by Fazreen Razeek
Canada is a top study abroad destination for international students. The North American country is recognized for its top-notch quality of education. It is home to internationally acclaimed universities, including the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta, and the University of British Columbia.
Although studying abroad is an exciting opportunity, it is also common for students to feel overwhelmed. It can be challenging to simultaneously sort out your student visa documents while finding housing accommodations, selecting your classes, and learning how to pay for your education in Canada.
For this reason, we have prepared a list of must-have tools for international students. The suggestions listed below can help you manage your workload and adjust to your new environment quickly. Then, you will simply have to focus on your studies and the future that awaits you in Canada!
Plus: Bookmark These Tips!
When you think about “learning tools,” you might picture something old-fashioned, like a textbook or a calculator. However, a learning tool can also be a free mobile app that reinforces your communication skills, encourages you to study successfully, or helps you find correct answers while you are completing coursework.
If English is not your first language, but you need to complete assignments in English, then these tools might be helpful in communicating your ideas to peers and teachers, as well. You can learn to strengthen your arguments and organize your thoughts. Learn to accommodate your new country’s way of teaching, which might be quite different from what you were used to at home.
These tools help students work through concepts while encouraging them to demonstrate their thinking, decision-making, and planning abilities.
Some learning and studying tools include:
- Skillshare: This app connects you with individual classes that can elevate your skills in just about any subject. In particular, it can help you hone your creative abilities and enhance your presentation skills. Design skills can help you demonstrate your thought process if you feel limited by your English. Each lesson is accompanied by a small assignment that lets you test what you have learned through practical application. Skillshare is an excellent platform for building your talent in areas like animation, photography, graphic design, and more.
- GoConqr: Everyone has a unique learning style—and your grades are certain to improve if you can identify the one that matches you best. GoConqr helps you figure out what works for you by creating your own learning resources such as slides, quizzes, flashcards, notes, and more. Additionally, this app lets you practice working with others and communicating ideas.
- Brilliant: But what happens if your professor’s teaching style does not match your learning style? You might need to discover ways to study the lessons yourself. Brilliant is a tool that helps students learn mathematical and scientific concepts through application rather than memorization. A comprehensive understanding is the first step to expressing your intelligence to others.
- Wolfram|Alpha: Sometimes you simply need to come up with the correct answer, quickly. Using a large database of algorithms and computational intelligence, this tool can help you solve equations in fields ranging from engineering to math.
All college students run into trouble with organization and scheduling; sometimes, there is so much going on in the classroom, at work, and in your social life that it is hard to fit everything in. It might be okay if something falls through the cracks in your social life, but you do not want a busy schedule to hurt your GPA. Thankfully, there are plenty of technological solutions to help you avoid that.
When it comes to managing your workload, Asana
offers several advantages. This project management tool is perfect for managing your own work, as well as group projects. Plus, this is a tool that many of your future employers might use—giving you an advantage when you enter the workforce. Asana lets you assign tasks to yourself or others, track progress through a set of steps, and meet deadlines (with notifications about when to get started and when something is due).
Another option is Google Drive
. This is a widely used co-working tool that is available online and offline. The cool thing about keeping documents and projects live online, though, is that multiple users can access the same project and make changes together. Within Google Drive, you will find many tools you might recognize from offline business platforms like Microsoft Suite (including slides, spreadsheets, and blank documents). Many university programs require students to participate in group presentations, essays, collaborative research, and so on. With Google Drive’s simple sharing options and distinct editing tools, you will have a way to successfully collaborate on group projects and track contributions.
As a bonus, think outside of the box…
Productivity tools can help students to meet their deadlines more effectively. But there are many ways to think about productivity. For example, Google Maps
is an important tool for productivity because it can store addresses and help you locate the places you need to be, with efficient directions updated in real-time. But you are probably thinking about something that sends you reminders to do your homework! So first, you should identify the areas where you need the most help.
Writing tools allow students to record, organize, and file important information. This will come in handy for taking notes during class, and it will also help you turn those notes into impressive essays.
One very popular writing tool is Evernote.
This is a useful note-taking tool that helps students record, organize, file, and share lecture notes. Another option is Grammarly
, a tool that ensures your writing is polished and there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. This can be a big help for international students! The best part is that you can either use it as a browser extension or add it to Microsoft Word.
When you are in college, you will spend a lot of time thinking about your future career. There are countless websites that connect students with career-related resources and guidance.
But the most prominent of them all is LinkedIn.
It is never too early to set-up a LinkedIn account; in fact, you should definitely join this career-search platform before you are actively looking for a job. That will give you time to engage socially with others in your field of interest. You can begin to grow your network.
LinkedIn not only allows you to connect with industry professionals, it also lets you follow specific businesses (for example, if you want to track job openings and important company-wide developments).
This platform also lets you upload your résumé
and advertise your specific skills. This tool is widely used by job recruiters, so make sure that you complete your profile thoroughly and honestly. Then, be sure to update your account regularly with any new classes you have taken or the experience you have gained.
Safety is paramount when you are getting settled in a new country. The good news is that there are tons of apps that promote personal safety and well-being.
Circle of Six
is an app that helps students to stay connected with their friends and family by way of GPS. Users get to choose six contacts to include in their “circle”—and these will be the people who can quickly find, call, or text you if needed. Not only can you immediately geo-locate your contacts in the event of an emergency, the app also lets you send an instant call for help with just the touch of a button. Similar location-based student safety apps include React Mobile
(which links to a portable “panic button”) and bSafe
, an app that includes sirens, check-in timers, and several ways of sending an SOS.
Obviously, one of the most important parts of studying abroad in North America is figuring out how you will pay for everything. That not only includes your travel, but also tuition, textbooks, meal plans, housing, and more! Thankfully, there are many places to look for loans and scholarships that were created with immigrants and international students in mind.
Start by learning what opportunities might be available to with the WES Scholarship Finder
. This scholarship tool provides a list of potential funding options based on your prior education and country of origin. You can also broaden your chances by exploring all potential financial aid avenues. For example, you may also want to download the newly published e-guide about Financial Aid at Canadian Colleges and Universities
There are many reasons that you might have difficulty adapting as an international student in Canada
. But thanks to an impressive array of apps, websites, and computer programs, you will have access to all of the essential tools that you could possibly need to succeed.
The 15 must-have tools listed here are just a few recommendations; however, companies are constantly developing new technology that would be useful for college students. With a little experimentation, you will be able to choose the tools that work best for you. Remember, there is something to complement everyone’s unique learning style.