June 13, 2022

UCalgary Life Tips and Tricks from Student Mentors

The UCalgary student mentors from the GPS Mentorship Program are sharing tips on the topics of summer vacation, expenses, engagement, and cultural experiences!
Students walking

Transitioning from home country to Canada can be challenging for new-to-Calgary international students. By participating in the GPS Mentorship Program, new international students will be matched with current UCalgary upper-year students to receive peer support and advice on navigating campus life at UCalgary. Continue reading to learn more about what support a mentee will receive and some tips and tricks from the GPS Mentors!

Your summer vacation in Calgary

Want some activity ideas for your first summer in Calgary? There are lots of festivals taking place in Calgary, including VegFest, Stampede, the Test of Calgary, etc. Students can also take advantage of the warm weather to appreciate the beautiful nature in the national parks. Going for a hike and exploring the city are great ways to enjoy the summer! Additionally, our Mentors suggest trying new hobbies and different restaurants and taking a relaxing break before the fall term begins.

Wondering where to learn about upcoming events in Calgary? Sign up for the ISS Newsletter and follow Instagram channels such as @tourismcalgary and @curiocitycalgary to stay tuned! 

Everyday expenses as a UCalgary student

Consider shopping at budget-friendly shops for everyday clothing items! Shops recommended by our Mentors include Winners, thrift stores, and stores that can be found in Market Mall, Chinook Centre, and Cross Iron Mills! Facebook Marketplace is another great place for good deals. Our Mentors suggest shopping during Black Friday and Boxing Day to save more. Quality is more important than quantity – consider investing in some good quality items that can last longer!

Monthly average groceries expenses reported by our Mentors was $188.80. Mentors’ favourite grocery stores include Costco, T&T, Freshco, and much more. Visit our Food and Shopping page to learn about shopping tips and shop recommendations!

Getting involved on campus

Want to have an engaging, positive experience during your studies? UCalgary offers many opportunities for students to get involved on campus. For example, the Leadership and Student Engagement office provides immersive, meaningful learning opportunities within a variety of campus departments. Moreover, Student Union clubs are great places to start building your connections with like-minded peers. When it comes to balancing between study and campus activities, our Mentors recommend using planners to structure life a few weeks in advance to stay on track. Setting goals and deadlines of completion and leaving some time for more flexibility are other helpful tips our Mentors shared!

Intercultural Experiences

Interacting with people from another cultural context is one of the fun everyday activities at UCalgary! Cultural differences exist as people have different life experiences. Religion and food costumes can vary, and every person may have unique communication style. Having experienced these cultural differences, our Mentors implement useful strategies to interact with people from different cultures. The most popular strategy is setting boundaries and expectations, which can effectively reduce conflicts. Being open-minded and observing before talking are other tips that set our Mentors up for success. While talking to other people, you might be surprised at the number of similarities there may be!

Ready to enrich your UCalgary journey? Sign up for the GPS Mentorship Program

The GPS Mentorship Program connects new international students with an upper year current UCalgary student. Mentees will receive peer advise to help transition and settle in Calgary. Mentors will build social network and develop leadership skills. Mentor and mentee can discuss subjects including but not limited to the above four topics.