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International Student Services

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International Students • Welcome to Canada

Welcome to Ambrose University! We are excited to have you at Ambrose. Our International Student Services team is here to support you in your transition to Ambrose University and to Canada.

You are visiting this page because of the following reasons:

  • you do not have "permanent resident" status
  • have had to obtain the authorization of the Canadian government to enter Canada with the intention of pursuing an education with a study permit

E: maria.espitia-osorio@ambrose.edu

Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I need to take a leave from my studies?  

If you need to take a leave from your studies, you must contact International Student Services at international@ambrose.edu immediately. A study leave may affect your eligibility to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) after finishing your program. You will also no longer be able to work using your study permit.

Accompanying spouse and children

In order for your spouse or children to come to Canada with you, they will need a valid passport and a valid entrance document should they require one. They can apply for their entrance document at the same time as you apply for your study permit.

Can My Spouse Work In Canada?

Your spouse does not need to be a student in order to work in Canada as long as they apply for an Open Work Permit. They will need to indicate that they are the spouse of a full-time student in Canada.

Can My Kids Go To School In Canada?

Your children can attend school depending on their academic level and whether they are already in Canada. They may require a study permit. To find out more about enrolling your children in school, contact the Calgary Board of Education.

Does Ambrose University provide student housing?

Ambrose University has two residence buildings across the main campus. We offer different room options for our undergraduate students and there are senior pods dedicated to Seminary students. You can submit your residence application at Residence Application | Ambrose University.

At the moment we do not offer family style residence.

Where can I find off-campus housing?

There are a couple of options you can explore to find a place to stay during your studies.

  1. You can have a look at our Housing Board, where landlords publicly advertise their properties that may appeal to Ambrose students. Typically, there are more posting towards the beginning of the semester.
  2. You can also use one of the many available rental services in Calgary such as

Once you find a place, please request for a copy of your contract as proof of living arrangements.

What is the difference between Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) and Ambrose Health and Dental Plan?

The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) provides eligible Alberta residents with full coverage for medically necessary physician services. This includes hospital visits and stays, medical services offered by physicians and partial coverage of other services. Please visit Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan to learn more about services covered by AHCIP.

Ambrose Health and Dental Plan is an insurance plan that helps manage any medical expenses not cover under AHCIP. It includes medication, dental, vision, travel and accident coverage, and extended health such as psychologist, social worker, chiropractor and more. Please visit StudentVIP.ca to learn more about your coverage.

How do I know if I am eligible for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)?

If you are an international student, you are eligible if:

  • You hold a valid study permit
  • Intent to live in Alberta for 12 months or more

Note: Students under 18 years of age must be added to the AHCIP account of a custodian.

To apply for AHCIP please visit Alberta.ca. You will also need to provide supporting documents that prove:

  • Alberta residency (i.e. your residence contract)
  • Identity (i.e. passport)
  • Legal entitlement to be in Canada (i.e. study permit)

How do I sign up for Ambrose Health and Dental Plan?

All international students are automatically enrolled in the Health and Dental Plan.

Access your benefits card by creating an account with StudentVIP at  Ambrose - Benefits Card. You can also learn about your coverage on the StudentVIP website: StudentVIP - Your Coverage.

Can my family be included on my Ambrose Health and Dental Plan?

Students may enroll their spouse and/or dependent children onto their benefits for an additional fee during the opt-in period in which they begin their studies. Find the opt-in period at Opting In deadlines.

Can I work while I am a student?

If you’re able to work during your studies, it’ll say so in the conditions on your study permit. If your study permit states that you are allowed to work you must:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Wait until the start of your study program. You can’t work before your studies begin.
  • Remain a full-time student during the fall and winter semesters
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If your study permit does not have work conditions, you can ask to have these conditions added by requesting an amendment to your study permit.

Always refer back to the Government of Canada regulations in regards to working as an international student for any clarifications.

How many hours can I work off campus?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented a temporary change to the number of hours that international students can work off-campus. From November 15, 2022, until December 31, 2023, international students who are in Canada and who have off-campus work authorization on their study permit will not be restricted by the 20-hour-per-week rule. This means international students are no longer limited to only working 20 hours a week. However, international students must remain full-time students and continue to meet any conditions on their study permit.

Refer back to the official announcement on the temporary change on International students to help address Canada’s labour shortage - Canada.ca

Working conditions might change once again after December 31, 2023. Always refer back to the Government of Canada regulations in regards to working off campus as an international student.

How many hours can I work on campus?

You can work as many hours as you want, in addition to working off campus, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for working on campus.

An “on-campus” employer can be:

  • the school
  • a faculty member
  • a student organization
  • a private contractor that provides on-campus services to the school

Where can I look for a job?

Some available options include:

Recruitment is usually done one semester in advance. So make sure you are applying ahead of time!

How can I apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

A Social Insurance Number is needed to receive an income in Canada. A SIN also makes you eligible to receive benefits and services from government programs. You can apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) either online or in person. For more information on how to apply for a SIN number please visit Social Insurance Number. You will need to provide supporting documents that prove:

  • Alberta residency (i.e. your residence contract)
  • Identity (i.e. passport)
  • Legal entitlement to be in Canada (i.e. study permit)

If you do decide to apply in person, please have all of your supporting documents with you. We recommend scheduling an appointment as line-ups can be long.

Am I required to file taxes?

As stated by the government of Canada, if you are an international student in Canada with residential ties, you must file income taxes. Residential ties include but are not limited to:

  • a home in Canada (i.e. own a home or have a rent agreement)
  • a spouse or common-law partner or dependants who move to Canada to live with you
  • a Canadian driver's licence
  • Canadian bank accounts or credit cards
  • Health insurance with a Canadian province or territory

Refer to our tax blog for webinar on how to file your taxes, free tax clinics and pay services.

Does Calgary has a public transit system? How much does it cost?

Calgary Transit is a public transportation provider in Calgary which operates Bus routes, light rail transit (the CTrain), and door-to-door transportation service for Calgarians with disabilities - Calgary Transit Access.

Calgary transit has many available options for ticket purchase. You can buy individual tickets, a booklet of 10 tickets, or a monthly pass. There are also different fares for youth and adults. Please refer to the Fares & Passes - Calgary Transit to learn about ticket pricing. You can also use the “My Fare” app to buy tickets and passes at anytime from anywhere; you can download the app at My Fare App.

Low Income Monthly Pass

If you need assistance with the monthly payment of a bus pass, Calgary Transit offers the Low Income Pass. This pass is designed to assist low-income individuals by reducing the price of the monthly pass based on your annual income. To access a low-income pass, you can either

  1. Use your last year's income tax summary to prove low income, or
  2. Request a letter from a social worker

The Ambrose Health and Dental Plan does cover social worker’s appointments. If you need more information about how the low-income pass works, please visit Low Income Monthly Pass or email international@ambrose.edu.

Will anyone meet me at the airport upon my arrival?

If you require assistance upon your arrival in Calgary and would want someone to meet you at the airport, please send an email to international@ambrose.edu with your request. Accommodations will be arranged based on your arrival time and date.

NOTE: You must submit your request at least two weeks before your arrival date.

Where should I go if I have difficulty with one of my courses?

Ambrose University offers free tutoring for all academic courses during the fall and winter semesters. You can stop by Student Life on the second floor or visit Student Academic Success to book a one-on-one tutoring session.

How do I get a letter stating that I am a student at Ambrose University?

If you need a letter from the university stating that you are a current student and registered for the semester, you must submit an information release form requesting a confirmation of enrollment letter. The form will be sent to our registrar office, who will provide the letter.

You must have no outstanding fees in order to request any official documentation from the registrar's office.

Are there activities for international students?

International students are welcome to participate in any activities organize by the university. We highly encourage international students to attend different events as it provides a great opportunity to get involved and meet people.

Additionally, Glocal Club is an international student-led club that focuses on providing unique opportunities for international students to explore Calgary and meet other international students.

Whom do I talk to if I feel anxious and depressed?

Ambrose University has a team that focuses on the well-being of our students. You can connect with one of our counsellors available throughout the week or reach out to our wellness coordinator at wellness@ambrose.edu. Do not forget to check out the Wellness page for more information and resources.

Can I get some help settling into life in Canada?

Resources are offered by numerous nonprofit groups to aid newcomers. To find out more about their services and how to access them, get in touch with them directly.

Centre for Newcomers (CFN)
Immigrant Service Calgary (ISC)
Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES)
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA)

Additional Resources

The Calgary Food Bank – If you are in need of food support, you can reach out to the food bank to schedule a food hamper.

Volunteer Connector – If you want to find meaningful opportunities to gain experience, volunteer connector is a great place to look for volunteering opportunities that align with your interests and area of studies.

Getting started in Calgary – The newcomers' guide to Calgary, which is available in several languages, gives important information to new residents.

Once You're Admitted & Before You Arrive (Pre-Arrival)

  • Apply for a Study Permit
  • Make Travel Arrangements
  • Arrange for Housing

See the Scholarships and Bursaries available


What you Need to Know about Immigration Requirements

Study Permits

A study permit gives you the legal right to study legally in Canada while a student visa allows you into Canada.

Who Needs It?

Anyone who has been admitted to Ambrose University for a designated program of study that is longer than 6 months in length.

Benefits

  • You may be eligible to work on-campus
  • If you want to extend your stay in Canada, you can apply for an extension of your Study Permit from within Canada.

How much does it cost?

Other Links

What conditions apply as a student permit holder in Canada?

Government of Canada Permit Conditions

Can I work in Canada?

  • Yes you can! International student work programs require you to be a full-time student with a valid study permit. If you are not enrolled full-time or you do not have a valid study permit, you may not be eligible to work in Canada.
  • You are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week while your program is in session, and full-time during scheduled breaks in the academic calendar.

Accompanying Spouse and Children

In order for your spouse or children to come to Canada with you, they will need a valid passport and a valid entrance document should they require one. They can apply for their entrance document at the same time as you apply for your study permit.

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a requirement for all visa-exempt foreign nationals entering Canada by air. The eTA is issued by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Can my spouse work in Canada?

Your spouse does not need to be a student in order to work in Canada as long as they apply for an Open Work Permit. They will need to indicate that they are the spouse of a full-time student in Canada.

How to get a work permit for your spouse

Can my kids go to school in Canada?

Your children can attend school depending on their level of study and whether or not they are already inside of Canada. They may require a Study Permit.

Calgary Board of Education

Getting a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

A Social Insurance Number is needed to receive an income in Canada. A SIN also makes you eligible to receive benefits and services from government programs (such as Tax Rebates). You are required by law to provide your SIN to your employer within three working days after your employment begins.

Where to get your SIN

Service Canada Office

Renewing your Study Permit

The expiry date on your study permit tells when you have to stop studying and you cannot work or study until you get a new permit.
This date could be the length of your:

  • Program, plus 90 extra days
  • Pre-requisite courses plus 90 extra days (if you were conditionally accepted by your school) or
  • Passport minus 30 days, if your passport will expire before you can finish your studies.

How to renew/extend your study permit

Test of English as a Foreign Language

Ambrose University’s Requirements for TOEFL
  • A minimum score of 560 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test, or a minimum score of 83 on the internet-based TOEFL* test; OR
  • A minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS Academic test. More information on IELTS
  • TOEFL institution code for Ambrose is 8915
  • Note: The requirements may be waived at the discretion of the University in cases where a student has attended an equivalent institution in North America, or can demonstrate English proficiency by other means.

More information about TOEFL


Upon Arrival to Ambrose

Banking

Now that you are temporary resident in Canada, it is advised that you open a Canadian Bank Account. In light of this, there are certain documents that you will need to present to the bank employee(s) before you are allowed to open an account:

  • A valid Study Permit or Visa
  • A Passport
  • A deposit of a required amount of money (Contact the bank of your choice before going in to setup an account to verify the amount of money that needs to be deposited)
  • Ambrose Student Identification Card (most banks offer student rates and fees, therefore it is advised to carry along your Student ID with you)

Nearby Banking Options

  • TD Canada Trust
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Scotia Bank
  • Bank of Montreal
  • CIBC: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • HSBC Canada

Budget Planning

 

Cellphone

  • You will need a cellphone when you arrive
  • You can purchase either a prepaid or a monthly cellphone plan in Canada, which will include voice calls, text messages and mobile data.

Health Care for International Students

  • Every newcomer should register within three months for health care. The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan issues a personal health card for each family member covered under the plan.
  • If you will be in Calgary for longer than 12 months, you may register for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
  • As an Ambrose student you have Student Health Coverage
    • Even though you are automatically put on the Ambrose Student Health Plan, you might need another for your family (Alberta Health).

Helpful Resources for Settling in Canada

Immigrant serving agencies (non-profit organizations)