Getting settled in Canada

Learn different ways to help you get acclimated to life in Canada, whether on or off campus. Looking after your health and well-being contributes to success in your studies, while learning to cope with culture shock and stay safe as you settle in a new environment is just as essential.

Topics in this section:
Getting settled

Look after your health and well-being

SFU Health & Counselling

SFU students can seek on-campus medical services from a doctor or nurse for a range of medical concerns, and mental health and well-being support from registered clinical counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health nurses.

MySSP app

If you're ever in need of urgent mental health support, you can book an appointment with a counselor who shares a lived experience, such as your religion or cultural identity, through MySSP. This free virtual service is available 24/7 by phone or chat through the app and is accessible worldwide. Multiple language options are available.

Get support from our transition case manager

International university students face an added challenge of studying in a new country. If you're currently residing in BC our Transition Case Manager is available for one-to-one support, whether you're looking for assistance with intercultural communications, family or financial pressures, managing school stress, understanding documents and Canadian services, or connecting with other resources.

Contact our Transition Case Manager

Medical insurance

Primary medical insurance

Primary medical insurance is mandatory for all residents of BC (including international students) and is provided through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). It covers health services that require medical attention including visits to doctors, hospital stays, and diagnostic medical testing.

New international students are automatically enrolled for temporary medical insurance for your first term while you wait for your MSP.

Secondary medical insurance

Secondary medical insurance is also required at SFU. Eligble students are coverd through the SFSS Extended Health and Dental Plan. Coverage in extended health services include prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, massage therapy, physiotherapy, accupuncture, and other services. 

Learn more about medical insurance for international students

Getting settled

Learn about safety at SFU

Safety and security at SFU

Student safety on campus is something we take very seriously. We try our best to maintain a comfortable and safe learning environment for students at SFU, offering 24/7 emergency assistance at our three campuses, should you ever need it.

Safe Walk program

Our Safe Walk program gives you access to a campus security escort 24/7, whenever you need it while walking on campus alone or at night.

Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO)

The SVSPO offers free and confidential support for SFU students who have been impacted by sexual violence, such as sexual assault or harassment, regardless of when or where it took place, inclusive of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Safety guides

Some people may try to take advantage of international students who are unfamiliar with local culture and customs as you use transit or seek housing and other necessities. Read these safety guides to help you become aware and avoid potential scams.

Getting settled

Explore life in Canada

Canadian culture guide

If this is your first time living in Canada or a new country, you may experience culture shock at some point, which is completely normal! Acclimating to a new academic and social culture in a university abroad will seem challenging at times, but there are many resources to support you and your success. Learn helpful tips on easing your transition to SFU and coping with culture shock.

Read our transition guide to Canadian culture