International Student Services (ISS)

U of A Plus Program

U of A+ students discuss course

U of A+ students discuss course materials in class

U of A+ students learn about the fur trade at Fort Edmonton Park

U of A+ students visit Fort Edmonton Park to learn about Canada

Students canoe during the U of A+ program

U of A+ students learn how to canoe

U of A+ students attend academic sessions

U of A+ students attend academic session

U of A+ students learn about volunteer work

U of A+ students learn the benefits of volunteering

Get a running start at UAlberta with U of A+!

Overcome the unique challenges of being a new international student — living in a new culture, adapting to a new learning environment — Register for U of A+; it is the program for you!

The U of A+ program introduces you to the University's academic culture and clarifies what is expected of you in a Canadian university classroom. 

Through a series of classes, workshops, and peer-led activities, you will develop skills to help you succeed in the Canadian post-secondary system. It's also a great way to connect with other students and build lasting friendships.

Due to COVID 19, for 2020, we are incorporating the best features of the UofA+ program into our Online Orientation, available on eClass. There is no cost to new students, and it is accessible from anywhere you may be in the world. We expect the U of A+ program to resume in 2021. 


View the program 

Who Can Register?

Students from all faculties are welcome. Register if you:

  • Are first-year international student coming to the University of Alberta
  • Are enrolled in an undergraduate degree, bridging program, visiting or exchange student
  • Have a valid study permit upon arrival
  • Are new to Canada's academic culture

What you will learn:

  • How to work with students from different cultures 
  • What are Canadian classroom expectations
  • To familiarize yourself with your new academic culture
  • How to write academic essays and reports 
  • How to communicate appropriately with your professors
  • How to build your resume and plan for your future career in Canada
  • Volunteer experience/field trip: Get to know Edmonton's culture, experience teamwork activities and make friends! 

Here's What's Planned

Canadian Academic Writing 

Learn the cultural expectations of North American academic writing, common discipline-specific writing genres, and the components of the writing process. From understanding an assignment description to producing a detailed outline. Tutors will identify the various writing and research support services available across campus. Instructors will give individual feedback on student writing. Examples and exercises will be tailored to individual classes (e.g. Engineering examples for the Engineering group, ALES examples for ALES students, etc.). All students will receive some instruction on how to write for English courses. 

Instruction will include (but will not be restricted to) the following topics: grammar, building an outline, types of essays and assignments, self-editing process, summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting, writing in the disciplines, the culture of writing, and different strategies for writing an in-class essay. 

A Dramatic Approach to Communication 

Learn how to develop an awareness of your potential to communicate with passion, power, and purpose. Through active engagement in a variety of exercises, you will learn how to enhance your range of vocal and physical expression, develop an awareness of the cultural expectations of the Canadian classroom, and discover ways to feel confident, relaxed and able to thoroughly participate in your Canadian experience both on and off-campus.

Critical Thinking: Thinking for Yourself, with Others 

This session includes a series of activities, group work, and discussions which aim to help you start to learn about: 

  • Working productively in groups
  • Being comfortable speaking and listening in groups
  • Identifying and forming good questions for discussion
  • Thinking critically about ideas by, e.g., identifying reasons, listing assumptions, raising examples
  • Critically self-assessing your thinking; i.e., think at the 'meta-level', about your own thinking

How to Talk to Your Professor

Learn one of the keys to academic success — knowing when and how to talk to your professor.  Professors want you to succeed!  Jack Zupko, Ph.D. — Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department will help you get the most out of your interactions with professors both inside and outside the classroom.

Achieving your Career Goals: Making the most of your university experience

If you hope to stay in Canada after graduation and find a good job, to be competitive, you need more than just your post-secondary education. You need Canadian work experience, proficient English language skills and a professional network. In this session, learn about potential career opportunities and what employers look for in potential candidates, by participating in different activities throughout the academic year. 

The University of Alberta Career Centre is a student service and your resource for career and employment information and expertise. They provide essential links between those looking for work and those looking to hire. Learn about the programs that can help you achieve your employment goals including U of A Job Shadow Week, Career Mentoring Program, Transition to Career (T2C), Employer Information Sessions, the Arts Work Experience Program (AWE) and the ALES Internship Program.

What to Expect Studying at UAlberta

You must have expectations of what life will be like as a UAlberta student and you are excited about it.  In the next four to five years, you will go through many new moments and your expectations may be different from what you will experience. With International Student Specialists, students learn how to transit to a Canadian university as an international student, the academic culture differences, the strategies they can use to help them succeed, and how to use the many on-campus resources and services. Through stories, activities, and discussions, students are prepared for the learning path on how to adapt themselves to the new academic culture and how to use different campus resources to support themselves.

The Pragmatics of Working in the Canadian Context

Most students start university with hopes to find employment at the end.  Whether you plan to stay in Canada or go back to your home country, having work experience will increase your chances.  To do that, it is important to ask "What do organizations and jobs expect of employees, and how does that look?"  This session explores the unwritten rules of a Canadian workplace.  We will discuss what initiative, promotability and teamwork look like. This session will clarify how, in Canada, it is not your technical job skills that get you the position, but how you interact with work colleagues.  

Surviving Cultural Transition 

For some, this may be the first time you experience a “foreign” culture on your own. While it is an exciting experience, you may come across challenges in this new culture.  Your focus on new cultural experiences combined with a new academic culture can result in a lot of mental, emotional and cultural stress. This session, a two-part series, aims to provide an opportunity to think about perceptions and discuss different ways to communicate while introducing tools to help your cultural transition, to better understand and leverage your own cultural identity.

Expectations and Accountability – strategies for success in an academic community

Students coming from other countries can be surprised by some of the cultural differences they encounter in Canada. This session talks about how students conduct themselves both in their academic work and in the University community so that everyone has the same opportunities to succeed. Using stories, discussions, and videos, presenters will discuss academic integrity strategies. 

Library Session 

We have one of the largest University libraries in North America and we know that finding good information for your studies can be complex and confusing. But don't worry, our library staff really enjoy helping people!  Attending this session will help you  learn: 

  • The many facets of our library system
  • A variety of ways to search our library and
  • How it is different than just going online (e.g. Google, Baidu, etc) 
  • Library locations and spaces for study and research
  • Useful amenities: e.g. textbooks to borrow, printing, computers to use

Healthy U! Session 

Welcome to the U of A! You are probably excited about moving to Canada and starting a new academic program. Many of you may also feel nervous or stressed, and at a later time, some of you may experience homesickness (missing home) and loneliness. It is easy to forget the significance of our mental health when we are busy adjusting to a new life, but good mental health is very important for personal well-being and academic success. Several strategies can improve mental health; we will share these strategies and several helpful resources with you!

Immigration Basics

This session provides you with important information to safely navigate your way through the immigration regulations in Canada. It can help you understand the conditions of your stay and how to maintain your student status while in Canada. 


If you have any questions, please email us at