Before You Arrive

Loyalist College staff are available to assist international students prior to coming to Canada as we want to make your stay in Canada as easy and enjoyable as possible. The following information will help you prepare for your arrival to Canada.

1. Booking your flight

The Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, is located approximately two hours from Belleville and is the recommended airport for pick-up service. Students arriving for a January start should NOT plan to fly during the Christmas holidays. The College is closed the week between Christmas and the New Year, so it is recommended to book flights after January 1 to avoid holiday fees and complications. Contact the International Coordinator to make arrangements for arrival.

2. Airport pickup service

The College will arrange to have you picked up at the airport upon arrival. This service is provided for a fee of $125 CAD. To arrange for pick up, please download and complete the airport pickup form (PDF) and return it to the International Coordinator.

3. What to bring

It is important to check with the airline to ensure you understand baggage allowances and item restriction.  Electrical currents in Canada are different from most other countries, so it may be better to purchase electronic appliances within Canada.  Please do not place anything of value in your luggage (money, jewelry, etc.) and be sure to carry it with you at all times.

For a complete list of what you can and cannot bring into Canada, please refer to: cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ifvc-rpvc-eng.html#a2.

The following is a suggested list only.  Some items you may prefer to purchase upon arrival in Canada due to size and weight.

  • Pillows, bedding, towels, etc.
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Clothing for Canadian weather, which can vary from below zero to 100 degrees depending on the season
  • Informal clothing for class – both men and women wear slacks, blue jeans, sweatpants, etc.
  • More formal clothing just in case – dress or skirt for women, shirt and tie or suit for men
  • National dress, instruments, or other traditional material for international activities
  • Outdoor clothing such as light/heavy coats, rainwear and umbrella, hat, scarf, gloves
  • Pictures of family or other things you love from home, for comfort and encouragement
  • Medicine until you become familiar with what is available in Canada
  • Prescription, doctor’s instructions or medicine with English translation, if necessary
  • Record of immunization
  • Favourite spices or any non-perishable foods
  • Canadian currency to cover immediate costs such as rent, textbooks or groceries (we recommend at least $1,000 CAD)

Pre-departure checklist

Prior to leaving your home country, ensure that you have:

  • Appropriate visa and immigration documentation
  • Loyalist College Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
  • Valid passport and study permit authorization
  • Carry-on bag with emergency personal items in the event that your luggage temporarily does not meet your destination in Canada
  • Name and address of the people with whom you are staying, if you are not staying in the Loyalist College Residence
  • Notified the International Coordinator at Loyalist College with flight arrival time to the Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, if you require transportation services from the airport

International students may wish to bring information about their country and traditions to share with other students, faculty and the community to enhance intercultural education.

4. Housing assistance

We understand that having a comfortable place to live while attending College is an important element in the success of your academic studies.  However, finding a place of your own for the first time can be a challenge.  Loyalist College has different options for housing in Belleville geared to your personal preference and budget:

a) Loyalist College on-campus Residence complex

Our complex consists of five four-storey buildings and a Residence Commons building situated in a wooded country setting.  The buildings accommodates up to 476 students and are designed as apartments containing a kitchen, dining area, living room, two bathrooms and six furnished bedrooms.

For more information and to complete the online application form, go to Residence.

b) Off-campus accommodations

The International Centre has a listing of apartments and homes within the Belleville community for every preference and budget.  Off-campus housing can range from $300 to $700 per month, plus personal expenses.  Please budget and plan accordingly. International Centre staff can work with you to find suitable accommodation.

Students can also find their own accommodations by using our official Off-Campus Housing Service at places4students.com. In the student section click GO and search by school name and view listings. The College cannot and does not accept responsibility for housing arrangements made by persons using the site.

5. Currency considerations

When you arrive in Canada, try to have at least $400-$800 (Canadian or U.S.) in cash. A currency exchange service is usually available at the Toronto airport from 5 a.m. to midnight. We also recommend that you carry enough travellers’ cheques or bank drafts to cover at least your first month’s expenses. Because of extra costs in the first month (such as rental, damage deposits and books) this can amount to $1,000 – $2,000 CAD for a single student. Do not depend on bank cards etc. as your only source of cash. Sometimes banks will put a hold on funds for a few weeks; it is very important that you can access money for your rent and living expenses right away.

6. International student health insurance

Canada has a very good medical system and ranks among the top medical countries in the world. International students receive mandatory 12-month health insurance while registered at the College. This coverage is effective as of September 1. It is highly recommended that you purchase your own travel insurance while travelling and for any period spent in Canada before this date. 

Your tuition and international student fees cover the cost of your mandatory health insurance. Students who do not confirm with the International Coordinator that they are planning to arrive and begin classes will not be automatically registered for this insurance and therefore will not be covered. Medical attention can be extremely expensive in Canada, so it is very important to have this coverage.

The international student health insurance package is currently offered through guard.me student guard health insurance. For specific details, please refer to their colleges and universities policy. The insurance policy will not cover any pre-existing medical condition, so please ensure that you resolve any health issues prior to your arrival in Canada. The policy also covers a small amount for emergency dental work only. It is advised that you have any dental work and cleaning done before you arrive in Canada.

7. Immunization

Some programs, as part of the admissions requirements, and to meet legislation for placement in various community facilities, require the submission of the Loyalist College Immunization Record.  This must be completed and returned directly to the Health Centre by the end of August for September entry.  It is advisable for all international students to bring proof of immunization to Canada regardless of whether it is required for your program.  Please visit the Health Centre for more information.

8. Preparing for the weather

It is important to be prepared for the climate in Belleville. Southern Ontario has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Useful information can be found at:

Winter clothes

  • Coats:  A good, warm coat will be your most important item of clothing. We suggest a thick waterproof coat.
  • Boots: We suggest you buy boots with a thick lining and thick rubber soles that will not slip on the ice. Thin-soled, unlined boots do not provide the warmth required during the winter months.
  • Gloves or mittens: Wool or fleece-lined mittens keep your fingers warmer than gloves; a good brand for warm gloves and mittens is “Thinsulate.”
  • Hat and scarf: Make sure your hat covers your ears and that the scarf is long enough to wrap around your neck. The scarf should be made from wool or another warm material. Silk scarves will not keep you warm.

Clothing materials

  • Wool:  Known for its warmth and worn in the winter and late fall, wool socks and sweaters are great for the winter.
  • Cotton:  A light and soft material, many clothes in Canada are made from cotton. Cotton underwear, socks, shirts, pants etc. are good for summer, spring and fall.
  • Polyester:  Good for exercising and sports, polyester pants, jackets, shirts etc. In the winter, wear polyester “fleece” for warmth.

Any other questions on how to prepare for your arrival to Canada?

Please email Jodie Russett, International Coordinator at jrussett@loyalistc.on.ca.