Employment Tips 101 for International Students

Three years ago, I came to the University of Toronto as an eager, wide-eyed international student from London, England. At the time, my main interest was, like the timeless Eddie Murphy says, to “party all the time,” and study afterwards if I could pencil it into my extremely “productive” schedule. Though my priorities have significantly changed (for the better, might I add), one thing that I did not think through was the process of getting a job, especially being an international student in the country on a study permit.

According to Canadian international student visas, you may not work in Canada unless it is for the University in which you are studying. Not to be gloomy, but if you break this rule, you risk losing your study permit (which means your spot at UofT), and even deportation from the country. Yes, it is possible to apply for an off-campus work permit as an international student; however, coming into your first year of university, adjusting to higher level course work and living on your own, let alone in a new city and country, this might be a low priority on your list.

So, how do you find a job on campus, even just to earn a wee bit of pocket money? Like previous blogs have mentioned, you can visit the UofT career center website for just this purpose at http://www.careers.utoronto.ca/. Once you have registered/logged in using your UTOR ID, you can filter your job search by just looking for on-campus jobs. The site is clear, easy to use, and most of all, very helpful.

Although the prospect of working on campus might pale in comparison to working for an external company, UofT jobs have their benefits. They’re convenient, pay well (often significantly above minimum wage), and are a good way to network with other students who are in a similar position to you. On-campus occupations range from calling alumni at the fundraising call-center, to working in the ticket box-office at Hart House, even to manning the front desk at your very own Woodsworth College Residence. None of these positions may be relevant to your desired future profession, but any work experience will provide you with knowledge for later, more serious jobs, and will look nice on your resume.

For more information on employment for international students in Canada, visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work.asp. Happy job hunting! In the mean time: get psyched for UofT’s BEST frosh week! Whoop whoop!

-Rhys

Welcome to Toronto!

Something that I found very  interesting about U of T is that its students literally come from EVERYWHERE. In the first week of school alone, I met friends from Pakistan, Korea, England, Japan, the United States…the list goes on and on! But whether or not you’re coming to U of T from the other side of the world, or even the other side of the city, being downtown can be a huge change.

I’m going to give you some tips on getting around the city, as well as the top places and tourist destinations that you should definitely visit when you first come to Toronto!

Transportation:

WALK
Everything is right here! Your classes, the grocery store, the gym, Starbucks…most places are all under a 15 minute walk away!

TTC
If your destination is too far to walk (or that’s just not an option for you…) a metro pass can be purchased at the UTSU office in Hart House circle, with a student discount of $106 – or $3 per ride at the station. This includes the subway, streetcar and bus.
http://utsu.ca/section/1078

Places to see:

CN Tower
This one’s obvious! It can be a bit pricy but it’s totally worth it! Check out the glass floor for a cheaper alternative to having dinner up there – or, just look at the tower from any of the Woodsworth residence common room windows! Just kidding….kinda…
http://www.cntower.ca/en-CA/Plan-Your-Visit/Rates/Rates.html

The Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM is located right down the street from Woodsworth college on Bloor St. And, it’s free on Tuesdays for students! Definitely use this to your advantage!
http://www.rom.on.ca/en/visit-us/accessibility/community-access-network

Eaton Centre
A great tourist attraction for shopping! It can get a bit busy at times (cough* holidays*cough) so if you’re not a fan of big crowds, try shopping down Bloor St. (it can get a bit pricy…) or down Queen St. West for some cool and unique finds!
http://www.torontoeatoncentre.com/en/Pages/default.aspx

Harbourfront
Great for skating in the winter and catching some rays during the summer months! There is ALWAYS something fun going on! http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/

Of course these are only a few (and the most well known) things to do around town! Check out the city of Toronto website for an updated list of upcoming events, as well as some cool places to see.

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=3ea2ba2ae8b1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Also, if you’re new to the city, take advantage of campus events (including those of WCSA and the residence). You will most likely get a discounted price AND meet some great Woodsworth people at the same time!

-Sydney

 

 

Getting Ready for U of T: Picking Your Courses (Pt. 1)

If there is one thing you should do, it is make your schedule BEFORE enrollment day. There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out your courses when classes are filling up by the second. Actually, “Call Me Maybe” is worse. But second to that, deciding which courses you’re going to take at the last minute is terrible.

When you’re deciding which courses to take, you should ask yourself:

1. Which courses will I enjoy?

2. Which courses do I need?

3. What am I doing here?

1. Which courses will I enjoy?

Open the Calendar right now. On the main page you will see a giant index of program departments. Flip to the areas you’re interested in and start looking through the different courses and reading their descriptions. Is this something you think you’d like? For help on understanding course descriptions, see the appropriate section of the Calendar.

Another way to find out which classes you’d enjoy is to read reviews of the class/professor in the Anti-Calendar, a collection of student feedback about their classes and professors. Check out the Anti-Calendar to see how other students felt about the class.

BEWARE: Double check that the professor that was reviewed is the same professor teaching this year’s class.

2. Which courses do I need?

Many students use first-year to figure out what program they’d like to study. On the other hand, many students try to take as many of their required courses in first year. You may want to consider taking the courses you’ll need to graduate earlier on so that you don’t have to do them later

There are two types of requirements you’ll need to fulfill in order to graduate: Degree Requirements and Program Requirements.

Degree Requirements are something that every Arts and Science/ Commerce student needs to complete, regardless of your program. In the Calendar there is a table outlining these requirements.

Program Requirements are the requirements specific to your program of study. For example, if you’re planning to major in Human Biology later on, you will need to take BIO120 and BIO130, and CHM138 and CHM139 (or CHM151). Program Requirements are listed at the beginning of each department section, before the course descriptions. This all depends, though, on what you’re doing here…

3. What am I doing here?

In first-year, you’re in this weird in-between place where you are kind of in a program but kind of not. Right now you might be in “Humanities”,  or “Social Science,” for example, but at the end of first-year you will need to decide what specific program(s) you would like to be in. Do you want to major in Philosophy? Minor in Criminology and Psychology? Specialize in English?

Many students know what program(s) they’d like to study when they get here. Many don’t.

Many students end up studying what they had planned to. MANY students change their minds in second-year, and again in third-year, and again halfway through third-year, and so on. (Sorry to crush your dreams)

The point is this:

If you know what you want to be when you grow up, that is great! Start thinking about the courses that will help you get there!

If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, that is totally cool. Really! Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you have to have it all figured out right now and that your life will fall apart if you don’t. Use your first-year to figure out what you want, or what you’re good at, or where your interests are.  Just make sure you work hard (have fun too) so that you have more options later

Summary

- Dance like no one is watching.

- Read the Calendar and the Timetable.

- Start thinking about the classes you should take.

Woodsworth College Registrar’s Office

Now that you’re a university student, you’re expected to be an independent person and part of that means that you ask for help and advice when you need it. If you do need any help managing your studies or advice regarding course and program selection, policies and regulations, financial issues, or short-term and long-term goals, then you should book an appointment with one of the academic advisors. They also provide help and guidance with any personal issues that may affect your studies.

The advisors in the Registrar’s Office at Woodsworth College provide you with one-on-one academic advising to help you plan your education and career goals as well as help you navigate the University of Toronto.

For general questions, you can send an email (be sure to use your @mail.utoronto.ca email address, otherwise your email wont be read) to wdwregistrar@utoronto.ca. They usually reply within one business day!

If you prefer in person interaction more, the Registrar’s office has drop in hours every Tuesday (10-12pm, 2-4pm) and Thursday (2-4pm). If these times don’t work for you, you can always book an appointment by contacting them at 416-978-4444.

If you’re unsure about whether or not the Registrar’s office will be able to provide you with the help you need, do not hesitate to contact them and ask. Even if they can’t help you directly, they will surely be able to direct you to the person or office that can!

Living Off-Campus: A Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home

Are you planning on living off-campus next year?

First, don’t worry if you haven’t began your search yet- the majority of places available for September come out on July 1, so keep that date in mind, it’s quickly approaching.

Searching for a place to live off-campus can be intimidating, but don’t worry; there are plenty of people who are willing to help you. The Housing Centre, for instance, is an excellent resource- they provided me with all the information that I am now giving you.

First of all, the following are some documents that the Housing Centre suggests you have on hand to show landlords:

1)      A statement from the bank stating that you are in good monetary standing

2)      Your letter of admission to UofT (To show long-term commitment)

3)      Personal Reference Letter (To show you’re potential as a good tenant)

4)      Credit Report

  1. Visit equinox.ca or Transunion.ca and request one free print copy of your credit report – allowing landlords to view your credit score online lowers it!

Now, for the actual search! Start your search off early, and frequently check housing listings- new ones are posted every day. Some examples of housing sites you can visit are: The UofT Housing Centre, kijiji.ca, craigslist.ca, viewit.ca, and many more.

Have a checklist of the things you would like to have in your new house/apartment- this will help narrow down your search a lot. You should also do a quick search of the landlord to ensure that they are who they say they are, and if possible, contact current/past residents of theirs to get their opinion on the landlord. The next step would be to actually call your landlord- the Housing Centre has a list of tips for you to follow about how to successfully call a landlord.

The next step is to visit your place of choice. The Housing Centre also has a couple of “Inspection Checklists“ that will help you determine if this indeed is the place you want to live. This includes things such as assessing the quality of the household, the safety of the neighbourhood, etc.

Landlords may try to get you to place a deposit upon first visit- don’t feel pressured, take time to think about it. However, to prepare for when you do find the place you love, make sure to have the above-mentioned documents and a cheque book on hand.

Another important point is that the price being offered is never definite- there is always wiggle-room, whether it be decreasing the rent, or including utilities within the rent, feel free to get creative- most landlords are willing to negotiate.

Upon signing the lease- make sure you read everything carefully. This will include the terms of your living agreement, including the price and length of your lease. A common lease length is 12 months, but you can always try to negotiate for 8 months, or monthly, etc. The Housing Centre also has a sample lease that you can use for reference.

All the checklists mentioned above can be found through this link:

http://www.housing.utoronto.ca/Resources.htm

There are also a few videos summarizing what I just told you that can be found here:

http://www.housing.utoronto.ca/rentalHousing.htm

Of course, the employees at the Housing Centre are also free to respond to your questions by email, or in person. They also host information sessions concentrating on various aspects of off-campus living. For more information, visit their website:

http://www.housing.utoronto.ca/

I hope this all helped and good luck to you on your search!

 

What’s WOLF all about, anyways?

Hello class of 2017!

My name is Alison, and it was in my first year at U of T that Woodsworth Orientation for Life after Frosh (WOLF) was launched. Now, I’m going into my third year and am truly honoured to be co-coordinator of WOLF 2013 alongside Rachel Lanning, our planning committee, and the entire frosh team. Since Rachel and I served on the 2012 planning committee, WOLF has become our summer passion and I’m very excited to tell you all about our plans for this coming fall.

So, what is WOLF? And why should you attend?

WOLF is a series of interactive and engaging workshops and events within Woodsworth Frosh Week, aimed at preparing you for university life under the following themes: Academics, Health & Wellness, Getting Involved and Touring Campus. WOLF programming is taking place on Thursday September 5th and Saturday September 7th during frosh week.

Along with the workshops that our planning committee is putting together for you, we’ll also provide you with meals, chances to win prizes, a welcome package with a first year survival guide, and more!

WOLF covers an extensive range of topics including studying & note taking, beginners fitness classes, and opportunities to learn about and join student groups. WOLF is meant prepare incoming students on as many aspects of university life as possible. With over 30 sessions being planned, including 7 tours and a clubs & opportunities fair, here’s a taste of the workshops we’ll be offering:

  • Newcomers to Toronto
  • Commuting 101
  • How to Write an A+ Paper
  • Frosh Fitness: Zumba/Yoga/Taekwon do
  • Money 101
  • Woodsworth Community and You
  • Much, much more!

This year, WOLF also looks forward to accommodating more mature, part-time, international, and commuter students. Our college community is a vast and diverse one, and our WOLF events are designed to make all incoming students feel confident and prepared in their new environment at U of T.

If you have any questions about WOLF, Rachel and I would love to hear from you! Give us a shout at wolf@woodsworthfrosh.com at any point throughout the summer. We look forward to meeting you all this September!

Getting Ready for U of T: First Year Course Basics

When I first came to U of T, the first thing I had to adjust to was making my own schedule. In high school, I ranked the courses I wanted and then the school made my schedule for me. Not here! At U of T, like most universities, students find out what courses are offered and when, and then you sign up for your classes/courses online.

The Basics

Today, we’ll go over the course selection basics. Throughout the summer, I will tell you much, much more.

Choosing Your Courses:

Before we get to that, GO THROUGH YOUR COURSE CALENDAR!

Students are given a Course Calendar and a Course Timetable. The Calendar includes information about degree requirements (what you need to graduate), school policies (no cheating!), and anything to do with administrative and course business. The calendar also provides a description for every course at U of T.

The Calendar and the Timetable are available ONLINE ONLY. They will not be mailed to you and there are no hard copies.

Calendar: http://www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/calendar/

Timetable: http://www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/timetable/winter/sponsors.htm

BEWARE: Some courses in the Calendar are not offered every year—check the Timetable! The Timetable tells you what courses are offered and at what time.

Enrolling in Your Courses:

Let’s (en)roll!

Using your Calendar and your Timetable, you can choose which courses you’d like and find out if/when they are offered. At your designated course enrolment time, you can sign up for courses online at www.rosi.utoronto.ca

ROSI???

ROSI (the Repository of Student Information) is the website that keeps track of your student information, like what classes you’re taking or have taken, how much money you owe, and your contact information.

ROSI Tips

  • Make sure you have your student number handy—you need it to log in!
  • Make sure that your contact information is right and it includes your U OF T EMAIL. Otherwise, you will not receive emails from the University or be connected to Portal (the website your professors use to share your course information).

Basics of the Basics

  1.      Go through the Course Calendar and Timetable.
  2.      Choose your courses.
  3.      Plan your schedule.
  4.      Setup your ROSI account at the ROSI website.
  5.      Enroll in your courses.
  6.     Go to university.

A Welcome From Your 2013 Orientation Coordinators

Gen-John

John & Gen @ frosh ’11 – the year of the awkward moustache.

HOLLA! (you’ll be hearing a lot of this during orientation)

We are extremely pleased to welcome each and everyone of you, all 1000+ of you, to our Woodsworth family which we call the Wolfpack. The two of us, Genevieve & Johnathan, are seasoned vets here at Woodsworth. We’ve been working together for the past three years and together have planned 2 frosh weeks (this will be our 3rd), 2 awards galas and over a dozen other social events. As this is our last orientation together, we are very honoured and excited to be chairing your frosh week.

We’ve been working hard along with our wonderful frosh team for the last few months to plan a week full of amazing, engaging and informative programming to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for university. Still not convinced? Well, when was the last time you went to a casino themed boat cruise on a private yacht, slid through an AquaTunnel on Toronto Island, or dominated a U of T parade with 800 of your closest friends within 6 days? Exactly.

To you, the Woodsworth College class of 2017, we promise to do our best to make you feel right at home from your first day here. All 11 frosh team members in addition to the 100 frosh leaders are so excited to meet you all this coming September, so do yourself a favour and sign up for frosh week on July 1st when registration opens. You may regret it if you don’t…

That’s all for now, but you will be hearing a lot more from us throughout the summer. Of course, we are always here if you have questions about anything and everything. Just shoot us an email to ask@woodsworthfrosh.com.

One love,

Genevieve & Johnathan

PS. Yes, that is indeed the two of us in the banner above.

PPS. No, that picture is not photoshopped – we just have amazing photographers at Woodsworth (see the photos page for evidence).

#WWBlog – We’ve Got You Covered!

Hey future Woodsworth students!

My name is Sydney and I am your Marketing and Communications Manager for Frosh week! Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and our awesome website, along with the OMC, I will keep you up to date on the progress of Frosh, and give you advice on anything you could ever possibly  need to know about entering your first year of university. So, before we begin, make sure to “like” and follow ALL of our social media sites – you can find these links on the top right corner of this website (woodsworthfrosh.com).

Coming into Woodsworth in my first year, I didn’t know a single person. I spent hours worrying about what to bring to res, what my roommates would be like and how I would find all of my classes across this enormous campus. But from the first day of Frosh, dancing in the pouring rain with hundreds of other first-years, I forgot about all of those fears.

Frosh helped me open up and decide to take chances and get involved in as much as I could during my first year. I held a Work-Study position as the WCSA secretary, was my floor representative in residence and worked on the Gala Management Committee. These experiences have led me to my current position on the Frosh Executive Committee and during the upcoming school year as a residence don.

Throughout the summer, these blogs will provide you with valuable information about all aspects of Woodsworth and U of T. Everything from finances, to health and wellness; how to pick courses, to the best places to study. We will help you have a great start to your next few years at Woodsworth and help you make the most of your university experience!

So once again, don’t forget to keep checking up on all of our awesome social media sites for the inside scoop on Frosh week preparations, cool new contests, and tips on getting ready for your first year!

#1LoveWW

Until next time,

Sydney
#Sydney2013

Money, Money, Money: Part 2: Scholarships/Awards

 

Scholarships and awards are another excellent resource for incoming first year students to consider when planning their upcoming finances for the year!

For Canadian citizens or permanent residents, the University of Toronto offers an entrance scholarship for those who: studying at a secondary school or Year 1of CEGEP in Canada; have completed each of the courses required for admissions, including prerequisites, with ‘A’ standing; and admission average is 92% or better.

The President’s Entrance Scholarship Program provides an entrance scholarship of at least $2000 provided that they enrol at U of T in the fall. No application is required for this entrance scholarship, provided that the student meets the criteria provided above.

Scholarships/Awards are usually based on academic merit, but some are awarded based on financial need or other criteria.

For all information about scholarships and entrance based awards please visit: http://www.adm.utoronto.ca/adm-awards/html/awards/mainawdpage.htm

Students may also search for additional scholarships that U of T does not offer. There are a variety of websites that students can visit that offer a plethora of different scholarships that are available.

http://www.studentawards.com/

http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/scholarship-finder/

http://www.scholarshipscanada.com/

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