Health and support services
If you need help, just ask
Moving to a new country isn’t always easy. That’s why most universities, colleges and education institutions offer dedicated support services to help international students adjust to life in Canada and make the most of your study (and holiday) time.
The Canadian Federation of Students and Canadian Alliance of Student Associations are also great resources – you can visit their websites to find out more about how they help students, and advocate to government on your behalf.
Staying healthy while you study
You might find yourself in need of medical support while living in Canada.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents access health services through the country’s public healthcare system, but it’s up to the individual provinces to determine if temporary residents like international students receive the same benefits. It’s likely you will need some sort of public or private health insurance plan to minimise waiting periods or exceptions.
If you are bringing medication with you to Canada, you should also carry a letter or prescription from your doctor, and double check the Government of Canada website for any extra requirements before leaving.
Finding a local doctor
Your local doctor will be able to provide confidential, basic healthcare if you’re sick, and also help prevent future health issues. They can also refer you to a specialist if needed.
To find a local doctor, you can:
· Ask someone you know
· Contact an immigration support service
· Contact a community health centre in your area to see who is available
· Visit a walk-in medical clinic.
Visiting a dentist
The best way to find a dentist is usually by searching online or asking someone you know. Remember, dental care is not available for free under government health insurance, so you might want to arrange extra insurance to cover any dental costs.
What to do in an emergency
If you need urgent medical help, you need to go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital or call 911.
It’s free to call 911 and all emergency medical services are free in hospitals. Depending on where you live and your situation, there may be a fee for the ambulance service.
If you have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or allergies to medication, you might wish to wear a medical necklace or bracelet with your medical information on it.
If you are studying in the UK for longer than six months, you can generally access the following treatments (and some others) free through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS):
• Some emergency treatment (but not follow-up treatment)
• Family planning services
• Diagnosis and treatment of certain communicable diseases
To qualify for free or discounted NHS treatment, you must meet certain conditions and pay an additional International Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. To find out more, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
Don’t forget to register with a GP You should register with a local doctor as soon as you can after arriving in the UK, as they will be able to help you with a wide range of health problems.
To register, you will need to visit the doctor’s clinic during consulting hours, and show them:
• a letter from your institution, as proof that you are a student
• your passport
• any loose immigration documents
It’s important to let them know you want treatment from the NHS (provided you are eligible) so you avoid paying the full (private) cost of treatment
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