International Students

International Students

Studying in Guelph

The communities in Guelph and Wellington County are vibrant, open and welcoming and have a lot to offer students who come to study here from across Canada and the world. There is a wealth of cultural and artistic events and sports activities on offer. Guelph has an easily accessible public transportation system, a variety of restaurants bars and pubs, a Farmer’s Market, live music and much more. All of this contributes to the sense of community enjoyed by both visitors and residents. Guelph has also been declared one of the safest cities in Canada and one of the smartest communities in our country. Guelph is home to two renowned post-secondary institutions: The University of Guelph and Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

Getting Ready to Study in Canada

The Government of Canada is responsible for evaluating and issuing study permits for international students. The Province of Ontario provides information about what documents you need to gather to apply for college or university in Ontario. To find answers to common questions about studying in Canada visit For specific information about the University of Guelph, Conestoga College, and about coming to Guelph and Wellington County as an International High School student, see the relevant sections below.

Staying in Canada after Graduation

A vibrant community of over 120,000 people, Guelph is ranked among the top ten places to live in Canada. Guelph is rich in culture, architecture, parks and riverside green spaces. In 2009 Guelph was also named one of the country’s smartest communities, its safest city, and Canada’s volunteer capital. If you would like to stay in Guelph after graduation, check out the “Working in Canada” section of the portal. You will also need a post graduation work permit, or you can apply for one of the permanent resident programs.  The Government of Canada is responsible for issuing these permits.

The University of Guelph

The Office of Intercultural Affairs – Support for International Students

Support for international students at the University of Guelph begins with the Office of Intercultural Affairs (OIA). The OIA, in the Department of Student Life, serves the campus community by fostering an environment of intercultural competency and celebrating spiritual, religious and cultural diversity.

A key pillar for the office is ensuring international students feel at home at the University, in Guelph and in Canada. To achieve this goal, the OIA offers intentionally designed programming and services to assist the growth, development and learning needs of undergraduate and graduate International students.

The Office of Intercultural Affairs looks forward to welcoming you to Canada, and providing support during your time at the University of Guelph.

Studying a the University of Guelph

A summary of information for International Students can be found in the International Handbook.

The admissions page gives information about the rules, regulations, curricula, programs and fees for the current academic year, transfer credits, admission requirements, and important dates. You can also find information about the application process and funding your education. Specific information for international students can be found in the International section.

Conestoga College

Conestoga College is consistently ranked among the best colleges in Ontario and is a leading provider of career-focused education and training programs.

The college has campuses and training centres across the region, including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.  Approximately 850 international students from more than 50 countries study at Conestoga each year. You can find information about the programs and services which Conestoga offers to newcomers to Canada here.

International Students gain the skills and knowledge they need to start an exciting career in Canada.

Read more about the International Students program and learn about available programs, entry requirements, dates, and payment options and be sure to download the International Information Brochure for Students.

International High School Students

In Canada, children start school elementary or primary school at age six. Secondary, or High School is attended by children aged 14-18.

The Upper Grand District School Board and the Wellington Catholic District School Board are responsible for primary and secondary education in Guelph and Wellington County. International Students are welcome to participate in short and long term programs and can benefit from English as a Second Language instruction, group programs, extracurricular activities and an introductory visit to the Universities and Colleges in the area.

On the Upper Grand District School Board’s website you will find a guide to provide international students with insight and help for understanding Canadian culture and the educational system. Information on how to apply, the homestay program, social and sports activites, and for a list of dates for the Canadian school year are also found on this page.

If you have questions about the International Elementary or High School program see this list of Frequently Asked Questions or contact the School Board (519) 822-4590 or by email to: [email protected].

The Wellington Catholic District School Board provides an English Language Learners Program for students whose first language is not English. Wellington Catholic welcomes all new families into the Catholic community.

Information about Guelph’s French School can be found here.

Also check out’s education guides.

Meet Current International Students in Guelph

Payal Serajum Monira

2nd Year; Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics

Payal Serajum MoniraHello! My name is Payal. I was born to Bangladeshi and Indian parents in Qatar, where I’ve been raised almost all my life. When I visited Guelph for campus tours, I found it to be really nice and mellow. The people were really friendly and I got a sense of a closely knit community. This was something I really wanted to experience having grown up in a big city.

Even before visiting Guelph in person, the city appealed to me because of its student-focused ambiance. The university has many programs and activities every semester that make you feel really accepted. I also loved how Guelph welcomes cuisines from every part of the world; which I enjoy, being a great foodie.

You’ll never regret choosing this place to study. The country and city are very welcoming to international students and there is something for everyone here. If you do come here, I encourage you to explore the diversity this place offers and enjoy experiencing Canadian culture. Be it hockey or curling, maple syrup or even Tim Hortons (coffee shop), you don’t want to miss out on anything.

Pallak Arora

3rd Year; International Development (Political Economy and Administrative Change) minoring in Geography

Hi! I’m Pallak.  As an international student from India, I did not have a chance to visit the University of Guelph before I made my decision to come here. However, I fell in love with the vibrant campus the moment I saw the international students’ handbook. It seemed like a colorful place where I would be happy; an instant bond with the campus was formed!

Guelph is ‘notoriously’ known for making people fall in love with it! I love the community feel that I get on campus and in the city. It didn’t take me long before I started referring to it as “my home!”

Moving to a new country is a very significant (perhaps the most significant) decision that you will ever make in your life. So I would recommend coming with an open mind and being open to asking and receiving questions about cultural expectations, and learning as you go. Transitioning is going to be hard for a lot of you but be patient, believe in your abilities, and don’t shy away from seeking support! There is lots of that out here 🙂

Nishanthy Balasubramaniyam (Nisha)

1st Year; Master’s Program in Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics (International Development Studies)

Hello, I’m Nisha. I’m an international student from Sri Lanka. My reason for choosing the University of Guelph was especially because of my graduate program. Since coming to Guelph, I have never regretted my choice. The instructors in my grad program have helped me to understand depth of theoretical concepts and expand my knowledge through application.

My favorite thing about the University and City of Guelph is the openness, diversity of culture and appreciation of each individual. There are many intercultural programs on campus as well as programs specifically for international students that have helped me acclimatize to Canadian culture. The transition program helped me feel less homesick. There is so much to do here, from apple-picking to Christmas parties. Guelph gives you a chance to learn about the world outside while studying in a friendly environment.

Rafael Sanches Spurio

1st year;  PhD in Food Science

Hi! I’m Rafael, an international student from Brazil. The University of Guelph is one of the best universities in the world for Food Science (I think it is ranked 5th) among other programs. It is a prestigious, research-intensive institution with some of the most advanced equipment for research. It also has a full inspected research facilities which very few universities can afford to have.

My favorite thing about the university is its connection with the industry and the organizational structure which solves a lot of funding issues and makes the research easier for PhD students. The city of Guelph is gorgeous, peaceful and safe. It is a city that welcomes immigrants from all over the world. And in addition, the people here are so polite! It is a place that provides the unique experience of connecting with many cultures. Canada is ranked 8th in per capita income and 11th in human development index, so it is a very good place to live. I love it here.

Some practical advice for you: When trying to find a place to live, look for places near supermarkets and close to the university. Save some money for security deposits when you arrive because you will not have a credit history. Finally keep in touch with other international students and the Office of Intercultural affairs who can give you advice on many transition issues (for example health insurance). Choose Guelph! You won’t regret it.

Olamide Oladoyin

2nd Year; Human Kinetics (Minor in Family and Child Studies)

My name is Olamide Oladoyin. I’m from Nigeria and I am of the Yoruba tribe. I moved to Guelph because I had never experienced the Eastern part of Canada and I wanted to see what it was like. Also, Guelph is a great choice because it is a small city and that reduces the amount of distractions around. Being a student, it helps me stay focused on school. What I like about Guelph is its diversity. There are students and residents from so many places in the world, that it is unbelievable. You get to learn something new about somewhere in the world almost every day.

This is my second year in Guelph and there’s still so much for me to see. I would encourage everyone to get as much done in Guelph as possible whether you’re here temporarily or a full degree. There are a lot of sites and attractions; my favorite is the food. Guelph, especially the downtown area, has a wide variety of foods. It’s all so tasty too. I have to say, Guelph is growing on me.

Advice for students

Why did you choose Guelph?

What do you miss about home?

Would you recommend Guelph?