An Update for International Students on Fall 2020 Plans

Dear International Students,

I hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this uncertain time. Whether you are here in London, elsewhere in Canada, studying abroad in another country, or at home with your family, please know your Western family is thinking about you.

For those who have been part of our community for some time, we are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus whenever it is safe to do so. For those who will be joining us this September, we can’t wait to welcome you to our incredible Western community.

COVID-19 is proving to be a serious disruption for all of us, and we know the impact has been particularly hard for international students.

Many of you have been coping with significant stress and difficulties these last few months and we know that you may be continuing to experience challenges as you navigate immigration regulations, travel restrictions, financial considerations and University decisions that have an impact on your academic goals.

Below you will find some important updates to help address some of your concerns.

International students are a critical part of the fabric of diversity and global perspectives that make Western such an incredible community. The Western experience is fuelled by passionate and creative people like you – the best and brightest from around the world – who are committed to excellence and who seek to make a difference.

We are committed to doing whatever we can to help you achieve your academic goals despite these difficult circumstances. Additional questions and answers on the topics above and more are available at  iesc.uwo.ca/COVID-19-FAQs.html

For now, take care, stay safe and please reach out to our Western International team at iesc@uwo.ca should you need assistance.

Sincerely,



W. James (Jim) WeeJim Weese, Acting Vice-Provost Internationalse, Ph.D
Acting Vice-Provost and
Associate Vice-President (International)

 

 

 


Immigration

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made a number of announcements in recognition of some of these challenges and we are encouraged that the government has implemented new policies and processes in response to COVID-19. 

However, we are well aware that barriers still exist for many students. In cooperation with our Canadian university partners, we are working hard to advocate on your behalf and try to clear a path for you to begin, or continue, your studies while also being eligible to work while studying or apply for a post-graduation work permit, wherever possible. 

You likely have many questions and every student’s individual circumstances may be different. We’ve put together a detailed webpage with questions and answers regarding study permits and other immigration issues, travel, arrival and quarantine, work eligibility, and a number of other important considerations.

In addition, our licensed team of immigration advisors within Western International are available to assist you with your questions and to help you better understand the implications of IRCC regulations specific to your individual circumstances. Please contact iesc@uwo.ca for assistance.


Fall Term Plans and Learning Remotely

We are working as hard as we can to ensure that our classes, programs, academic experiences and co-curricular activities are as enriching and as fulfilling as possible, and live up to the high standards you expect from Western, regardless if you are able to be on campus or if you are learning remotely.

Our Centre for Teaching and Learning, together with Western Technology Services, is working throughout the summer to prepare for much enhanced online learning support the Fall Term. We will be encouraging faculty to plan for asynchronous learning opportunities wherever possible to accommodate learners in different time zones.

In particular, our team is looking at the accessibility of online tools in different countries, and ensuring students will have the access to the academic materials, videoconferencing, online learning modules and other supports to enhance your learning experience. 


Travel, Arrival and Quarantine

For those already in Canada and anticipating living in one of our on-campus residences, we are working now to make sure your residence experience will be safe, comfortable and enriching. Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of public areas, physical distancing measures, and changes to our meal service and dining hall procedures are being put in place. If you have questions about your residence experience for the upcoming year, please visit Western's Residence FAQ page

For those coming from abroad who will be able to travel to Canada for the start of the term, we are making arrangements to support you during the mandatory 14-day quarantine. For those planning to live in residence, early move-in will take place between August 13 and August 18. Students will stay in residence during their quarantine period free of charge. Meal service and other supports will be available to help you settle and be safe and comfortable during this time. 

For those planning to live off campus, our intention is to develop similar supports. If you do not have a place to live until September 1, or that location isn’t suitable for self-quarantine, the University is looking to arrange accommodation on your behalf and exploring other services you may require.

A survey to determine who may be arriving from abroad will be sent to all international students in mid-June, so that we can understand your needs and prepare to support you.


Student Support, Co-Curricular Activity and Community Connection

Our dedicated faculty and staff stand ready to help you succeed in your academic goals, and to make your Western experience the best it can be.

Important support services will be available to you when you begin or resume your studies, including peer support programs offered through Western International and Western Student Experience.

Virtual social and community programs will continue to provide opportunities to connect with your peers in meaningful ways, and to build friendships and support networks.

For new undergraduate students, Western has launched a new Thriving Foundations program to help your transition to university. This includes Smart Start: Academics, a one-month online program that will reinforce key concepts in Grade 12 STEM courses and English skills, while connecting you with fellow students in your program.

In addition, our Western International team will offer a number of orientation, welcome and transition supports just for you.

Western International, the Office of the Registrar, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Western Student Experience, and many more areas across our university are working hard to plan for the Fall, with a range of services to meet your academic and personal development needs.

In the meantime, a new Student Resources Hub has been built to provide you with quick links to academic and non-academic learning, services and opportunities throughout the summer.


Please connect with our Western International team if you have additional questions or concerns now or in the coming months.