Step 3: What to do before you leave


As an exchange student, you will have the status of special student. You will be exempted from paying tuition and incidental fees. However, you may have to pay some fees for some learning material (e.g. visual arts material). You will be responsible for all other costs related to your stay in Canada. UHIP health insurance is mandatory for all Exchange students; no exception will be considered.

Estimated costs* for a single student (per 4-month semester)a
Estimated Cost

Housing (from $650 to $800 per month)

$ 2,600 - 3,200

Food (approximately $85 per week)

$ 1,300

Compulsory health insurance (UHIP)b

$ 204

Books and other supplies

$ 600

Clothing, entertainment, and other items

$ 1,000

Communications (telephone, Internet)

$ 500

*Based on 2015-2016 costs.

This is an estimated budget to help you plan your expenses. Amounts will vary according to your particular situation (your program of study, eating in restaurants, living on campus and other factors.)

This is the cost for the compulsory period of 4 months for one person.

Organize academic matters

Course registration

The registration period for exchange students usually begins in May, including those coming for the winter semester (January). Please note that the faculty cannot guarantee a place in courses unless registered, so it is important to complete your registration in the best possible time to maximize your chances of enrollment to the courses desired.

  • Please consult the course timetable tool in order to search for available courses.
  • You must complete, sign and send your registration form to your host faculty or academic unit as soon as possible so that the advisor can register you to your courses;
  • The faculty or academic unit will confirm your final course registration with you.

Important: When booking your flight, keep in mind that you might have an exam on the last night of the exam period. Unfortunately, it is impossible for exchange students to write their exams before the other students. Please ensure you check the date of the examination period by referring to the site of important dates.

Student Email

Within 48 hours of your course registration, you will receive an email addressed to your personal email account explaining how to access your @uOttawa email account.  It is your responsibility to check your university email account regularly. If you are having trouble accessing any of your uOttawa accounts after this time has elapsed, fill out an online request for computing assistance. All emails from the University of Ottawa will be sent to your @uOttawa account.

Student Card

In addition to being used as your student identification, your uOttawa card can be used to quickly and conveniently pay for items at over 100 locations on campus. You can also use your card to borrow books from the library, access the gym, and book an appointment with an academic advisor. Visit the uOttawa Card website toorder your card on line, or pick up your card in person when you arrive on campus. If you lose your card, you must pay a replacement fee of $25 (tax included). 

Register to the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)

Since UHIP membership is mandatory, you do not need to purchase another insurance plan to cover you during the academic year.

UHIP coverage starts the eleventh day of the month preceding the start of the program for newly admitted students, and in the beginning of the semester for returning students. However, outside the periods of UHIP insurance coverage, you are entirely responsible for obtaining appropriate health insurance, for your own protection and that of your dependents.

Check the UHIP section very carefully to know more about your UHIP premium.

N.B. This health insurance plan does not cover dental care or prescription
InformationPlease note that medication insurance and dental insurance are provided for undergraduate students through the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), or, for graduate students through the Graduate Students' Association (GSAED)
Obtain permits and visas

Please note that due to a significant change to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), educational institutions such as the University of Ottawa can no longer provide international students with immigration advice. As a result we invite you to visit the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The CIC Call Centre can also answer questions, in English and French, about CIC services and programs, or applications in process inside Canada (1-888-242-2100). Students may also now e-mail the Call Centre with questions.

What can I do now?

In order to ensure the fastest processing of their applications, students are advised to follow the official recommendations of CIC:

  • If no application have been submitted so far, it is important to apply as early as possible and to ensure that the application is as complete as possible.
  • Applying online will also be much faster and more efficient.
  • If a hard-copy application has been submitted, it is imperative not to reapply online as this will only slow the process down.

If I don’t think I will be able to arrive in Canada for early September, what are my options?

In addition to the CIC recommendations, the University of Ottawa would like to inform its students they can register for their courses up to the last day for late registration.

Please contact the International Office at if you have any questions.

Find housing

On-campus Housing

You have the possibility of living in a university residence on or near the campus. Please note that there are limited spaces in residence and they are offered on a first come, first served basis. If you decide to stay on campus, please follow these steps in the student exchange guide.

Off-Campus Housing

A large number of students live in close proximity to campus, and sometimes in neighbourhoods densely populated by students. Please visit the Off-Campus Housing Office for more information.

If you’ve opted for off-campus housing, here are some tips to follow:

  • Many students live in the Sandy Hill neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Ottawa. Some houses located at the fringe of the campus are owned and managed by the University. Contact the Resource Centre for more information, and use the Housing Portal (via uoZone or InfoWeb) to apply.
  • Many other options are listed on the Student Housing Billboard.  See how rent prices compare with the average monthly rents observed in the area. 
  • Unless you deal with the University, we recommend that you finalize your housing arrangements only once you have arrived in Ottawa. This will give you the chance to meet the landlords and visit the dwellings.  You should plan an early arrival and set a few days aside for that task. Until August 30, you can book a room in residence for an affordable short stay. Reservations for a room in a hostel or hotel near the university will also give you time to search for housing accommodations. 
  • On your first visit to the campus, drop by the Housing Resource Centre for guidance and advice. 
Arrive at uOttawa

From the airport

By taxi
You can take a taxi from the airport to the University campus. It will cost you approximately $35.

By bus
For under $5, you can take OC Transpo bus Number 97, and get off at LAURIER station. Please check the OC Transpo websitefor information on schedules. There are also “Airport Limousine Buses” that go downtown several times an hour and stop at the main hotels. The Novotel Hotel is the closest to the University. The cost for the limousine bus service is approximately $10.

From the train station

By taxi
You can take a taxi from the train station to the University’s campus. It will cost you approximately $10.

By bus
If you arrive by train at the Ottawa train station, take the OC Transpo bus number 96 Stittsville and Terry Fox (westbound) and get off at LAURIER station (approximately a ten-minute ride).

From the bus station

By taxi
You can take a taxi from the train station to the University’s campus. It will cost you approximately $10.

By bus
If you arrive by bus at the Central Bus station, located at 265 Catherine Street West, take OC Transpo bus number 101 St-Laurent (eastbound), ask for a transfer ticket, and disembark at Hurdman Station. Take OC Transpo bus number 95 (westbound) and disembark at LAURIER station (approximately a 20-minute ride).

Please check the OC Transpo website for more information on bus schedules.

Orientation program

Your participation to the Exchange student orientation session is mandatory.  You must arrive in Canada in time to participate in the orientation session.  Please find the details below:

Orientation session in English

  • For students coming on exchange for the fall semester 2016, winter 2017 or for the 2016-2017 academic year:

    Date: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
    Location: Montpetit Hall (MNT), 125 University Private, room 202 (campus map)
    Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (please arrive at 8:30 a.m. to sign-in)
  • For student coming on exchange during the winter session

    Date: Friday January 5, 2018
    Location: TBD
    Time: TBD
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