Getting involved

Make friends | Stay active | Discover the Canadian experience

Various organizations offer ways for students to get involved:

Stay connected with the International Office Facebook group:

Events | Housing | Textbooks | Activities

The International Office organizes over 30 activities per year for international and exchange students. Social outings, cultural activities and sporting events are a great way to make friends, stay active and to discover some Canadian traditions.

There are many groups outside of the IO that are similarly dedicated to engaging students in extra-curricular activities, so make sure to explore this section for a detailed list of the many ways that you can get involved.

IO events and activities

Make sure to join our Facebook group to stay informed about upcoming events and activities!

Meet & Greet for new students

Early September & January

This social event is a great way for new International and Exchange students to get to know each other. Canadian students who participate in the Buddy Program are present to help welcome our new students to campus by sharing tips for success and enjoyment on campus. 

Visit of Parliament

September and January

Introduce yourself to the Canadian political system through this FREE visit of the Parliament. Enjoy an architectural, historical and political guided tour of the main center of Canada’s executive and legislative decisions during this visit.

Omega Park

November and March

Experience Canada’s wildlife in a safari visit of the Omega Park reserve. During this guided tour around the park you will have the opportunity to see many different Canadian animals, with several opportunities to feed them along the way!

Sugar Shack

During the month of March

Come out and satisfy your sweet tooth! Enjoy a traditional Canadian/Québécois sugar shack meal with plenty of maple syrup, maple taffy on snow and a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Other opportunities

Volunteer opportunities

Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement

The Michaël Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement promotes lifelong commitment to community engagement and social responsibility among all members of the uOttawa community. By integrating academics with meaningful volunteer service and community partnerships, the Centre supports students, faculty, staff and alumni while contributing to stronger communities, positive social change and a more engaged university locally, nationally and internationally. To find out more please visit the Centre for Global and Community Engagement website.

Student activities

The International House, SFUO

The International House is a place where international and exchange students can meet people who have gone through the same experiences as them, make friends and get involved in Canadian Student life. The service provides interesting and fun, affordable (sometimes free) activities and events that promote multiculturalism and diversity for all students. They include: International movie nights, potlucks, trips to various cities within Canada or the US, an amazing International Week, a discussion panel and an always unforgettable International Gala. For more information please visit the International House, UCU room 211.

Community Life

Community Life Services offer a great variety of activities all throughout the school year, such as free bus shuttles to the University sports games, movie nights in the University’s Olympic sized pool, pumpkin carving contests and the annual snow festival; you will be sure to find something for your taste. Activities are offered in English, French or are bilingual and they are a great way to meet students and discover what the university has to offer you. Visit the Community Life Service website for more information.

Residence Life

Residence Life offers the opportunity for students to create a community within the residences. With different activities offered in partnership with the International Office, like social board game nights, Residence Life will help you to be more at ease on Campus and to build friendships. The Residence Life’s team will provide you with services, like study groups, and with helpful tips that will help you to experience University’s life at its best. Visit the Residence Life website for more information.

Cultural clubs

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) is home to over 175 different cultural, religious, political/social justice, philanthropic/humanitarian, recreational and academic clubs. There are over 25 cultural clubs that bring students together who are from similar backgrounds. These clubs will allow you to find others on campus that may share your language, culture, and customs.Visit the cultural clubs website for more information.

If you can’t seem to find the kind of club you’re looking to get involved in, it’s really easy to start your own – this is a great way for you to form friendships with other dynamic individuals!

There are many resources provided by the SFUO for clubs. A club has access to:

  • 15 free room bookings per semester for club activities
  • 10 free promotional activities
  • up to $1000 in subsidies for club activities
  • free multimedia bookings in 9 rooms on campus
  • access to free dance studio time
  • a free colour banner
  • office and storage space
  • and a multitude of other resources to ensure that your club experience is a success.

By becoming part of the clubs community, you can get involved in student life doing something you’re passionate about. Please don’t hesitate to drop by the Clubs Room at room 030A on the ground floor of the University Centre or to contact SFUO Clubs by email for more information on how to start or how to join a club.

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