New Brunswick (Fredericton University)

  • by Sam Wood

Students Going to Canada: Get this at the top of your TO-DO LIST!

THE STORY: FIRST AND FOREMOST, the  processing time for a Canadian study permit can  vary tremendously! I had my flight booked for 25th  August 2012, having only applied for my permit 2  weeks before. After I applied I noticed for the first  time on the Canadian government website that  study permits usually take 6 -10 weeks to  process:squeaky.bum.time.

I had applied for my study permit 14 days  before I was due to travel (and there was no way I  was going to cancel my non-refundable £700  flights), meaning I needed those 6-10 weeks to be  more like 6-10 days! Although I had filled out my  permit immaculately, every detail 100% correct,  every question answered perfectly, my aspiration to  study in New Brunswick for the year was looking as  bleak as a weekend summer escape to Hull (sorry  Walnut!).

I had heard tales from the storytellers,  mythmakers and legend-creators of old that some  permits could take 3 months to process, some 3  hours. I was father time’s bitch. However, a  miraculous event occurred (perhaps the most  miraculous event since the outcome of the Michael  Jackson court case in 2005) in which my study  permit was authorised within 5 days! No words can  describe how lucky I felt and how joyous I was. It  felt like I had scored the winning penalty against  Germany in the World Cup Final! CLOSE ONE! I am  now starting my second term at the University of  New Brunswick, Fredericton having the time of my  life! Anything and everything is possible on your  year abroad and the opportunities are endless!  Canadians are just the warmest of people, especially  here in the Maritimes. But I know I speak on behalf  of all the third year students studying in North  America at the moment when I say that everyone  (Canadian and American) is just so incredibly nice.

ADVICE: apply for your study permit as  early as possible! Do it before you book flights and  finalise your living arrangements! HOW? I applied for my study permit online using the Canadian  government website (www.cic.gc.ca) and went  through the necessary steps. The format has  changed slightly this year for online applications,  but the concept is the same.

First, you will be asked to register for “GC  KEY” which creates you a preliminary account for  applying for visas and study permits.

Second, you will enrol in “MyCIC” which is  the formal start of your study permit. The steps to  do this are easy and can be done quickly, but be  sure to remember your username and password  though!

Third, you will do the bulk of the permit in  the same way as an online interview. A number of  personal and security questions will be asked and  you will be timed to answer them (like when you  book tickets for an event online and it times you).  Don’t worry though! You can save your details and  come back to it another day, so the timing on your  computer screen isn’t really an issue!

Fourth, you will complete your online study  permit having double-checked your details and then  submit it to the embassy in London. The cost in  2012 was $125 CAD (£80) so get your cards ready,  and make sure you keep 2 copies of the receipt, just  in case!

Fifth, you are at the mercy of father time,  just like I was! Do yourself a favour and don’t do  what I did. In fact, the perfect way to apply for a  study permit is to do the opposite of everything I  did really. Don’t let the study permit get away from  your to-do list or put it off like I did. But at the same  time, don’t worry about it so much that it gets you  down. It really is an easy process! Once you fill it  out and get it submitted, all you have to do is get  unbelievably excited about all the fun you will have.  So don’t let the dreaded study permit get in the way  of one of the best years of your life!

Sam Wood is back at UoB studying ACS and History  (JH)

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