Arrival information

Ase Kelly BergCongratulations on your acceptance to UNB Saint John! I hope that your time with us will be a wonderful experience for you. You will find important arrival information below to help you plan for a smooth arrival and fun first week and month at our pretty UNB Saint John Campus.

If you have questions about coming to UNB Saint John, I'd be pleased to help you! Contact me at to get your questions answered. You can also schedule a face to face meeting with me through my booking page

I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to UNB, and wish you a safe trip to Canada!

Warmest regards from your international student advisor on the Saint John Campus.

Ms. Ase Kelly BergAdvisor for International Students & Programs

Before you arrive

There are a number of tasks you can complete before arrival. We want you to focus on getting to know other students in your first week in Canada; not stressing about practical tasks. Having a few important tasks done ahead of time will give you more time to socialize and meet new friends, so try to get as many of the below tasks done as possible before you have even arrived to Canada!

Activate your e-services: E-Services is UNB's online portal. Once you have activated your e-Services, you will have access to course registration, tuition payment with credit card and room mate assignment (if living on campus). Be sure to read and follow the instructions for setting your password very carefully - it is very specific. If you need help, you can contact the IT department.

Upload your own photo for your student ID card: As a new student, you will want to get your student identification card soon after you arrive. You can upload your own photo prior to arrival and simply pick up your card once you come to campus the first time.

Register for courses: If you are taking academic classes, you can contact your academic advisor to get help with the course selection and registration before you even come to campus. Watch a video about how to register for classes.

The following page will show degree checklists for all the different programs/majors that you can use to see what courses you should be taking to graduate. 

Pay tuition: The tuition and other fees will be posted to your student account under E-Services 2 weeks before each term, but you can pay your tuition and fees at any time. If you want to pay, but is not sure exactly how much to pay, don't worry about paying too much. Any overpayment that you do will simply stay in your student account for you to carry forward to the next term, or you can ask UNB to deposit the overpayment to your Canadian bank account. UNB offers many payment options to choose from. If you don't have a Canadian bank account, paying your tuition fees prior to arrival will save you from spending time in the first week to set up a bank acount and wait for money to arrive from your home country. 

Video: pay tuition

Housing - on and off-campus: UNB Saint John has two on-campus residences. Please apply as early as possible to reserve your space on campus. You can also live off-campus. We provide basic resources on finding housing in the city, both uptown and close to the university through our off-campus housing services.

Regardless of whether you wish to live in residence or in the community, please make arrangements for housing before arriving in Canada, even if it is only temporary in an Air BnB, hotel, hostel or self-catering apartment for a couple of nights. 

Learn about your mandatory international emergency health insurance: Your international emergency insurance will cover you 2 weeks prior to the beginning of your classes. We strongly encourage you to read the policy carefully to understand the coverage. Once you have arrived, you can submit an application for coverage under New Brunswick Medicare health system (read more further down on this page) (applicable for full-time degree-seeking students). 

Sign up for the online orientation program: UNB Saint John has developed an online program where you can introduce yourself, get to know other new students and learn trips and tricks to make your transition to a successful university student fun and engaging. Once you have activitated your E-Services, navigate to D2L Brightspace on the left-side menu and find UNBSJ Summer Online Orienation. Follow the registration guidelines, introduce yourself and start exploring! 

Banking Research: You may have to wait until you arrive to set up a bank account, but you can start looking at the different banks and decide which bank best suits your needs. The 5 big banks in Canada have specific services for international students/newcomers. In many cases, you can schedule an appointment to open a bank account online. 

 Cell Phone Plans Research: You have many choices in terms of cell phone plans, so research which plan is best for you. 

Become familiar with the UNB Saint John Campus: have a look at our campus map to find out where the different services are located before setting foot on campus. 

Tourism Information: learn about the history, places to visit and things to see in both Saint John and the rest of New Brunswick

Orientation Guide for Newcomers to New Brunswick: an important resource to help you learn about life in New Brunswick, laws, customs, political system and culture. 

Upon arrival to campus

Once you have arrived, there are a number of practical things for you to do. The list below is divided into tasks that you do the first week and the first month. While they are just suggestions, most new students have to complete at least some of them, but you don't have to do them all right away. If you have questions about any of them, please get in touch to get help!

First week in Saint John 

Orientation and Welcome Events: In the beginning of each term, we schedule events activities, which will help you adapt to life in Saint John and on campus. You will have lots of time to meet other new students and do fun activities to help you settle in. We will also have volunteers to help you with practical tasks. We strongly recommended that you arrive in time for our Orientation Week, as it will help you get a good start to your time at UNB Saint John!

For fall 2020, an international welcome session will be offered the following dates: 

Monday August 31 – Friday September 4 (the same program will be repeated each day): 

1pm – 3pm daily 

  • International Student Welcome Presentation:
    • Introduction to UNB Saint John and student services
    • Tasks to be completed for most students
    • Roundtable conversations addressing students’ questions
    • Campus tour


Access UNB Saint John's Wireless Network: get connected to UNB wireless network to save your data plan when you are on campus! If you have questions or run into trouble, the nice staff in the Student Technology Centre are here to help you (located in the Hans Klohn Commons Library).

Find permanent housing off-campus: look through our off-campus housing resources to help you find available housing options in the community. 

Get bus pass in campus bookstore in Ward Chipman Building:  a monthly student pass is $66 (valid for a calendar month, so don’t buy one at the end of a month). If you are living off-campus, a monthly bus pass is highly recommended, as campus a 15 minute bus-ride away from the uptown. 10 and 20 rides are also available from the bookstore, and this may be a good option if living in residence, at least for the first month. If paying in cash, it’s $2.75 and be sure to have exact change, as the drivers are not able to exchange money.

Learn about the bus system: take the bus for the first time. Saint John busses are operated by Saint John Transit. Busses 3B and 9A leave campus to go uptown and east side (but takes different routes) every 20 – 30 minutes (less in the weekends). Bus 3A and 9B come to campus from uptown every 20 – 30 minutes. The bus drivers are very friendly, and you can ask them to let you know where you wish to get off the bus and they will tell you when you have arrived to your desired destination.  

Video: learn about the bus system

Like our International Student Services Facebook page: learn about activities on campus such as immigration sessions and events in the community that you may have interest in attending.

Language Placement Test @ Saint John College (if necessary):  If you are from a country where UNB requires an official language test score, show your test score to the staff in the Office of the Registrar (Oland Hall Room 141). If you do not have an official language score with you, you may need to take a placement test. Please note that incoming exchange students are exempt from this requirement. 

Pay Tuition & Fees if you paid your tuition prior to arrival, great! If you have an outstanding balance on your student account, go to the Office of the Registrar (Oland Hall Room 141) or negotiate a payment arrangement plan. Expect a lot of line-ups before and during the first week of each term. You can also pay your fees via online banking once you have a Canadian bank account. 

Pick up your student card (“U-Card”) from the Security office: you may have uploaded your own photo to your U-card page already. If not, you will have your picture taken in the campus security office. Be sure to bring your letter of acceptance with you.

Buy your textbooks: you can save on textbooks by searching for previously owned books on bulletin boards around campus, or online through UNBSJ’s Used Textbook Facebook pageTextbook rentals are also available in the Campus Bookstore. If you are not sure which textbooks you need to buy for each class, you can go to your Time Table through your e-Services (academic tab). You also find used textbooks in the Freecycle Store. It is an on-campus recycling project for students to leave or take previously owned household items. Before buying new, stop in to see what you can find! Located in Room 245 of the Thomas Condon Student Centre (above the Baird Dining Hall).

Learn about grocery stores: There are several grocery stores nearby, and they are on the campus bus routes.

  • Sobey’s Lansdowne (149 Lansdowne Avenue). On the #3A/B and 9A/B bus route. Open 7am – 11pm. 
  • Atlantic Superstore (650 Somerset Street). On the 9A/B bus route. Open 7am – 11pm, Sunday 9am - 8pm. 
  • Dan's Country Market (228 Churchill Avenue. On the 9A/B bus route. Open 7am - 9pm. 
  • UNB Saint John - Chartwell's Communter meal plans: you can buy all your meals on campus, even if you don't live in residence! Purchasing a full price meal plan can save you tax on all purchases made at Baird Dining Hall, Tim Hortons, and the Commons Café. (That’s equivalent to 15%!)
  • Meal Planning companies: if you are not (yet) a great cook, or maybe have no time to cook or interest in learning how to cook, you can research meal planning companies in Saint John. There are many delicious options! 

First month in Saint John 

Once you have settled in and completed most of the important tasks listed above, you can take your time with your next tasks.  

Submit your application for Medicare: Since September 2017, international students in NB are eligible to apply for New Brunswick Medicare coverage. New Brunswick Medicare covers medically necessary procedures for free. Coverage is not automatic; as a new international student, you have to submit an application form and supporting documents once you have arrived to New Brunswick. Once you receive your Medicare card, you are covered. 

In the time between arriving and receiving your Medicare card, you will be covered for medical emergencies through UNB's international emergency insurance plan. This plan will cover you for the first term, and it is a mandatory plan for all new international students, regardless of other health insurance coverage. Knowing that you are covered for the first term, you can take your time and apply for Medicare in due time - there is no need to hurry in getting the application submitted. 

Learn about your Health Plans: coverage under Medicare and UNB international emergency insurance plan does not cover all health related costs. There are extra costs such as prescription drugs (medications that you need to have a doctor's note to buy), dentist visits and eye classes/eye exams that are not covered under Medicare for Canadians either. Health Plans (as opposed to emergency medical plans) cover the costs of drugs, vision and dental work covered. Because the cost can be quite high, UNB's policy requires international students in degree programs to have a health plan. Graduate students are covered under Student VIP; questions about coverage can be directed to the Graduate Student Association. Undergraduate students are covered under We Speak Student; questions about coverage can be directed to the Student Representative Council

Student Services: UNB Saint John has a great student services department with friendly people who are here to see you succeed with your studies. Start learning abotu Student Services by scheduling a meeting with Athena, our wellness coordinator. She can tell you about the many services that you can use. 

Canadian Immigration Rules: There are a few basic rules about being an international student in Canada. Most international students are allowed to work on-campus or off-campus. If you have questions about renewing your study permit, or need to take a break from your studies in Canada, please schedule an appointment. It is important to follow the immigration rules, so be sure to ask lots of questions if in doubt about any immigration rules. 

Take a picture of your study permit, entry visa/eTA, and your passport bio-page: if you lose your passport and study permit, you will have access to an electronic copy.

Navigate through culture shock: setting in a new country is exciting and fun, but it can also be exhausting and confusing. Knowing a bit about culture shock will make it easier for you to reconize the signs and learn what you can do to cope with culture shock. 


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