • Winter boots, gloves, and hat
  • Sweaters and other warm clothing
  • Light jacket
  • Towels
  • Bed sheets and pillow covers
  • Alarm clock
  • Backpack
  • Camera/Cellphone/Tablet/Laptop
  • Medicine and prescriptions
  • English dictionary
  • Contact list
  • Traditional clothing from your country
  • Traditional music or instrument that you play
  • Items from your country that can be used in displays and presentations
  • Your country flag

You can read more about what you are allowed to bring to Canada, and what to expect when you arrive.

Weather & Clothing

Lethbridge has a varied climate. The summers are warm and dry with temperatures reaching highs of over 30°C and the winters reaching temperatures well below 0°C (sometimes as low as -30°C). Our wide range of temperatures and weather conditions can make packing a challenge. Be sure to bring warm clothing or be prepared to purchase some for the months of November through April. You will need a warm winter jacket, boots, gloves, a hat, sweaters, and other warm clothing. A light jacket with a hood is recommended for fall (September - November) and spring months (April - June). In general, people dress casually in Lethbridge. Jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and a good pair of walking shoes tend to be the clothing items of choice for most uLethbridge students. In addition, you may wish to bring some formal clothing for special occasions. If you have traditional clothing or accessories you would like to wear on special events for international students, bringing it would be great.

If you're arriving for the Fall term, you may not need to bring winter items with you, as you'll have some time to purchase them once you arrive. If you're starting your studies in the Spring term (January), we suggest coming prepared for winter.

If you are from a country with a warmer climate and clothing appropriate for cold weather is not readily available to you, you may wish to purchase your winter clothing when you arrive. Additionally, the International Centre organizes a winter coat exchange program for students. You can check with us to see what items are available when you arrive.

Electrical

If you are bringing any electrical equipment, it should be compatible with Canadian voltage which is 110 volts, 60Hz. It is also possible to purchase adapters for electrical outlets.

Luggage

Also keep in mind that airlines will limit the weight of luggage that you may bring with you on your flight and overweight baggage fees may apply. You should plan ahead and check with your airline for baggage allowance, and pack accordingly. You may wish to consider shipping non-essential belongings to Canada, or purchasing them when you arrive.

We recommend that you do not carry a lot of cash with you when you travel. Most stores, restaurants, and hotels accept major credit cards (VISA and MasterCard). You should bring enough money to cover your expenses during your first month of study: temporary accommodation, restaurant meals, textbooks and supplies, rental deposits, and utility hook-up fees.

Alternatively, you may bring a bank draft with you, and then deposit it in the bank of your choice when you arrive in Canada. Note that it might take between ten to thirty days for your bank draft to be processed.

You are encouraged to send money to your university student account using Global Pay (Western Union) once you have received approval of your study permit. You can find out about payment options here.

If you enter Canada with $10,000 CAD or more (in any form - cash, cheques, bank drafts, traveller's cheques), you must declare it to the Border Services Officer upon arrival.

​You may wish to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect you from lost or stolen baggage, or unexpected trip cancellation due to severe weather or illness.

Students who are 18 or older that enter Canada on a study permit that is 12 months or longer in length will be eligible to apply for Alberta Health Care (AHC). It may be a few days before you are able to apply for AHC and then several weeks before all coverage is in effect.  The supplemental coverage of the ULSU Health & Dental plan, which covers incidentals such as prescription medications, ambulance rides, dental care, etc., only comes into effect on the first day of classes.  We encourage you to consider purchasing travel health insurance to cover any health care costs incurred between your arrival in Canada and the start of classes. Learn more about Alberta Health Care and the ULSU Health & Dental plan here.

Be sure to carry a change of clothes, any medication, your toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, documents and all other important items in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is delayed.

At the Canadian port of entry, you will be required to show the border services officer your Letter of Introduction, along with any other relevant documents. When the officer issues your study permit, ensure your name is spelled correctly and that your biographical details (birth date, country of citizenship, etc.) are accurate. Check the expiry date on your study permit.

If you hope to work while you are a student, either on or off-campus, tell the border services officer. Ensure that one of the following statements is listed on your study permit before leaving the immigration area of the airport:

  • May work 20 hrs off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR
  • May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria
  • May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies (for English for Academic Purposes program students or exchange students)

One of these statements must be present on your study permit to apply for a Social Insurance Number, which is required to work in Canada.

If there is anything you don’t understand, make sure you ask the border services officer to explain it to you.

Booking Flights

The Calgary International Airport is the closest international airport to Lethbridge. Book your international flight to the Calgary International Airport (YYC) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You will have to go through customs in whichever city you first arrive in Canada, so leave plenty of time for your connection.

If you will be attending the Main Campus, you may wish to book your flight all the way through to Lethbridge Airport (YQL).

Getting to Lethbridge

BY PLANE It is possible to fly to Lethbridge from Calgary. The Lethbridge Airport code is YQL. There are two airlines that fly from Calgary to Lethbridge: Air Canada and West Jet. The flight takes about 40 minutes. The Lethbridge Airport is located just outside the city, and is 13km from the University of Lethbridge Main campus.

BY BUS Red Arrow is a bus (coach) company that picks up at several locations in Calgary, including the Calgary Airport (YYC). It drops off at two locations in Lethbridge: the Sandman Hotel and the University of Lethbridge Campus. The trip by bus takes closer to 3 hours. It's a good idea to look at the bus schedule when you are booking your flights, and to reserve your ticket in advance.

Getting to Campus

There is no public transportation connecting the Lethbridge Airport to the city. You will need to arrange transportation to the campus or to your accommodations.

TAXI At the airport, there is a phone that has a direct line to a taxi service right in the airport. There may also be a taxi available just outside the airport.

Here are the names of a few taxi companies in Lethbridge that offer student discounts. Please let the driver know you are a student at the University of Lethbridge. The approximate cost from the Lethbridge Airport to the University of Lethbridge is $35.

Fifth Avenue Cabs: 403-381-1111

Royal Taxi: 403-328-5333

A Plus Taxi Ltd: 403-317-7777

Black Diamond Taxi Ltd: 403-381-4444

UBER The ride-sharing app is available in Lethbridge. You may be able to to use this service to get from the Lethbridge Airport to your final destination. There is free WIFI at the Lethbridge Airport.