International Office
Telephone: 613-236-1393
Ext. 2200
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Pre-arrival guide

Budget and banking

You must budget (on average) an additional CAN$ 12,000 for your rent, books, transportation and other living expenses. We recommend that you open a Canadian bank account upon your arrival.

Initial money needs

We do not recommend that you carry more than $500 in cash with you while travelling to Canada.
Bring sufficient funds in traveller's cheques (in U.S. or Canadian dollars) to cover living expenses during your first month. For a single student, the first month's expenses (excluding tuition fees) may be as high as $2,500 CDN to pay for such things as transportation, temporary accommodation, food, rental deposits, textbooks and other school supplies.

NOTE: The first thing to do upon your arrival in Ottawa is to open a bank account.


Opening a student bank account in Canada is a free and simple process. There are several banks close to the University.

Make sure you find out what type of account is best suited to your needs. To open an account, you will need to have personal identification. Be sure to take your passport, study permit and university-issued student card. To activate the account, you will need to deposit a small amount of money. After opening an account, you will receive a bank debit card that will allow you to withdraw money at most automated bank teller machines, and will be accepted at most stores to pay for your purchases.

Please note that it can be very difficult for an international student to obtain a credit card. We therefore recommend that you obtain a credit card in your home country.

The following is a list of the main Canadian banks:

What to bring with you

Make sure you bring the following items with you as you prepare to come to Canada:

  • letter of introduction and acceptance from the Canadian Embassy
  • valid passport
  • original copy of your acceptance/admission letter from the University of Ottawa
  • proof of available funds (Bank statement)
  • photo ID (picture identification)
  • original transcripts or school certificates
  • credit cards (if applicable)
  • marriage certificate, if your spouse is accompanying you
  • your children's school records, if your children are accompanying you
  • medical and immunization records
  • driver's license or international driver's license
  • driving insurance records (a letter stating the number of years you have been insured, and your insurance record)
  • electrical equipment you may need (note that voltage in Canada is 110 volts, 60Hz; you may require a transformer)
  • a good bilingual dictionary

Buying clothes in Canada

Following is a list of price ranges for new clothing in Canada:

Shirt, blouse


Trousers, jeans




Men's suit


Winter sweater


Rain coat


Winter coat




Winter boots


Climate and clothes

Ottawa's climate is characterized by four distinct seasons, with frequent temperature changes.

Spring arrives in April, with warm weather and plenty of rain.

  • Pack an umbrella, raincoat and waterproof boots if you have them.
  • Temperatures drop below freezing on many nights.

Summer starts in June.

  • Temperatures range from 15-33°C (59-95°F) with occasional rainfalls.
  • Bring a good pair of comfortable walking shoes and clothes for warm weather.

Fall arrives by September.

  • Temperatures can drop below freezing on some nights and rise to 20° C (68°F) during the day.
  • Plenty of rain is usually in the forecast.

Winter begins around the middle of November with the first snowfall, and lasts until the end of March or beginning of April.

  • Temperatures range from –25° to 5° C (-33° to 41° F), averaging from -10° to –5° C (14° to 23° F).
  • Bring a very warm jacket, gloves, scarf and hat for the winter months, and other warm sportswear.

It is very important that you wear appropriate clothing, especially in winter.  We recommend that you buy outdoor winter clothing. such as coats and boots in Canada, since these are manufactured according to Canadian weather standards. 

From the airport

Otherwise, you can take a taxi from the airport to Saint Paul University. It will cost you approximately CAN $35.00.