We know you probably have a lot of questions, and we’re here to help! We’ve listed out some of our frequently asked questions. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to contact a representative.
Do I need a visa for coming to Canada?
If you are studying for less than 6 months, you may need a Visitor’s visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depending on which country you are from.
If you are a foreign student and you are studying for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a study permit prior to your arrival in Canada. Tamwood will provide you with the necessary documents to apply for your study visa.
In most cases, we highly recommend to apply for a study permit. Please check Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for more information.
Which documents do I need to bring upon arrival in Canada?
Depending on if you need a Visitor’s visa, an Electronic Travel Authorization, or a study permit, you will need to present the following documents upon arrival in Canada:
• Valid passport
• Visa or eTA confirmation
• Letter of acceptance from Tamwood
• Confirmation of accommodation
• Return airline ticket
• Proof of sufficient funds
You will have to go through immigration and customs at your first point of entry into Canada (e.g. an airport where you have a layover when flying to your final destination). Make sure you have enough time to go through immigration during your layover.
When should I arrive in Canada?
We advise you to arrive in Canada 1-3 days in advance of your course start date. This will give you enough time to rest, settle in your accommodation, organize the first things, and adjust to your new life in Canada.
Courses typically start on a Monday, so it’s best to arrive between Friday and Sunday. Also, make sure to check with your accommodation about your move-in date.
How will I get from the airport to my accommodation?
If you request an airport transfer, a Tamwood representative will meet you at the airport. The representative will be holding up a sign with your name so please look out for this.
If you did not request an airport transfer, you can use a taxi service or commute to your desired location. For more information, please see:
Vancouver Public Transit
Toronto Public Transit
Whistler Tourism Information
How much money should I bring with me?
This depends on how long you are going to stay in Canada and where you plan on living. For a student, the Canadian government recommends CAN$10,000 per year or CAN$833 per month (in addition to tuition).
What are the living costs like in Canada?
This depends on where you will live in Canada and your personal preferences. It makes a big difference if you decide to stay in a shared room outside of Toronto or choose a private room in a homestay in popular Whistler.
Do I need medical insurance?
All students are required to have medical coverage upon arrival in Canada. If you request Tamwood to arrange for medical insurance, you will be insured through a company called Study Insured.
If you have a study or work permit for more than 6 months, then you can apply for the Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia or the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in Ontario.
Have a look at our Medical Care page for more information or contact a Tamwood representative.
Where will I live?
Tamwood has great student housing options: You can choose between staying with a homestay family, at a student residence, or even our own Student Residence in Whistler. Please see our student housing page for more information or contact our Accommodation Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You also have the option to search for your own accommodation, either in a hostel, an Airbnb, or also your own private or shared apartment. Have a look at Craigslist, Kijiji or the Facebook Marketplace.
Can I open a bank account in Canada?
Yes, you can open a bank account. You might need confirmation from Tamwood or your employer. Make sure to compare the different offers because some banks provide bank accounts at no charge for newcomers to Canada.
Here is a list of the five largest banks in Canada (Big Five):
• Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
• Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada Trust)
• Bank of Novia Scotia (Scotiabank / Tangerine)
• Bank of Montreal (BMO)
• Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC / Simplii Financial)
Download a copy of our ‘Before You Arrive’ checklists. For Work + Study students, click here; for Language Centre students, click here.
How can I pay?
You can pay online by Flywire, Credit Card, and bank transfer. If you come to one of our campuses, you can also pay by Debit Card or in cash.
Do I have to pay in full when booking my course?
When booking your course, you have to pay a deposit (consisting of an application fee and the tuition deposit). The rest of your program fees is due 30 days before your course start.
How can I commute between school and my accommodations?
We recommend you purchase a “Compass Card”, which will give you access to skytrains, the ferry, and buses. You have the option to get a monthly pass for more flexibility. For more information please visit the Translink website.
We recommend you purchase a BC Transit Pass for Whistler depending on your commuting needs. For more information please visit the BC Transit website.
We recommend you purchase the “Metro Pass” which will grant you access to subways, streetcars, and buses. For more information please visit the TTC website.
Is Canada a safe country?
In 2020, Canada has been ranked as the second safest country in the world (after Switzerland). Crime rates are low, police are trusted, emergency services are easy to contact and quick to respond. It is always recommended to apply some common sense when you travel (e.g., locking your valuables if you live in a shared room or apartment). During orientation, our Tamwood campus staff will also share information regarding your personal safety and security specific to the region you are living in.
Can I get a job while studying at Tamwood?
When you are a Language student and you have a study permit, you can work part-time (up to 20 hours a week) during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions. For more information, click here.
When you take part in one of our Career Courses, you can work part-time during your study term. Your Co-Operative (co-op) term will include a paid full-time work placement of a minimum of 480 hours.
You might also be eligible to apply for an open work permit. Find out here.
How can I find a job?
Finding a job in Canada is fairly easy as long as you are open and flexible. Canada has several popular online job boards, where you can look for jobs. For example: Indeed, Craigslist, Monster, Canadian Job Bank, and WorkBC. Tamwood also has its own Hot Jobs List as well as a co-op with Magnet, where you’ll be able to find new jobs every week.
As part of your Career Course, you are invited to join three valuable job workshops, which focus on preparing your application documents and getting you ready for the Canadian job market.
Our Work Placement Coordinator is also happy to look at your resume and assist you in finding a paid job as soon as possible.
Do I have to tip in Canada?
Yes, it is customary to tip in Canadian restaurants and bars. 15% of your bill is a good average, less for poor service, more for truly exceptional service.
Do I have to pay sales tax in Canada?
When you go shopping in Canada, keep in mind that sales tax is always added to the price you see on the tag. The goods and services tax (GST) is a 5% federal tax you pay on most goods and services you purchase in Canada. In some provinces, the GST has been combined with the provincial sales tax to create the harmonized sales tax (HST). HST rates vary by province and range from 5% – 15%.
British Columbia has 7% PST (Provincial Sales Tax) + 5% GST (Goods and services tax) = 12% total tax
Ontario has 13% HST (Harmonized sales tax = GST + provincial sales tax)
You can find more information here.
What will my first day at Tamwood look like?
On your first day at school, you will be welcomed by our Tamwood staff and it is made sure that you have all the necessary documents. Afterward, you will take a 1-hour written Placement test (either online or in-person) and a short speaking assessment. Together with a representative of the Club ESL, you will go on a short neighborhood tour to get to know your surroundings. When you return to school, you will have your orientation with our Campus Manager. Your first class will start after the lunch break.
On your first day at school, you will be welcomed by our Tamwood staff and it is made sure that you have all the necessary documents. You will also receive your “first-day package”. Together with our Work Placement Coordinator, you will go on a short neighborhood tour to get to know your surroundings and visit the local Services Canada office to receive your Social Insurance Number. When you return to school, you will have your orientation with our Campus Manager. Your first class will start the following Monday. You are also invited to join a Living and Working in Canada orientation the following Friday and three valuable workshops the following week (Resume Writing, Job Hunt and Interview Skills).
Please note that in accordance with Provincial Health Authorities, Tamwood has implemented a COVID-19 safety plan and made changes to your first day schedules and procedures. This means that most communication and the orientations will take place online for the time being. You will join in-school classes according to our staggered class schedules.
Have a look at our Orientation page for more information.
How will my English be assessed?
On your first day as a Language student, you will have to do our online Placement test and a short speaking test in person (pre-COVID-19). Don’t worry, this is only to make sure that you start at the right level! You won’t need to do any official language test (like the IELTS) before joining the program.
Will my English improve?
100%, yes! Tamwood has a strict English only policy to encourage students to speak English in school and outside of school. We will provide you with all the resources you need to guarantee your progress but will ask that you do your part too and practice English as much as you can.
Can I study at Tamwood as a beginner?
Yes, you can! We offer private tuition from Tamwood Level 1 (beginner) and English classes from Tamwood Level 2 (advanced beginner).
Where are Tamwood students from?
Tamwood is a multicultural school with students from over thirty different countries spanning seven regions of the world. When choosing a course with Tamwood, you are destined to make friends from all over the world!
How many students on average are in each class?
For our Career programs, the maximum is 24 and on average, there are 18 students per class.
For our Language programs, there is a maximum of 18 and an average of 14 students per class.
Is there someone to talk to in my mother language?
Tamwood has native speakers for most common languages (e.g. English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and German). Feel free to contact us if you need assistance in any of these languages.
Does Tamwood arrange social activities for after class?
Yes! You can browse our activity schedules per location or the activities section of our website. You can also speak to the Activity Coordinator if you want to sign up or participate in a more active role. Tamwood Rangers coordinate social events and help their peers settle in their life at Tamwood.
Can I take a vacation from studying?
Students must notify the Campus Manager in writing at least 2 weeks prior to the planned vacation. Tamwood allows students to take one vacation break (only if the enrolment period exceeds 12 weeks). The maximum vacation length is 2 weeks. There will be no refunds for the time missed in class.
Will I receive a certificate?
Yes, you will receive a certificate upon course completion. Please make sure to always keep up with your course work and don’t miss too many classes because attendance is also important.
Will I have to quarantine?
Yes, when arriving from outside of Canada, it is mandatory to self-isolate for 14 days and to complete a self-isolation plan upon arrival. During this time, you are not allowed to leave your accommodation and you have to limit all contact with other people. You should have a private bedroom and if possible, your own bathroom. Make sure that you have enough food, medications, and cleaning supplies for this time and somebody, who would support you if you need anything. Find more information here.
What steps are taken to ensure safety during COVID-19?
In accordance with Provincial Health Authorities, Tamwood has implemented and communicated a COVID-19 safety plan. This includes training staff on risk management and protocols, enhanced cleaning schedules, controls at all entry points, providing hand sanitizers and physical distancing measurements like traffic patterns, class and common room occupancy limits, and a redesigned working and learning spaces.