5 Ryerson services I used as a first-year international student

It’s no secret that Ryerson provides access to never-ending services and facilities; just take a peek at how many brochures we have stacked at the front desk of our Student Campus Centre (SCC). That being said, sometimes you wonder where to even begin –– especially as an international student. If you’re a prospective international student that might be wondering what services you should look out for, read on! Here are five (out of the many) services I made use of as a first-year international student:

1. International Student Support Office (ISS)

The ISS Office has been a really big part of my journey as an international student. As someone new to Toronto, there were a lot of questions I had that I was too shy to ask others, partially because I thought they were silly but also because I didn’t know who else would have the answers. I went to the ISS office for a number of reasons: when I needed to figure out how my health plan worked, under what circumstances I was eligible to work, how to do my taxes; you get my drift.

2. My Residence Advisor (RA) and Academic Link (AL)

For those who may not know what an RA and AL are, according to the Housing website a Residence Advisor is someone who promotes safety, educates students on residence policies and supports the overall well-being of students while building a strong, inclusive and fun community for students living in residence. An Academic Link is an upper-year student who is part of your program or faculty who lives in residence for the sole purpose of helping you academically.

Having an RA and an AL was so beneficial to me. It was like having mentors that lived right down the hall from me who were ever-ready to help. They offered support and advice on all things from being homesick to proofreading essays.

3. Tax Clinic

Naturally, as someone who came from a country where I didn’t have to file my own taxes, having to finally do so wasn’t easy. I didn’t even know where to even begin! Cue my saving grace: the Tax Clinic courtesy of the Ryerson Students’ Union. Students can book an appointment (for free) during tax season and a team of trained volunteers will help them prepare their tax return and file it to the CRA on their behalf.

4. WalkSafe Program

Ryerson’s WalkSafe Program is a 24-hour security-escort service provided to Ryerson community members free of charge. Members (including visitors) can call the dedicated hotline or simply press a button on one of the blue emergency poles we have across campus, and a Ryerson security member will escort them to various locations on campus, including to the subway and nearby parking lots.

P.S – definitely a number you might want to keep handy for those 3 a.m. McDonald’s runs after a night out!

5. ServiceHub

So quick little fun fact: the ServiceHub won an Award of Excellence in the category of “Innovation” from the Value of Design Awards (VODA) – as part of IDC’s (Interior Designers of Canada) inaugural design symposium.

Another really cool thing to note is that the ServiceHub is accessible to all students. Prospective students can receive admissions information, current students can receive financial aid and enrolment information and alumni can retrieve proof of enrolment documents if requested from employers!

That being said, there are a ton of great resources available on-campus and virtually too! Visit this link to check out the full list of student services available. As always, if you have any questions or just want to talk – follow me on Instagram and shoot me a DM or book a one-on-one meeting with me.

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