Useful online resources for international students
Studying at a US or Canadian university and living in North America will be an exciting time for you, and you can look forward to lots of new experiences! The more you know what to expect, the better prepared you will be to take full advantage of your opportunity.
We provide a list of useful websites for international students who plan to go to university in the USA or Canada, covering these topics:
- Studying in the USA and Canada
- Life in North America
- Immigration and student visas
- Admissions tests, transcripts and equivalence
- Scholarships and financial aid
- Working and work experience in the USA and Canada
- Managing your money
- English dictionaries and translation
- Travel, maps and weather
- The US Department of State sponsors EducationUSA, which has information about applying to US universities, average costs of attending university, and other advice about studying in the USA. The site also includes a useful glossary of American academic terms.
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada provide a lot of advice about studying in Canada
- The US Network for Education Information (USNEI) has helpful content on its Information for International Students page.
- USA.gov, the US government's official web portal, has content especially for international students about studying in the US. It includes student visas, the TOEFL, and the US education system.
- Another helpful site for general information is eduPASS, where you can find information on university admissions, traveling to the USA, and American cultural differences.
- At America.gov you can find many resources for information about the United States, including Snapshot USA, which is published by the US Department of State and gives a comprehensive look at American culture, lifestyle, beliefs, and values.
- The Government of Canada website offers a collection of web resources about living in Canada
- The EducationUSA website tells you what to expect at university under the 'College Environment' section. They also publish If You Want to Study in the United States, with a chapter on 'American University Life.'
- The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) produces the World Factbook which gives detailed information and statistics about every country in the world, including America.
- Bankrate has a handy cost of living calculator that let's you compare the price of everything from renting an apartment to buying a carton of orange juice in different US cities.
- The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website contains lots of helpful information on a variety of topics, including what to expect upon arriving at a US Port of Entry, how to maintain your immigration status while studying in America, and requirements for working in the USA.
- Official Canadian student visa and study permit details
- The US Embassy or Consulate in your country is a good source of information about applying for a student visa.
- The US Department of State also has helpful Student Visa information.
- America.gov discusses the basics of obtaining a student visa.
- The Educational Testing Service (ETS) lists upcoming TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) dates around the world. Find out more about TOEFL at the ETS website. Note that you do not need a TOEFL score for University entrance if you first join an ESL program.
- At the ETS website, you can also test your English proficiency for free.
- Graduate students should read up on the GMAT and/or the GRE.
- World Education Services offers grade conversion guides for more than 120 countries, so you can compare your grades to a US university's GPA requirements.
- You can also get a paid evaluation of your transcripts - a written report that interprets your education qualifications in US terms - often required by universities.
Most financial assistance for university students in North America requires US/Canadian citizenship. However, there is limited aid available to international students.
- The International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) website allows a search for scholarships based on field of study.
- NAFSA provides a wealth of information and links for undergraduate international students seeking financial aid.
- The Foundation Center FAQs provide guidance, training resources, and links to directories for students seeking funding to study in the USA.
- Contact the US Embassy or Canadian Embassy in your home country to ask their advice.
- Important to know if you are considering an international student loan.
- EduPASS, The Smart Student Guide to Studying in the USA, provides excellent articles, charts and links about financing college.
- The Institute for International Education publishes a book titled Funding for United States Study: A Guide for International Students and Professionals that provides information on hundreds of grants and international student scholarships offered by governments, foundations and organizations.
- The US Department of Immigrations & Customs Enforcement has detailed information about Optional Practical Training, which is a temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 (the standard non-immigrant visa) students an opportunity to use the valuable skills gained during their degree studies in a practical work setting.
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada have clear information about work permits and internships for students in Canada
- The US Citizenship and Immigration services website gives a really good overview of Optional Practical Training. The site also has information on other employment options for international students.
- Guidance on finding an H-1B job and visa sponsorship for international students after graduation.
- Visa job information portal and online immigrant community.
- The US Citizenship and Immigration Services website has information on the H-1B visa.
Life at University can be expensive! However, there is lots of financial advice available to help you manage your money wisely at University:
- MSNBC's 13 Financial Tips for College Kids
- Calculate fees and costs in your local currency using an online currency converter
- Yahoo Voices offers Financial Advice for College Students or Recent Graduates
- MoneySmartLife.com's College Student Money Guide - Financial Tips for Student Success includes an article and links to other articles about a variety of topics including how to select the best student bank account and inexpensive ways to have fun at university.
- GetRichSlowly.org's 27 Money Tips for College Students offers a wide variety of practical advice, including 'buy used textbooks' and 'spend less than you earn.'
Get visitor information
- At Guidebook America you can find travel directories and maps, online area guide books, and scenic webcams.
- Canada's official tourism website offers a wealth of visitor information
- Many US cities have outstanding public transit systems. HopStop.com offers public transportation information and maps for several cities.
- If you have to drive, MapQuest provides point-to-point driving directions. In addition to driving directions, Google Maps also offers walking and public transit directions.
Make travel arrangements
- Search for and book flights through Expedia, Orbitz or Travelocity.
- Check the US Transportation Security Administration's website for the latest information on travel restrictions including prohibited items, tips for passing through security checkpoints, and specific security measures for international flights.
Hotels for family members
These hotel chains generally offer reasonably-priced, comfortable accommodation: