2010-2011 Intl Student Handbook

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2010-2011 Intl Student Handbook Powered By Docstoc
					Nova Scotia Agricultural College
International Student Handbook
                     Table of Contents
Welcome from the Dean of Internationalization ............. 3
Registration .................................................................... 5
International Student Services ....................................... 7
WUSC ............................................................................ 9
Passports and Visas ...................................................... 9
Coming to Canada ....................................................... 11
Visiting the United States from Canada ....................... 11
Social Insurance Number ............................................. 11
Employment in Canada ................................................ 12
Canadian Currency ...................................................... 14
Banking ........................................................................ 15
Money Management Hints ........................................... 17
Clothing ........................................................................ 18
Ten Survival Tips for Winter ......................................... 19
Books ........................................................................... 20
Laundry ........................................................................ 20
Shopping ...................................................................... 21
Legal Rights ................................................................. 21
Laws, Legal Offenses and Charges ............................. 22
Transportation .............................................................. 24
International Student Identification Card ...................... 26
Health and Medical Care .............................................. 27
Communication Services ............................................. 28
Telephones .................................................................. 29
Computer Access ......................................................... 30
Fax ............................................................................... 30
Housing ........................................................................ 31
Counseling Services .................................................... 33
Settling Into the Canadian Environment ...................... 34
Visiting a Canadian Home ............................................ 37
Entertainment/Recreation ............................................ 38
Tipping .......................................................................... 40
Day Care ...................................................................... 40
Religion ........................................................................ 41
Public Holidays in Canada .......................................... 42
Appendix A: .................................................................. 43
Appendix B: .................................................................. 45
Appendix C: .................................................................. 47

      2           International Student Handbook
This handbook has been prepared by the Nova Scotia Agricultural
College to assist you in settling into your new environment. We
encourage you to read this handbook thoroughly before arriving. It
contains information you will find useful. This document accompanies the
2010-2011 Student Handbook, which is provided to you at registration
and is available at the NSAC website nsac.ca/stuserv/handbooks

Welcome from the Dean of
A warm welcome to the Nova Scotia Agricultural
College! We are pleased that you have chosen to
study at our institution. We trust that your time at
NSAC will be a rewarding educational experience as
well as a time for personal development. You will
form life-long friendships and networks.

Since being founded more than a century ago, NSAC
has always been committed to providing high quality
education in agriculture and related disciplines.
NSAC has a broad range of programs, including
                                                            Dr. Nancy Pitts
science-based Bachelor‟s degrees, applied
                                                                Dean of
Bachelors of Technology degrees, practical-focused        Internationalization
technical diplomas as well as advanced Masters
level graduate training in agriculture, food, and environmental issues.

By some measures our institution is small. We have under 1000 students
and close to 100 faculty and instructional staff. It is this favourable
student to instructor ratio that allows many professors get to know their
students by name. Instructors are concerned about the progress of their
students and welcome you to approach them with your questions and
concerns. One of the strengths of NSAC is that our small size allows us
to be student-focused while offering an education focused on
technological applications to real-life problems.

NSAC has become widely known for its research activity. You will often
interact with active researchers and will have the opportunity to do your

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.               3
own research investigation. Research is all about learning at the edge of
existing knowledge. Who knows what you will discover and learn?!

I hope you will take advantage of the non-academic aspects of NSAC as
well. You have the opportunity to be involved in sports and a wide range
of student groups. Have you ever considered joining a drama club? Or
working on a student newspaper? I encourage you to explore new and
fun ways to complement your classroom learning.

For many decades we have had international students on our campus.
We have a number of specialized services to support you as an
international student. Mr. Mark Mason, International and Student
Exchange Coordinator, is one of the people who can help answer your
questions or re-direct you to someone else at NSAC who can better
respond to your question.

We are pleased to welcome you to our community of learners. I hope
that your time at NSAC is beneficial in your overall career plans and a
pleasant personal experience. I look forward to meeting you in person!

All the best,

Dr Nancy Pitts, P.Ag.
Dean of Internationalization and Associate Professor, Chemistry

                4   International Student Handbook
All incoming students are required to register for the fall term during the
first few days of September as indicated in the Nova Scotia Agricultural
College Calendar. Students who have trouble selecting courses should
see the academic advisor for your program. If you are not sure who that
is, please ask at Registry.

Students who have indicated their intention to attend the Nova Scotia
Agricultural College will have received a registration package in the mail,
usually around mid-June. +Read the instructions carefully in the
registration package, and follow them to complete the registration
process. If you have not received your registration package in the mail,
contact the Registrar‟s Office immediately upon your arrival. The
Registrar‟s Office is located in Room 100, Cox Institute (Building # 3 on
your college map). If you are a Graduate student please contact the
Research and Graduate Studies office (893-6502) located in Cumming
Hall (# 33 on the college map).

Proof of Student Authorization
Before you will be eligible to register for classes, we require that you
provide proof of having obtained official authorization to study in Canada
(Study Permit and Temporary Resident Visa). It is your responsibility to
present this documentation as soon as possible after you arrive on
campus. If you are entering the Technician, Technology, or Bachelor of
Science program, please show these documents at the Registrar‟s
Office, Cox Institute, Room 100. If you are entering the Master of Science
program, please take them to the Research and Graduate Studies Office
in Cumming Hall.

Payment of Fees
Please refer to nsac.ca/reg/fees for information on tuition fees for non-
Canadian students. Your acceptance letter also provides some details of
your current tuition and other fees and expenses.

You will be invoiced in September for the Fall semester and in January
for the Winter semester. All fees are due and payable, in full, on the first
day of classes for the semester. Payments may be made by cash, money
order, cheque, Visa, MasterCard, or debit card. It is important to note that
if you are making any payments using a cheque drawn on a bank outside
of Canada, the cheque must be micro-encoded by the issuing bank
in order for Financial Services to process it. Micro-encoding is the series
of numbers or symbols at the bottom of your check. Be mindful that
processing international cheques may take 2-3 weeks to be credited to
your account.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.              5
Any student with an unpaid account at the end of the second week must
pay their account in full before he or she will be permitted to continue
their classes. Contact Financial Services in Cumming Hall if you have
any difficulties making a payment from a bank outside Canada.

Undergraduate and Technical Programs
The High School Liaison & Recruitment Officer is responsible for
responding to international inquiries and mailing information packages
pertaining to all undergraduate programs. Requests for information are
most often received by mail and email. International student inquiries
number in the hundreds each year. Inquiries should be directed to
registry@nsac.ca or Registrar‟s Office, PO Box 550, Truro, Nova Scotia,
B2N 5E3 Canada.

Graduate Program
The Research and Graduate Studies office is responsible for responding
to international inquiries and mailing information packages pertaining to
graduate programs. Inquiries should be directed to Marie Law
(Administrative Support) at mlaw@nsac.ca or Research & Graduate
Studies, PO Box 550, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N 5E3 Canada.

Coordinator of Admissions
Upon receipt of an international application, the Coordinator of
Admissions is responsible for ensuring official documentation is
complete, assessing eligibility for admission, assessing eligibility for
advanced credit standing, communicating decisions to applicants in
writing, and acting as point of contact for related inquiries. Letters of
admission are copied to Student Services, and any information with
regard to travel arrangements and arrival requirements, for both
undergraduate and graduate students, will also be forwarded. Prior to
issuing a permit to register, the Registry will require proof of the student
having obtained official authorization to study in Canada (student
authorization). The Coordinator of Admissions is Elizabeth Johnson
(ejohnson@nsac.ca or registry@nsac.ca). Registry staff are available to
assist with time tabling, course registration, tuition inquiries and any
program related issues.

Graduate Coordinator
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is responsible for
administering the Master of Science program including responding to
inquiries, distributing application materials, assessing eligibility for
admissions, student registration and graduate student orientation. Dr.
Dian Patterson, the Faculty Graduate Coordinator arranges to meet with
each graduate student individually at the beginning of the fall
(September), winter (January) and summer (May) semesters. At these
meetings, registration, course selection, program requirements, payment
            6        International Student Handbook
of fees and student concerns and problems are addressed. International
students are encouraged to make an appointment with the Faculty
Graduate Coordinator immediately upon their arrival at the NSAC. The
Faculty Graduate Coordinator is the first contact for graduate student
concerns. Students accepted into the M.Sc. program are encouraged to
read the Graduate Program Procedures Manual, available at the
Research & Graduate Studies Office, for further details on application
and registration processes, program requirements etc. It can be obtained
at Research & Graduate Studies, PO Box 550, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N
5E3 Canada.

International Student Services
International Student Advisor
The NSAC International & Exchange
Student Coordinator (IESC), Mark Mason,
will assist International Students in
adapting to campus life socially,
academically and culturally. This includes
students and trainees in all programs. The
IESC organizes an orientation session at
the beginning of each semester. This
addresses the specific adaptation needs
and cultural issues which students may
encounter. For example the IESC will
provide information about culturally
acceptable behaviour and expectations,
legal rights, clothing, monies and banking            Mark Mason,
information, shopping facilities for              International Student
specialized needs, and immigration                       Advisor
procedures. (The normal admission and
academic matters should be directed to the Registrar, Dean of Student
Services, or Academic Advisors as appropriate). Academic advisors
provide information and guidance to international students throughout
their program. This is to help them prepare for future studies, travel and
re-entry into their home country situation. The current International &
Exchange Student Coordinator is Mark Mason and he can be reached at
mmason@nsac.ca, by telephone (902) 893-6905, Fax (902) 893-4939, or
in person at NSAC International. He will be in contact with you by e-mail
before your arrival, and you are strongly encouraged to arrange a
meeting with him immediately on arrival at NSAC.

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.             7
NSAC International
The internationalization of NSAC campus community is led by Dr. Nancy
Pitts, Dean of Internationalization and Associate Professor in the
Department of Environmental Sciences. This office provides
opportunities for NSAC students to become better suited to work in the
increasingly globalized agricultural industry. International activities at
NSAC, include international development projects, student exchange
programs, faculty exchanges, internships, and links with international
funding or education agencies. All these international affairs are
coordinated and managed by NSAC International. The centre is staffed
by Dr. Nancy Pitts, Dean; Nancy Thornton, Manager; Natalie Cole,
Finance Officer; Michelle Richards, Administrative Assistant; and Mark
Mason, IESC. Office hours are normally 8:00 to 4:00, Monday to Friday.
Please call 893-6514 for an appointment. nsac.ns.ca/international

International Student Association
The objectives of the International Student Association (ISA) are to serve
as a support group for international students and others in the NSAC
community. The ISA promotes awareness and better understanding of
student affairs in the University community, Truro area and the Canadian
people in general. It provides communication between students, the
University Administration and the Students‟ Union, as well as other
interested parties and organizations. It takes an active interest in the
civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the University community and
Canadian community at large. It provides a forum for the open discussion
of all matters of international interest provided that partisan politics and
sectarian religion are not debated by members.

The International Student Association plans an active program with a mix
of information sessions, guest speakers and social events. Membership
is open to all interested persons. Only students are considered active
members; all others are classed as associates. At least three of the five
executive positions must be held by an international student.

Multicultural Association of Colchester County
The Multicultural Association of Colchester County (MACC) is a
community group that meets every month September through June. The
meetings consist of a half-hour business meeting, followed by a speaker
or other program and a social time with refreshments. Usually, at least
half of the regular members at meetings were born in this country. Other
members are recent or not-so-recent immigrants. International students
at NSAC often attend. This year the following countries were
represented: India, Philippines, Greece, Italy, Nepal, Ghana, Bolivia,
Guyana, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Panama, Honduras,
Guatemala, Ecuador, Chile, Bosnia, Swaziland, Egypt, Morocco,
            8        International Student Handbook
Ethiopia, United States, Iran, Lebanon, Seychelles, Korea, Mexico, and

Mission Statement of MACC:
1. To make the public aware about the uniqueness of a number of
   different cultures including the language, geography, climate, food,
   clothing, shelter, music, and culture
2. To reach the public and spread the word that racism and
   discrimination hurts everyone in our community
3. To develop and /or influence existing multicultural policy to promote
   equality in the Colchester county and area
4. To create a sense of belonging and respect for all cultures in our
5. To educate the population of the area on multiculturalism by (a)
   delivery of multicultural programs; and (b) acting as a clearing house
   for multicultural issues, information, consulting services and to
   advocate for broad multicultural issues
6. To co-operate and work with other associations in the area. Together
   we're better.

Contact person: Mr. Prem Dhir (895-9797)

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a network of individuals
and post secondary institutions who believe that all peoples are entitled
to the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a more equitable
world. Its mission is to foster human development and global
understanding through education and training. The present NSAC
student representative for WUSC is Kaleigh Brinkhurst.

Passports and Visas
When you arrive in Canada or at NSAC you will be in possession of a
valid passport and student Permit (form IMM1208). It is YOUR
RESPONSIBILITY to see that your passport and student authorization

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.              9
remain valid during your stay in Canada. The applications are provided
by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Application forms from
Citizenship and Immigration Canada are available from www.cic.gc.ca or
1-888-242-2100. If you are outside Canada, please contact the closest
Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate responsible for your
region. It is a good idea to request a multiple entry visitor visa when filling
out the forms as you may go home or to another country for a short time
during your stay in Canada. Multiple entry visas are good for at least one

You are required to fill out the application if any of the following apply:
1. Your authorized period of time in Canada is going to expire within 1.5
2. You plan to change your course of study or institution
3. You want to accept employment off campus
4. You are going to terminate your studies before your course is
   finished and your departure date is not immediate.

NOTE: If anything concerning your stay in Canada is not entirely clear
please contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 1-888-242-2100

It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that your authorized period of
time does not expire. You should fill out the Immigration application form
AT LEAST ONE MONTH before the expiry date on your present student

When you apply for an extension, you must have a valid passport and
proof that you have the financial means to support yourself. You are
required to present a letter from the Registrar‟s Office (undergraduate
students) or Research and Graduate Studies (graduate students)
indicating your eligibility to continue your studies, and any other
documents that may have been requested by the Citizenship and
Immigration Canada or the University.

Proof of financial support could include a scholarship contract, a
letter from your parents or a bank, or a graduate assistantship
contract. An up-to-date bank book should also be presented. For
updates on study visas and international student issues, please contact
Canadian Immigration at ww.cic.gc.ca or 1-888-242-2100

If you wish to have relatives from home visit while you are in Canada,
you should contact the Immigration Office at the above phone number or
web site concerning additional requirements.

             10       International Student Handbook
Coming to Canada
When coming to Canada to study, it is recommended that students follow
guidelines outlined by Canada Border Service Agency to properly import
their personal belongings. These guidelines are particularly important if
you are having goods transported through a shipping company or are
taking a car with you into Canada. More information can be found at:

Visiting the United States from Canada
If you are studying in Canada and you decide you want to visit the United
States for a short vacation, you may require a United States Visitor‟s Visa
depending on your home country.

Registration forms to obtain a visitor‟s visa to the United States are
available at the US Consulate General Halifax, Suite 904, Purdy‟s Wharf
Tower II, 1969 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3R7, Canada (902-
429-2480). You should call and make an appointment as the service
operates on certain days and times. You should apply at least 1 month in
advance of your travel for a visitor‟s visa to the US.

A Certificate of Attendance as a student of NSAC is required (available
from the Registrar‟s Office, Cox Institute Room 100). You will also need
two passport size pictures of yourself as well as the application fee. For
complete details contact the Consulate at the above phone and address
or visit www.amcits.com/halifax.asp.

In order to re-enter Canada from the US, a student does not require a
valid visitor visa but MUST have a valid Student Permit and a valid
passport. This only applies to return from the US to Canada.

Social Insurance Number
Everyone in Canada who is employed requires a Social Insurance
Number (SIN).

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.             11
International students who wish to work in Canada, must also have a
valid Study Permit. Students can as soon as they arrive, apply for jobs to
work on campus. After six months of study, students can apply for an
Off Campus Work Permit. Students can apply for an Off Campus Work
Permit after six months of study and Graduates can apply for the Post-
graduation work employment program after graduation. Each permit has
different requirements. For information and application visit:

Note: When applying for a Social Insurance Number, two photo
identifications (e.g. Passport, International drivers license, student ID)
must be provided, as well as proof of your status in Canada (e.g. Student
Study Permit).

Application should be made at the Human Resources Development
Canada office at 60 Lorne Street, Suite 8, in Truro between 8:30 am and
4:00 pm Monday to Friday.

Call: 893-0016 or 1 800 206 7218 or visit

Employment in Canada
Immigration regulations allow for the employment of International
Students as follows:
a) On-Campus Employment for Post-Secondary Students
    International students no longer require an employment authorization
    to work on the campus of the University at which they are registered
    full time. Canada Immigration defines “on-campus” as employment
    in facilities owned, leased, or rented by the educational institution.

    Students must be registered full time. At the Nova Scotia Agricultural
    College a full time undergraduate student must carry the equivalent
    of three or more courses in a term. (September - December, January
    - April). See the NSAC calendar for details. Students are not allowed
    to work more than 17.5 hours per week during the semester.

    Graduate students are considered full time if they are taking at least
    three full credits, excluding theses, during the first 12 months, (i.e.
    September to August). All NSAC courses are full credits and a

            12       International Student Handbook
    student may register in a full time program and at the same time hold
    a job, only if the job involves no more than 16 hours/week.

b) Employment After Graduation
   Students may accept employment for up to a maximum of three
   years following graduation. This is intended to enable students to
   acquire experience outside the classroom and to help broaden the
   student‟s knowledge and appreciation of Canada‟s technological
   capacity. This is subject to the following criteria:
       Evidence of graduation from a Canadian post-secondary
       institution showing the course of study completed.
       Employment must commence within three months (90) days of

c) Employment of International Student Spouse
   Your spouse may also be allowed to apply for an employment
   authorization. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) can give
   you details on working in Canada as an international student and as
   the spouse of an international student. Call toll free 1-888-242-2100
   for more information.

d) International Students Off-Campus Work
   International students enrolled at the NSAC can now apply for off
   campus work permits. To work off campus you must meet certain
   requirements and there are some limitations. For full details and
   applications visit:

    If you work without an employment authorization, you may be in
    violation of the Immigration Act, and you may be required to
    leave Canada.

    Immigration regulations change frequently, please contact
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the most recent
    information, 1-888-242-2100, (www.cic.gc.ca).

e) Children’s Schools
   Canada‟s educational standards are set individually by each
   province. If you have children you want to go to a primary or
   secondary school, you can get information on provincial standards by
   writing or visiting the NS Department of Education, 60 Lorne Street,
   Truro, NS B2N 3K3 Canada.

    Once you have decided where you will live you can then make
    arrangements for your children to attend school. There are no fees

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.           13
     required for children of international students to attend public school
     in the Truro area.

f)   Taxes
     All provinces in Canada have sales taxes. These are the Goods and
     Services Tax (GST) and the Provincial Sales Tax (PST). Together
     they are called the Harmonized Sales Taxes(HST). These are added
     to the price of the product/service at the cash register. In Nova Scotia
     the GST is 6%, the PST is 9%, while the HST is 15%. You should
     inquire when purchasing a product or service what tax is applicable.
     Most food purchased in a grocery store or supermarket is not taxed
     but meals at restaurants are.

     You should complete a Determination of Residence Form (available
     from Revenue Canada) as well as an income tax form. This applies
     even if you do not work while you are here. Scholarships are not
     considered income. If you are considered a “factual” resident of
     Canada you could qualify for a GST credit.

Canadian Currency
Canadian coins come in the following denominations, noted here with
their common names: 1 cent (penny), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime),
25 cents (quarter), 1 dollar (loonie), 2 dollars (twoonie). Please note that
the size of the quarter is always the same but the image on it is often
different. All quarters are accepted.

             14       International Student Handbook
Bills come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars.
Denominations all have the same size, but have different colors.

To open any kind of bank account, simply go to the bank of your choice
and tell a staff member that you would like to open an account. You will
be directed to a bank staff member who will explain the types of accounts
which are available. Married persons can operate a “joint account,” which
both husband and wife use. To open an account you (and your spouse)
will need two pieces of identification such as a passport, NSAC ID card
driver‟s license or any other signed document identifying you is

Personal Funds
You may wish to bring personal funds to Canada. If you do so, you are
urged to make prior enquiries with the bank in your home country to
determine the local regulations about banking and international exchange

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.           15
Types of accounts and charges may vary slightly from bank to bank. The
most common services are:

Chequing Accounts
A chequing account is convenient for paying rent; often a landlord will
require you to supply post-dated cheques. Service charges apply to
chequing accounts. You may request the bank to return the cheques you
use (sometimes an extra fee is charged for this). These can then serve
as proof of payment of your bills and rent.

Banking Card (Debit Card)
A Banking Card gives you easy access to the money in your bank
accounts. Banking cards can be used at many stores and restaurants to
pay for your purchases. The money is transferred directly from your
account to the business from which you are making the purchase. You
may also use the banking card to pay certain bills at Automated Teller
Machines (ATM) as well as to make cash withdrawals. There is usually a
fee charged for each transaction ($0.50 - $2.00). The customer service
representative of your bank can explain this fully. Be careful of the ATM
you use as some charge higher fees than others.

Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques are sold for a small fee at the bank and the customer
service representative will explain how to fill them out. One big
advantage of travellers cheques is that if they are lost, they can be
replaced. They are also more easily accepted by hotels and businesses
in areas away from your home.

Banking Hours
Usual hours for banks are 10 am to 3 pm Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday while most have extended hours on Thursday and Friday.
Most banks are closed on the weekends and evenings. You should call
your bank and determine the actual hours as they will vary. You will find
a listing of banks in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are available 24 hours per day. An
Instabank ATM is located on the basement floor of Cox Institute. You
must have your own personal banking (debit) card to access the
machine. This is a CIBC bank machine. People with a Bank Card from
other banks may be charged an additional fee to withdraw their money
from the bank machine. This is also true for other banks in the Truro area
and across Canada.
Customer service representatives at the bank are available to
answer any questions you may have on any banking process.

            16       International Student Handbook
Money Management Hints
1. Do not carry large amounts of money with you or keep large amounts
   in your residence. Deposit it in the bank.

2. Budget carefully. You have a specific income and certain basic
   expenses. Work out how much you can really afford to pay on major
   items, such as housing.

3. Pay bills at the start of each month so you know how much money
   you have left.

4. Credit cards. Although it may seem like a good idea to use credit
   cards for large items when you do not have enough cash on hand,
   remember that you may be paying a large amount in interest. You
   should add this expense when estimating the total cost of your

5. Buying second hand items. Second hand books are often advertised
   on notices around campus and the campus newspaper and may
   result in great savings. Garage sales for clothes and household items
   happen frequently. They are sometimes advertised in the local
   newspaper. You may also see signs outside houses. Check bulletin
   boards in public areas, such as food markets, for sales. Ask other
   students. When you leave, sell the items you don‟t need in the same
   way by advertising in notices. The Salvation Army, Louis‟s, Frenchy‟s
   and New To You all sell second hand articles.

6. Be careful of the amounts you spend eating out. If you are not in
   residence it may seem faster and easier to eat in restaurants than to
   prepare your own meals, but this can become an expensive habit.

7. Watch for sales. Check the newspapers for advertisements. At the
   end of a season particularly, certain stores may sell items for a lower
   amount than usual.

8. Banking machines, checking accounts - always monitor your

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.            17
Warm clothing is necessary during the winter. You will need a heavy
winter coat or jacket, warm boots, a hat or hood, scarf and gloves. Prices
vary from store to store so you would be wise to check around several
places before buying anything. You may not need your jacket before
November, depending upon the weather and your tolerance for cold. You
will also need sweaters and warm slacks (jeans). Thermal underwear
may increase your comfort during the coldest days of winter. In the
Spring, a raincoat with hood will probably be necessary and a lightweight
jacket, plus sweaters.

Average Temperature by Month

                       Daily Maximum                Daily Minimum
                       Temperature (°C)             Temperature (°C)
January                0                            -9
February               0                            -8
March                  4                            -4
April                  8                            1
May                    14                           5
June                   19                           11
July                   23                           14
August                 23                           15
September              19                           11
October                13                           6
November               8                            1
December               3                            -5

Most students dress casually, in jeans or slacks, except for the most
formal occasions. You should dress for your own comfort and
convenience. Clothing sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
You should explain to the salesperson that you are not familiar with the
sizes and ask to try the clothing on, if you are uncertain of the fit. Before
you buy the article, find out whether the store permits an exchange or
refund. Many do not, so it is wise to make sure of the fit before you buy.
You are under no obligation to buy anything you do not like that you have
tried on in the store.

Shoe sizes are given in figures such as 7, 7½, 8, etc. These numbers do
not refer to an inch measurement. Shoe sizes also have a letter to
indicate the width: A= narrow, B= average; C and D= wider than average.
Thus, your shoe size will consist of a number plus a letter. Be sure to try
on your shoes before buying. See below for size conversions.

            18       International Student Handbook
Second hand clothing is available at reasonable prices in second-hand
stores, the Salvation Army, Louis‟s, Frenchy‟s and New To You and yard
sales. Also watch for sales advertised in the newspapers and for notices
on bulletin boards around campus which may advertise clothing. Always
keep your receipts - stores will not exchange merchandise, give credit, or
refund money without it.

Ten Survival Tips for Winter
1. Warm, winter clothing should not be considered a luxury. You will
   need it to ensure that you stay healthy and enjoy life.

2. Seek advice from individuals who are familiar with the climate. You
   might seek out departing overseas students for assistance or talk to
   your international student advisor or classmates.

3. Look for comfort and simplicity in clothing. Ideally, and in order to
   withstand slush, snow and rain as well as the sand and salt used on
   icy sidewalks and roads, winter boots should be waterproof, warm,
   lightweight and stain repellent.

4. Be alert to frostbite. Ears, fingers, toes or cheeks that have been
   exposed to freezing temperatures for even a short period of time may
   be severely damaged. If any part of your body should lack feeling or
   become pale or slightly blue, seek medical help immediately.

5. Take into consideration the wind chill factor. High winds blowing on a
   cold day lower the temperature even further and a temperature of -20
   C with a wind of 16 kilometers per hour can feel like -25 C.

6. If you do become stranded in the cold (for whatever reason), don‟t
   hesitate to seek help. For example, if you should find yourself in a
   blizzard with no transportation in sight and beginning to suffer from
   exposure to the cold, we recommend that you knock on the closest
   door and ask if you can be admitted for a short time in order to warm
   up. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can be life

7. Don‟t take chances with the winter cold. Get into the habit of listening
   to the weather forecast on a local radio station at the beginning of
   each day and dress accordingly.

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.             19
8. Sunlight reflecting off snow on sunny days may damage your eyes or
   skin. You can protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. Sunscreen
   lotions can be purchased that will prevent your skin from burning
   even in the winter.

9. If your skin and scalp become dry and flaky because of the cold and
   dry heat indoors, try using a moisturizing cream and conditioner. As
   well, drinking water regularly will help prevent dehydration.

10. Eat breakfast! You will be warmer if your body has some fuel to burn.

The University has a bookstore on campus which sells the text books
required for specific courses and stationery. Other bookstores are listed
in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory. The other bookstores will
not carry textbooks, but books for pleasure reading. Watch for notices for
used books on campus. Many used textbooks can be gotten at a good

Each residence at NSAC has washers and dryers (usually coin operated)
for the use of the residence members only. If you are living in a place that
does not have a washer and dryer, check the Yellow Pages for the
names of laundromats near you. Laundromats contain a number of coin
operated washers and dryers to which you can take your laundry. You do
your own laundry or you can pay an extra fee to have it done for you at
the laundromat.

Laundry Supplies
Most laundromats supply washing detergents or bleaches from coin
operated machines. However, it will be cheaper to take your own
detergent to the laundromat with you.

            20       International Student Handbook
Dry Cleaning
Those items of clothing that cannot be washed - such as coats - can be
done by any of the dry cleaners listed in the Yellow Pages. This can cost
close to $10 per item so people on a budget should be careful.

Stores are generally open seven days a week at the shopping malls.
Stores at the malls are open from 9:30 a.m.to 9:30 p.m weekdays and
noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. The stores in downtown Truro are open
Monday to Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday
from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and most stores are open all day Saturday
until 5:00 p.m. Some hours may vary, especially on Sundays.

Other places to buy items you may need include garage and yard sales
(often Saturday mornings) and rummage or church sales, where second
hand goods and crafts are offered for sale.

Several pharmacies are open 7 days a week; check the Yellow Pages of
the telephone directory.

Grocery stores usually advertise specials in the weekly in flyers which
are delivered to homes. These items are for sale at lower than usual
prices. Other stores print special newspaper editions of their sales which
are included in the newspaper. You can compare the food prices at
different stores. Truro also has a downtown Farmers‟ Market where farm
products and crafts are sold every Saturday morning 8:00 a.m. to 12:00
p.m. throughout the summer and fall. The Farmers‟ Market is located
between Outram and Havelock streets.

Legal Rights
The fundamental rights and freedoms enjoyed by persons in Canada
include freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of religion, of
association and of assembly, the right to liberty and security of the
person, the right of equality before the law, and the right to be tried by

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.              21
due process of the law. These general freedoms are stated in the
Canadian Bill of Rights.

The detailed laws regarding discrimination are stated in the Human
Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex,
religion, color, ancestry or place of origin in areas of public
accommodation, services or facilities.

Decisions of public officials may also be appealed. When formal
channels have been exhausted, residents can appeal to an ombudsman
who investigates any official decision which is believed to be unjust.

All individuals residing in Canada, including international students are
governed by Canadian law. The three levels of the law: Federal,
Provincial and City (also called Municipal). Federal law is the Criminal
Code of Canada. Conviction of an offense under this code could mean

Laws, Legal Offenses and Charges
Drug Offenses
Possession of certain drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD or marijuana is
a crime. Sale of these drugs is called trafficking and carries a very heavy
punishment and jail term.

Liquor Laws
If you come from a country where alcohol is prohibited, you may find
Canada‟s liquor laws very permissive. If it is the custom in your country to
enjoy alcoholic beverages in an informal setting, you may find the laws
very strict. In general, the purchase and consumption of alcohol is
restricted by law. In most provinces (including NS) you must be 19 to
lawfully consume liquor or purchase liquor and it is against the law to
consume liquor in a public place such as a park, on the street, in a
shopping centre, or in any vehicle whether it is moving or parked. Store
and bars selling or serving liquor ask for photo/age indentification.

            22       International Student Handbook
Causing a Disturbance
Fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or using insulting or
obscene language, or being drunk or impeding or molesting other
persons in a public place is considered legally to be „causing a
disturbance‟ and one can be charged with this offense.

Mischief and Wilful Damage
This offense includes destroying or damaging property belonging to
someone else.

Pedestrian Laws
Pedestrians normally have the right of way over motor vehicles. That
means that vehicles should yield to you if you are in a marked white
crosswalk. However jaywalking (crossing a street at places other than
marked crosswalks or a corner) is illegal. You will be fined if caught

Drinking and Driving
It is illegal in Canada to drive while under the influence of alcohol. This is
because of the tremendous risk to your own safety, and that of innocent
bystanders. A breathalyser test may be used by police, and even one
drink may put you over the legal limit. If you have consumed alcohol,
don‟t drive; take a taxi or walk home, and pick up your car the next day. It
is also unlawful to carry open liquor in a car (i.e. top off bottle or seal
broken). Also read the section in this handbook concerning
Transportation, Cars.

Seat Belts
All Canadian provinces require the driver and passengers to wear seat
belts. All children must be wear a seat belt or be in an approved child
seat with a seat belt.

In Canada you must be 19 years of age to lawfully purchase or possess
tobacco products. Smoking is banned in all public areas such as schools,
shopping malls, offices and restaurants. If you are in doubt please ask
the management. Smoking is not permitted in any NSAC building.
Smoking outdoors must be done in designated areas. The NSAC
Smoling Policy is available at

Community Standards
Community Standards are a list of standards established by the Faculty,
College Administration and Student Union and describe what constitutes
reasonable and acceptable behavior at NSAC. The process by which

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.              23
breaches of these standards are adjudicated is known as the judicial
process. It is wise to review this material, contained in the NSAC Student
Handbook Community Standards.

Most facilities in Truro/Bible Hill are within walking distance of the

Bicycles are a popular form of transportation from spring through to fall
and can often be obtained at a reasonable cost. A license is not required
to own or ride a bike but if you reside within the town limits it is
recommended that you purchase a license from the Truro Town Police
Station located at 776 Prince Street. All of the traffic laws which apply to
cars apply to bicycles. Ride on the right side of the road. Do not ride
bicycles on the sidewalk. When in a group, ride in single file. Signal
before turning. At busy intersections, get off the bicycle and walk across
the road. It is mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

Bicycles are sold at many sporting goods stores. Second hand bicycles
can often be purchased from other students or at garage sales. Check
campus bulletin boards for advertisements. Your bicycle should be
parked in one of the bicycle racks on campus. You should always keep
your bike locked when it is not in use.

For travel between towns the Acadian Lines is located at 280 Willow
Street (895-3833). NSAC does not have a campus bus line and there is
no public transit in the town of Truro.

For travel in town there are several taxi companies in Truro. The
numbers to call are listed in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory.
Sharing a taxi with friends helps to lower the cost.

For information, contact Via Rail Canada.(1-800-561-3952). There is a
train station in Truro located in the Truro Centre on 104 The Esplanade;
open hours are 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Visit the link for more information:

             24       International Student Handbook
Many of the International Students will arrive via the Halifax (Stanfield)
International Airport which is about 70 kms outside of Truro. For
schedules and fare information contact Air Canada (1-888-247-2262).
Any local travel agency will be able to help you with flight arrangements.

Cars are expensive to buy and maintain. A great deal of thought is
needed before buying a car. You must decide whether the expense of a
car is necessary for the time of your stay at NSAC. If you do decide to
buy a car, dealers are listed in the Yellow Pages and advertisements for
cars are printed in the newspaper, as well as on bulletin boards around
the campus. You may also hear of a car for sale from another student,
but remember to consider winter driving and the expenses of winter
upkeep for your car before making a purchase.

Cars and trucks may also be rented for short term use, see the Yellow
Pages of the telephone directory for companies that will rent vehicles.

You must have a driver‟s license. International drivers‟ licenses from your
home country are valid for one year in Canada.

The car must be registered (have valid license plates) and a current
safety inspection (sticker). Car insurance is mandatory and can be
expensive. A good driving record can reduce this cost. If you plan on
driving a car bring a letter from your insurance company that states that
you have an accident free record.

If you are driving a borrowed car, bring a letter from the owner, and if you
are driving a rented car, a copy of the rental contract.

In case of accident, report it to the police. Do not leave the scene of
an accident without providing information to the other parties
involved; this is classified as “Hit and Run” - a very serious offence
under the Highway Traffic Act.

Driver’s License
You may drive a car in Nova Scotia if you have a Driver‟s License. If you
have obtained a Driver‟s License in your country, it is necessary to get an
International Driver‟s License before you leave your home country. This
International Driver‟s License is valid for one year only, at which time you
will have to either renew the license or obtain a valid Nova Scotia Driver‟s

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.              25
If you wish to obtain a Nova Scotia Driver‟s License, the routine steps are
taken. (e.g. study driver‟s handbook and take a written and driving test).
For more information on obtaining a Driver‟s License you can call
Registry of Motor Vehicles.

You must have a motorcycle license to drive a motorcycle in Nova
Scotia. Also, you must wear a helmet at all times.

Hitch-hiking or “thumbing a ride” is illegal in Nova Scotia. If you wish to
visit a town and cannot afford the bus or train fare, check the campus
bulletin boards. Students often advertise that they will be willing to take a
passenger to a particular place if the gas costs are shared, or if the
person is willing to share with the driving. This is often a much cheaper
way of traveling than by using transportation for which you must pay a

International Student Identification Card
The International Student Identification Card (ISIC) is the only
internationally recognized proof of full-time student status, but you are
not required to have one as a student at NSAC. It functions as a student
discount card in 70 countries, including Canada, through the Student
Saver Card program. You often get travel discounts with an ISIC
Students who are members of the Canadian Federation of Students are
eligible to receive the card for free; non-members may purchase the card
for $16.00 (includes membership in the Federation). To purchase a card,
proof that you are a student is required (an ID card with your name on it
and a passport sized picture). ISIC are available at most student
associations and at all Travel Cuts/Voyages Campus offices.

For more information, please visit the TravelCuts/Voyages Campus
(www.travelcuts.com) or VIA Rail (see the Yellow Pages of the
Telephone directory) or ISIC (www.isic-canada.com) home pages.

            26       International Student Handbook
Health and Medical Care
1. It is compulsory for all International Students at NSAC to have
   medical coverage for themselves as well as any accompanying
   spouse or children. Medical costs are extremely high without medical
   insurance. Insurance coverage will be effective on your arrival in
   Nova Scotia. The coverage is mandatory and the fee is listed in
   “college fees”.

2. All students will be automatically enrolled in health insurance before
   their arrival in Canada. The fees for this insurance are charged
   directly to your account with Financial Services. For more information
   see the appendix.

Teeth and Vision
The Yellow Pages of your telephone directory will supply a list of the
dentists, optometrists and opticians in the town. You should note exactly
what services your health insurance covers and what expenses you will
have to pay for yourself. If you are unclear about anything connected with
your insurance and medical expenses, check with the insurance

Drug Stores
These are stores where you can get a doctor‟s prescription filled, as well
as buying “over the counter” items such as pain relievers and vitamins.
Drug stores also provide other items of a medical nature, such as
bandages, feminine hygiene products, as well as soaps and greeting
cards. Some drug stores are open at certain hours on Sundays.
MacQuarries in downtown Truro is open on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to
10:00 p.m.

Health Services on Campus
The Health Services office is located in the Dairy Building - main floor (#
32 on the campus map). Office hours are from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm on
Monday to Friday, August 15 to June 29. After 4:00 pm if you need
medical attention you must go to the Walk-In Clinic, Fundy Trail Mall,
Robie Street or the Outpatient Section at the Colchester Hospital, 207
Willow Street.

The local hospital, Colchester Regional Hospital, has an Emergency
Section which is always open. Important: Please be sure you have
your valid health insurance card when using the Emergency
Services or the Doctor.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             27
Nova Scotia has a province wide emergency number. If you are having
any type of medical or safety emergency dial 911 and you will be
connected to an operator who will summon the appropriate help for you.
It is a legal offense to use 911 for a non-emergency situation.

Communication Services
Postal Information
A Post Office is located on campus in the basement of Cumming Hall. It
is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. The main Post Office
is located downtown at 664 Prince St. and substations are located at
various retail stores (see the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory for
addresses) throughout Truro and Bible Hill.

The cost of stamps varies, depending upon the destination of the letter or
parcel. There are different classes of mail available: Special Delivery and
First Class. For letters and parcels going overseas, there are also Airmail
and Surface rates. Check with the Post Office to find out the costs, which
can vary a great deal. (Most normal letters going within Canada require a
57 cent stamp.)

Parcels and letters should be plainly marked with the name and address
of the person to whom the mail is being sent, as well as your name and
address. This must be done in case the mail cannot be delivered. The
letter or parcel can then be returned to you. When mailing parcels, be
sure that the contents are securely fastened with strapping tape and
have the full mailing address. Special mailing envelopes and boxes can
be obtained from the post office or office supply stores.

Parcel Post and airmail are used to mail packages overseas. To each
package must be attached a Customs declaration form (available from
the Post Office) on which you are required to declare the contents and
the value

            28       International Student Handbook
The local telephone companies, Aliant and Eastlink, can explain the
charges for having a telephone connected or installed where you are
living. You should check the rates and fees carefully to be sure that it is
worth the cost to have your own landline phone installed.

Cellular phones (mobile phones) are also available from a variety of
companies. The contracts for purchase and monthly fees and usage
charges vary. Some contacts require you to pay a monthly fee for three

Pay phones can be found in some buildings on campus and on streets
downtown. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before you place a
call. Make sure you have the correct change required.

The telephone directory has detailed information at the front of the book
as to how to dial properly, how to dial long distance, how to get a number
that is not listed or how to have your phone repaired. The directory also
contains a map showing the different time zones and giving the area
codes for various countries, and parts of Canada and the United States.
If you are unclear about anything, you should dial “0" for the Operator.

Prepaid Phone Cards are available from many sources (e.g. corner
stores). These cards are the best option for calling overseas from a
payphone. Minutes per dollar vary, so shop around.
NOTE: You are responsible for all calls billed to YOUR phone.

Overseas Calls
If the Operator places a call, cost will vary depending upon whether you
ask for a station-to-station call (in which case, you speak to whoever
answers), or a person-to person call. Rates will also vary according to the
time of day. Rates for overseas calls vary depending upon whether you
ask the Operator to place the call, or dial the number yourself. In some
cases, it is possible to “book” a time to make a specific call. You must
check with the Operator to see if this is possible for the place you wish to
call. Calls you dial yourself are usually much cheaper than operator
assisted calls. To dial an international number press 011, followed by the
country code (omit 0), local area code and then the number.

Some students have found Skype, Google Talk or VOIT and other
internet phone calls cheaper and easier.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             29
Computer Access
Academic Computing Services manages computing resources to support
students‟ information technology needs. Computing labs equipped with
modern multimedia workstations are distributed around campus. The
student to workstation ratio of approximately seven to one is one of the
best in Atlantic Canada. All labs, classrooms and lecture theatres are
connected to central storage, shared applications, on-line library
resources, email and the internet by a fibre optic network.

Computing resources are used to support many of the courses taught at
the College. All workstations have access to a full range of applications
including analytical, statistical, mathematical, accounting, graphical,
CAD, word processing and spreadsheet programs.

Members of the College community are granted the privilege to use
information technology resources by applying for a user account on the
Academic Network. The Academic Computing Services User Policy and
the Policy Governing Access To and Use Of NSAC Academic Computing
govern the use of these accounts. Users at NSAC agree to comply with
the terms and conditions established in these policies.

Please email any questions, comments, or requests for additional
information to the ACS Helpdesk at helpdesk@nsac.ca. Academic
Computing Services may also be contacted by telephone at (902) 893-
7933 or by fax at (902) 893-5449.

As a student at NSAC you will be assigned an NSAC email account.
Check it regularly. It is an official means NSAC uses to communicate.
Once an email message is sent to your NSAC email account, it is your
responsibility to read it. Information on fees etc. is sent to your NSAC
email. You will also find it useful for emailing classmate.

There is a FAX machine in Career Services (lower level of the Dairy
Building) which students may use. The number for this machine is (902)

            30       International Student Handbook
Accommodation and dining facilities are available on campus for up to
350 students. Three residences provide coeducational environments
where male and female students live in the same building or floor.
Roommates are of the same gender. All residences are equipped with
private and shared accommodation, modern laundry facilities, mail
delivery and student lounge/games room. All rooms are wired for
telephone, cable and internet services. It is the responsibility of the
student to provide the TV and/or computer equipment, if desired.

There is a section of Trueman House which is dedicated to
Graduate/Mature Student housing. It has been developed to provide a
clean, comfortable and convenient residence experience that addresses
the needs of graduate and mature students over the age of 23. There is
no married student housing available on campus at NSAC

Applications for residence are included in your application for admission
to the NSAC. Please follow the instructions outlined on the form.

Off Campus Housing
Many students obtain housing off-campus. There is a listing of off-
campus housing in the Student Services office, located on the main floor
of the Dairy Building. The NSAC Forum also has current rooms and
apartments available, check: nsac.ns.ca/forums. Arrangements for off-
campus housing must be made by the student and the landlord. If you
rent, it is important to have a complete understanding of the
responsibilities of both the landlord (owner) and the tenant (student).
Often other students living off campus are a good source of information
about available apartments.

Housing Definitions
Apartment:       a self-contained unit in a building having similar or
identical units.

Bachelor Apartment: a single room with bathroom and kitchenette.

Room and Board:          Lodging in a private home that includes meals.
Facilities and meals are shared with other members of the family.
Although it can be expensive, it is a good way of living with Canadian

Furnished apartment: an apartment or room that comes with furniture.
For example, a bed, couch, desk etc.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             31
Make sure you have checked out the following items before signing an
agreement (lease):

1. The amount of the rent and the date on which it is due
2. The amount of the deposit and the conditions for a refund
3. Whether such items as heat and/or electricity are included in the
   rental fee or not
4. Whether you are allowed to have visitors, whether there are time
5. Whether pets are allowed; be sure the type of pet is specific, as cats
   may be allowed when dogs are not
6. Whether the building is appropriate for children
7. The amount of advance notice that must be given before the tenant
8. Whether the tenant can make changes in the apartment, such as
   painting, hanging up decorations, etc.
9. Damage deposit is also required by most landlords. An inspection
   should be done of the premises before you move in and a completed
   check list signed by BOTH you and the landlord/inspector. Keep a
   copy of the signed check list.

Be sure that you make a written agreement (lease) with the landlord so
that there is a complete understanding of the conditions under which you
are renting.

The apartment should be clean, and all the appliances in working order
before you move in. You are not required to clean an apartment yourself
before you move in. After you have moved in it is your responsibility to
keep the apartment clean and notify the landlord if any of the appliances
need to be fixed or replaced. It is also expected that you clean when you
move out.

Signing a lease/agreement
A lease is a legally binding contract which you (the tenant) and your
landlord sign. By signing this agreement you agree to pay rent for a
certain number of months, usually a year at that particular location. Make
sure you understand the agreement of the lease before signing. When
you sign the lease you must be given a copy. It is very difficult to break a
lease, so do not sign a lease for a longer period of time than you actually
intend to stay.

            32       International Student Handbook
The following hints may help to keep the landlord/tenant relationship as
friendly as possible:
1. Pay your rent on time
2. Keep the apartment clean
3. Tell the landlord if any appliances need fixing, or replacing, unless
     the contract states that this is your responsibility
4. Do not damage the apartment or room
5. Notify your landlord of all necessary repairs and allow him/her to
     enter the apartment to make the repairs or to deal with emergencies.

Apartments to rent are also listed in the newspapers, and notices are
often posted around the campus or on bulletin boards in stores and
shopping malls.

Counseling Services
 Although moving to a new country to study is an exciting and rewarding
experience, there may be times when it is difficult to cope, especially in
the pressure of a university environment. Feelings of inadequacy, fears,
grief, depressions, loneliness and confusion about where our lives are
headed are feelings we have all experienced at one time or another. To
help you deal with your feelings and find solutions to present problems in
living, counseling services are available to you. Experienced counselors,
deeply committed to helping people develop their potential in order to live
fuller, more satisfying lives, will give confidential assistance to you,

Personal Counseling on an individual basis to help you resolve
difficulties in living such as emotional pain, emptiness, lack of purpose,
inner turmoil, anxiety attacks, grief, excess tension, or couple conflict.
Please contact the Health Services Office in the Dairy Building (#31 on
the campus map) for more information. The Dean of Student Services
also assists with student counseling. (Offices are in the Dairy Building,
#31 on the NSAC campus map)

Career Counseling on a group basis to help you make career or
educational decisions, sort out what you want to do with your life, and
regain direction in your university studies. The Career Information
Library includes material describing a wide range of occupations, all
Canadian university and college calendars, pamphlets on resume writing,
and reports on occupations trends. These are available in the Career
Services office in the Dairy Building.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             33
Academic counseling on selecting courses and planning your study
program, is available through you academic advisor. If you do not know
who your academic advisor is, please contact Registry. Graduate
students should consult their research supervisor or the faculty Graduate
coordinator, Dr. Dian Patterson.

Settling Into the Canadian Environment
A large part of your growth and education in Canada will involve your
relationship with Canadians. The population of Nova Scotia is about
900,000, the town of Truro and area is about 20,000 You may find some
of their attitudes and behaviors in social situations very different from
those of your country.

Because our society is changing and because it consists of a large
mixture of cultures and ethnic groups, you will probably encounter a
variety of responses to social situations. You are encouraged to be
yourself. Ask questions if you do not understand or need clarification on

The following are given as general guidelines for social situations:

Meeting People
When people are introduced for the first time, it is customary to shake
their hands; however, men tend to shake hands more than women, who
prefer to simply say, “hello”.

Formal Greetings
In formal situations, it is correct to shake hands and say, “good morning”
or “good afternoon”, etc. This type of greeting is also used if the person is
older than you or a distinguished person.

Informal Greetings
With people of approximately your own age and status, such as other
students or your neighbors, more informal greetings are used. It is
correct to say. “Hello Jim,” or just “hi” in casual situations. If you are
meeting the person for the first time it is also appropriate to say “Nice to
meet you”. After that, it is appropriate to say “Hi Jim, how are you?”
Asking how the other person is, is a standard form of conversation on
greeting someone. The usual response is “Very well, thank you”, or

            34        International Student Handbook
“Fine, thanks”, as this is a greeting rather than an inquiry about the
person‟s health.

Use of Names and Titles
The first name of the person is generally used on the first meeting or
thereafter. However, if the other person is clearly older than you, you
should say Mr., Mrs, Ms, or Miss plus the last name, for example, “Hello,
Mrs. Smith.” The person may ask you to call him/her by the first name.
Women may let you know which title they prefer in which case you
should use the title or first name in addressing the person.

If the person has a title such as Doctor, Dean or Professor, it is correct to
use the title plus the last name, as in Dean Jones. Any faculty member
can be addressed as Professor whether she/he holds the rank of
assistant professor, associate, or full professor. Again, if the person asks
you to use their first name instead, do so.

If at any time you are unsure what to call a person, then ask, “What do
you prefer to be called?” If the person seems unclear what to call you, tell
him or her your preference.

Culture Shock
When you arrive in Canada, depending on your racial and class
background, you may encounter an environment where the norms and
values are radically different from your own. In such a situation, day-to-
day living can prove to be difficult and social situations can present
numerous frustrations. Social psychologists define this experience as
„culture shock‟. Some examples of this syndrome are loneliness, feelings
of alienation, constant fatigue, the desire to remain withdrawn, frustration
and anger. These feelings are exaggerated in certain situations; for
instance, the anger you may experience when you feel that you have
been refused accommodation because of the colour of your skin, or the
alienation a Muslim might feel when the need to pray five times a day is
misunderstood. The inability to cope with such feelings can be a real
hindrance to fulfilling the essential purpose of your presence in Canada –
to acquire an education. In the face of such situations, it is tempting to
develop stereotypes about Canadian characteristics on the basis of
personal experiences of the behavior of individual Canadians. This
confusion of personal and cultural traits often creates problems of
communication between Canadians and international students.
Remember: Canadians are not a homogeneous group, even though
there is a dominant number of English and French-speaking groups.
Above all, remember that Canadians are like any other group of people.
They have their strengths and their weaknesses.

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             35
The feelings and reactions described here have been found to be
common among international students. If you find yourself in a situation
where difficulty in communication has resulted in a disagreeable
experience for you, discuss it with your international student advisor, a
counsellor on campus or a fellow international student who has been in
Canada longer than yourself. Through discussion with others, feelings of
anger or anxiety can be diffused and made easier to cope with. Do not
keep the emotions bottled up inside you.

Learning about the history and culture of the Canadian community in
which you live will help you to understand and cope with differences in
culture and values. Participating in group activities that include Canadian
and international students will help develop the kind of friendships that
will enable you to cope with culture shock, by providing the place to talk
about different ways of doing things. A host family, the peer program or
the International Students Association may be able to help you with these

Customs with regard to dating (or going out with and developing an
intimate relationship with someone, of the opposite sex or same sex),
vary widely around the world. It is hard to generalize about dating in
Canada, because different regions, and different ethnic and religious
groups, have their own customs.

International students may think of Canada as permissive in terms of
sexual relations - and perhaps it is in comparison with other cultures.
Nevertheless, individuals, both men and women, have the right to set
their own limits. Someone who agrees to go on a date with you is not
saying yes to having sex with you. Everyone has the right to say no to
having sexual relations, regardless of whether this is a first date or
long term relationship.

If you are feeling uncertain about dating, and would like more
information, you might wish to talk to your international student advisor or
another counseling service on campus.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and it violates human
rights; you have a right to study or work in an environment free of sexual
harassment. Most universities and colleges have or are in the process of
developing a sexual harassment policy. Check your NSAC Student
Handbook for information.

            36       International Student Handbook
Visiting a Canadian Home
Formal Invitation
If you are asked to an official or formal event at a Canadian home, you
will receive a written invitation from the hosts giving the date, time, place
and describing the type of occasion, such as dinner, reception, etc. This
kind of invitation normally has the letters R.S.V.P. printed on the bottom
left corner, standing for “Respondez, s‟il vous plait.” This indicates that a
reply is necessary and you may respond by writing, email or more
usually, by telephoning either your acceptance or your regrets if you
cannot attend. Note that it is important to reply even if you cannot attend
so that the hosts knows how many guests to expect. If you should have
any last minute changes of plans it is also polite and expected that you to
tell the hosts. You should also indicate any dietary restrictions you may
have so that your hosts can be properly prepared.

If you are unclear what clothing would be appropriate, ask what you
should wear. You should be punctual for the occasion, especially if a
meal is involved. An invitation that reads “Reception 7-9 p.m.” indicates
that the reception will be ongoing for those hours, and it is not completely
necessary to arrive right at 7 p.m., although it is usual to arrive very
shortly after. You do not necessarily have to remain for the entire two
hours, although it is quite correct to do so.

On leaving the formal event, you should thank your hosts. A written thank
you note is always appreciated, although it is not always expected.

Informal invitation
This type of invitation may consist of a phone call or simply being asked
by a person to “Come for dinner next Thursday.” Again, find out the time
you are expected, what type of clothing would be appropriate and
mention any dietary restrictions you have. Be sure to arrive on time for
the event. If you have a last minute change of plans, or you are going to
be late, telephone the host/hostess to let them know. On leaving, a
verbal thank you is all that is required. However, if many people have
attended the event and you would like to show your hosts your
appreciation of their effort, a short thank you note will always be

If the hosts are preparing the meal alone, it is polite to ask if they need
help. It is also polite to ask if you can help to clean up after. In either
case, abide by the wishes of your hosts. Some will welcome your offer,
but others may prefer to cook and clean up themselves when the guests
have left. At both formal and informal events, you may find that drinks,
either alcoholic or non-alcoholic are being offered. If you prefer a non-
alcoholic drink and none is offered, it is quite acceptable to ask your

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             37
hosts for one. If you are unsure of any of the customs at the table, follow
the example of your hosts. Remember to inform your hosts of any dietary
restrictions before so that they can be prepared.

It is not necessary to bring a gift to the family unless you are invited to a
particular gift-giving occasion, such as a birthday party or some festivity
such as Christmas, where gifts will be exchanged. In those cases, a
small token gift is quite appropriate. Gifts are generally only given to
close friends and relatives. Generally, you should try to give something
you know your friend would enjoy or needs. The thought, rather than size
or expense, is the important thing to remember in gift-giving. You might
also want to bring a gift to someone who has been particularly kind or
helpful to you as a token of appreciation. In other instances, such as
Christmas, cards are appropriate to give to friends and colleagues. If you
receive gifts and open them in the presence of the giver, a verbal thank
you is all that is required. If the giver is not present, a thank you note
should be sent and the gift should be mentioned specifically.

NSAC and the local community offer a wide variety of activities including
sporting events, theatrical productions, and musical events, with more
available in Halifax and other regional towns and cities. Although some
are costly, many are free and well worth knowing about. Watch the local
and university newspapers for announcements - what films are showing,
what entertainers are visiting, what sports will be taking place, etc. The
cost of tickets, date, location and time will be specified. Local events will
be listed in the Truro Daily newspaper while events happening in Halifax
will be advertised in the Halifax Chronicle Herald. NSAC MacRae Library
has daily copies of both of these newspapers for you to read in the

NSAC has a gymnasium on campus with a weight room, cardio area,
squash and racquetball courts and exercise facilities. There is a
swimming pool located at AgriTech Park, 3 km. east on Pictou Road.
Access to these facilities is included in your student fees at registration.
Many sporting activities are offered throughout the year.

Truro has many exercise facilities and is noted for its beautiful thousand-
acre Victoria Park, located in the heart of Truro‟s urban area. It is a
             38       International Student Handbook
natural gem for residents and visitors alike. In addition to a children‟s
playground, outdoor swimming pool, tennis club and picnic area, the park
offers some of the area‟s most spectacular scenery and photo
opportunities. There are also biking and walking trails. Most orientation
sessions at NSAC will include a trip here.

The MacRae Library is situated on the NSAC campus ( #7 on the NSAC
campus map). The MacRae Library is the largest repository of
agricultural resource material in Atlantic Canada, housing over 26,000
books, videos, and documents, 20,000 microfiche, 600 journal
subscriptions, a back-file of more than 18,000 bound journal volumes and
a growing collection of electronic resources.

Information Literacy: In the MacRae Library we take the view that every
student deserves and has the right to graduate with strong information
literacy skills, competent in locating, reading, evaluating and citing
appropriate information, whether in traditional library collections, in
information databases, or on the Internet. The Library staff wants you to
be successful in your academic career at NSAC and in your career that
follows and will make every effort to assist you in locating the information,
books, and articles you need.

The Colchester-East Hants Regional Library can be found at 754 Prince
Street in downtown Truro. You must apply for a free library card in order
to take out books.

Truro has one movie theatre, Empire Studio Theatre, which has seven
screens. You may call the theatre (895-3456) or visit:
www.empiretheatres.com for up to date information on prices, show
times and selection of movies currently being shown. The theatre is
located in the Truro Power Centre, which is about 15 minutes away by

If you have access to a television and a DVD player you may rent a
movie and watch it in your own home. Look in the Yellow Pages of the
telephone directory for businesses which rent movies (videos).

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.             39
Tips or service charges are not added to the bill in a restaurant or hotel
unless the management states that it is their specific policy to do so. A tip
is, however, expected as part of the salary of the waiter/waitress, or hotel
employee. It is customary to tip 15% of the total bill (minus taxes), unless
you are dissatisfied with the service for some reason. In that case, you
can leave a smaller tip, or none at all, depending upon the
circumstances. Tips are not expected in cafeterias or fast food places.
Taxi drivers are also tipped 15% of the fare.

Day Care
A number of day care centres are available in Truro. Check the Yellow
Pages of our telephone directory for numbers and addresses. There is
also a day care at the NSAC. It is open five days a week from 7:30 a.m.-
5:30 p.m. A reduced rate is available for the children of students. Janet
Savery is the manager and can be reached at 893-6501 or email

Babysitters can be found through advertisements on bulletin boards on
campus or in shopping malls and other public areas, or in the classified
section of the newspaper. Babysitters may come to your home, or you
may take the child to theirs. If the babysitter is working from his/her own
home, he/she may take in more than one child. Check the situation and
see if it is suitable for your needs before making a commitment. You may
find that babysitters rates will vary, depending on whether the sitter
comes to your home or, in the case of taking your child to the sitter‟s
home, whether or not food is to be provided. Check around to find the
situation that meets your particular needs.

It is common for teenaged children to babysit in the evening when
parents are out. Make sure a teenage babysitter has taken an approved
babysitter course to prepare them for the responsibility. You should
always ask for references.

            40       International Student Handbook
Christianity is the most common religion in Canada. The three largest
churches are Roman Catholic, United Church of Canada (a union of
several protestant groups) and Anglican. Smaller Protestant
denominations and Jewish communities are concentrated in various
regions. Over the past two centuries, Canada has attracted many small
religious groups that have suffered persecution in other lands. More
recent immigrant groups from Asia have introduced Islam, Hinduism,
Buddhism and the Sikh religion. Check the Yellow Pages of the
telephone directory for places of worship in your area.

                     NSAC. Embrace Your World.          41
Public Holidays in Canada
Banks and most public offices are closed, as are many other stores and

Labour Day             First Monday in September; last holiday
                       weekend of summer, honoring working men and

Thanksgiving Day       Second Monday in October; celebration of

Remembrance Day        November 11, Memorial Services are held for
                       those who served their country in the Armed

Christmas Day          December 25, a Christian religious holiday
                       celebrating the birth of Christ.

Boxing Day             December 26, originally a British tradition where
                       citizens gave boxes of food and fruit to
                       tradespeople and servants the day after

New Year’s Day         January 1, most celebrations occur on the
                       evening of December 31, as Canadians
                       celebrate the end of the old year and the start of
                       a new year.

Good Friday            A Christian religious holiday. Late March or early
                       April; marks the death of Christ.

Easter Sunday          A joyous Christian religious holiday marking the
                       resurrection of Christ

Victoria Day           Third Monday in May; first holiday of summer,
                       commemorates the birthday of Queen Victoria.

Canada Day             July 1, Canada‟s Birthday

Civic Holiday          First Monday in August, general public holiday.

           42       International Student Handbook
Appendix A: Information on Student
Health Insurance Policy for Graduate

                   Nova Scotia Agricultural College
                International Student Health Insurance
                    Fact Sheet: Graduate Students
                        Current Academic Year

This fact sheet provides information further to the International Student
Health Insurance Policy as approved by NSAC Senior Management May
23, 2007. It applies to graduate students who are registered at NSAC in
the Master‟s program or qualifying year, under an international study

Students registered for a PhD program at another university, including
Dalhousie University, should consult with the appropriate office at that
university concerning their health insurance coverage.

Choice of the company to cover health insurance for international
students is at the discretion of NSAC Administration. Every effort is
made to keep this cost low while providing the services students need.
By student referendum, the NSAC Student Union is responsible for
arrangements for extended medical and dental insurance for those
students who have obtained Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance
(MSI). In both cases, costs to students are less than an individual
application would be.

Academic year:           the period from September 1 to August 31.
Fall semester:           the period from September 1 until December 31.
Winter semester:         the period from January 1 to April 30.
Spring semester:         the period from May 1 to August 31

1) NSAC International is responsible for administering international
student health insurance. Please contact the International and
Exchange Student Coordinator if you have any questions or if your status

2) All international students will be automatically enrolled in
StudentGuard for the first year of their stay at NSAC. Students at NSAC
for longer periods will remain on StudentGuard unless MSI coverage has
been arranged (see Applying for MSI below).

                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.             43
3) You will be billed for StudentGuard by the Finance Office through your
student account. For First Year Students this is usually done once a
year. For Returning Students this is done on a per semester basis, up to
three times a year. Dates of billing and semester cost are detailed below
for the academic year. Costs and dates may change from year to year,
and are based on rates set by the insurance company.

4) Graduate students will be enrolled on StudentGuard on an individual
basis if they arrive at a time other than the start of a semester. Coverage
will begin two days before the intended arrival date at NSAC up to the
start of the new academic year. Then they will be enrolled for one full
year (12 months). Note that if you arrive at a date other than the start of
the semester, the cost will differ from that given in the table below, and
may be more. You will be told of the amount when your travel and arrival
dates are received at NSAC International.

5) Graduating students on StudentGuard will be covered until the end of
the term in which you submit your thesis. If you plan on remaining longer
in Canada, please contact NSAC International to discuss a possible

6) Basic insurance coverage does not apply for medical costs you incur
in your home country. Travel outside of Canada is covered by Student
Guard, but not to your home country.

            44       International Student Handbook
Appendix B: Information on Student
Health Insurance Policy for
Undergraduate Student
                  Nova Scotia Agricultural College
               International Student Health Insurance
                Fact Sheet: Undergraduate Students
                       Current Academic Year

This fact sheet provides information further to the International Student
Health Insurance Policy as approved by NSAC Senior Management May
23, 2007. It applies to undergraduate students who are at NSAC under
an international study permit.

Choice of the company to cover health insurance for international
students is at the discretion of NSAC Administration. Every effort is
made to keep this cost low while providing the services students need.
By student referendum, the NSAC Student Union is responsible for
arrangements for extended medical and dental insurance for those
students who have obtained Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance
(MSI). In both cases, costs to students are less than an individual
application would be.

Academic year:          the period from September 1 to August 31
Fall semester:          the period from September 1 until December 31.
Winter semester:        the period from January 1 to April 30.
Spring semester:        the period from May 1 to August 31

1) NSAC International is responsible for administering international
student health insurance. Please contact the International and
Exchange Student Coordinator if you have any questions or if your status

2) All international students will be automatically enrolled in
StudentGuard for the first year of their stay at NSAC. Students at NSAC
for longer periods will remain on StudentGuard unless MSI coverage has
been arranged (see Applying for MSI below).

3) You will be billed for StudentGuard by the Finance Office through your
student account. For First Year Students this is usually done once a
year. For Returning Students this is done on a per semester basis, up to
three times a year. Dates of billing and semester cost are detailed below
for the academic year. Costs and dates may change from year to year,
and are based on rates set by the insurance company.
                      NSAC. Embrace Your World.           45
4) International students remaining in Canada during the summer
semester break and planning on returning to NSAC for the fall semester
are required to have appropriate insurance as defined by NSAC during
this period. You will automatically be billed for this unless you can
demonstrate that you will be returning to your home country for this
period. You must inform NSAC International of your plans by the end of

5) Graduating students on StudentGuard will be covered until three days
following graduation. If you plan on remaining longer in Canada, please
contact NSAC International to discuss a possible extension.

6) Basic insurance coverage does not apply for medical costs you incur
in your home country. If you return to your home for several weeks or for
the summer, note that you will not be covered.

            46      International Student Handbook
Appendix C: Information on Applying
for Medical Services Insurance (MSI)
The following Information is for both Graduate and Undergraduate

Applying to MSI:

Once you have been in Canada for 12 consecutive months:

1) You may apply to Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance (MSI), at
www.gov.ns.ca/health/msi/contact.asp , telephone: 1-800-563-8880. You
must do this on an individual basis. You are not required to do this; it is at
your discretion.

Once you have received your proof of MSI coverage (your Nova Scotia
Health Card), bring this to NSAC International and you will be removed
from the Student Guard plan at the time you are eligible to be added to
the Gallivan plan. You are responsible for StudentGuard costs until that
time. Refunds are not able to be issued for partial semesters, and
Gallivan will only accept new entries in September and January.

At the beginning of the Fall or Winter semester you will be added to the
Gallivan Insurance policy and will be removed from StudentGuard. The
amount required for Gallivan coverage will be billed to your student
                                       Removed from StudentGuard
Proof of MSI coverage provided
                                       and added to Gallivan
September to December                  January of following year
January to August                      September

2) You should be aware that MSI does not cover some items. Also be
aware that you may lose your MSI coverage if you leave Nova Scotia for
an extended period. Please contact the MSI representative for complete
information. NSAC International is not able to advise on specific MSI

 If you do lose your MSI coverage on your return to NSAC you must
contact NSAC International immediately to resume Student Guard. You
risk large bills for medical care if this is not done.

Family Coverage
1) It is strongly recommended that families of international students
have medical coverage while in Canada. You may apply for this
coverage from StudentGuard through NSAC International. If your family

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.              47
members have MSI coverage you may apply to have them added to the
Gallivan policy.

2) The request for family coverage should be made to NSAC
International two weeks before the start of the semester or before your
family arrives in Canada, whichever is earliest. Include full names and
birthdates of family members, and the period they will be in Canada.
Once you have requested family coverage this will be continued until you
have graduated or until the end of the semester in which you inform
NSAC International that your family is no longer in Canada.

Note that there may be a gap in coverage if there is not two weeks notice
and that
refunds cannot be issued if the family member leaves Canada before the
semester end.

3) The billing will be done through the Finance Office, to the student‟s
account. Payment is due at the beginning of the semester, or, if coverage
starts later, immediately NSAC International approves this.

4) If your family member qualifies for MSI, and if you are are eligible for
Gallivan, you may apply for family coverage under Gallivan by
completing an application form and paying the family coverage fee. This
may be done only once per year, and the application must be received by
the NSAC Student Benefits Plan Office by the applicable deadline for the
semester period of enrolment.

5) You may arrange for family coverage privately. However be aware that
the cost is likely to be much greater than StudentGuard or Gallivan
through NSAC.

For more information and to arrange for family coverage and/or
changes to your status:

Mr. Mark Mason, International and Exchange Student Coordinator,
NSAC International
mmason@nsac.ca, telephone 893-6905

Ms. Michele Richards, Administrative Assistant, NSAC International.
mrichards@nsac.ca, telephone 893-6514

            48       International Student Handbook
StudentGuard Costs and Billing Dates:

First Year Students:
 Date of Billing         Cost for year           Effective Coverage
September of first                            365 days, commencing with
       year                                         date of arrival

Returning Student:
 Date of Billing   Cost for semester              Effective Coverage
                                                September 10 to start of
   September                 $220              classes in January of next
     January                 $220                 January to May 10
       May                   $220               May 10 to September 10

**Note that costs will be adjusted depending on actual date of arrival to
NSAC and could be higher or lower.

*** You must apply to NSAC International by the end of March, if you
plan on returning to your home country for May to September period.
Otherwise, you will be billed for StudentGuard coverage during that
period. NOTE that StudentGuard will not cover medical costs in your
home country and travel outside Canada can affect your acceptance into

Gallivan Costs and Billing Dates*:
  Date of Billing        Cost for year          Effective Coverage
 September Start             $282             September 1 to August 31
   January Start             $236              January 1 to August 31
* Family rates vary depending on number of dependants. Please
enquire at the Gallivan Benefits Plan office.

Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance (MSI),
Telephone: 1-800-563-8880.

Gallivan Insurance
Telephone: 902-893-6632

Student Guard (Guard Me)
Telephone: 1-888-756-8428

                       NSAC. Embrace Your World.            49
         50     International Student Handbook

                 NSAC. Embrace Your World.    51

         52     International Student Handbook