Student Travel and Pre-Departure Sessions

Welcome to Cape Breton University! We can’t wait to welcome you for the Spring/Summer 2023 semester. Below you will find helpful information that will help you prepare for your travels to Canada to begin your studies.

International Student Travel: Spring 2023

In preparation for your arrival in Canada, please carefully review the terms from the Government of Canada to make sure you meet the criteria for travel. Students who have not secured housing and accommodations should not travel to Canada and are encouraged to defer their studies to a future semester.

IRCC Changes for Studying Online

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently announced changes to restrictions for post-secondary students taking online courses as it relates to their future post-graduate work permit (PGWP) applications. All students who started or will start a program of study between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023, are required to complete at least 50% of their program (or programs) of study in Canada.

  • For the above group of students, up until August 31, 2023, time spent studying outside of Canada will be counted toward the overall length of the PGWP only if it constitutes less than 50% of the program.

Arriving at your port-of-entry into Canada:

When you arrive at a port-of-entry into Canada, you’ll meet a border services officer who will make sure you meet some basic requirements for arrival in Canada.

Travelling to Sydney, Nova Scotia

Airport pick-up in Sydney, Nova Scotia, will be available from April 21-28, 2023. Airport pick-up requests must be submitted 48 hours prior to your arrival time in Sydney, Nova Scotia. All students must have accommodations secured before booking. For more information about on- and off-campus housing, please visit

International Student Health Insurance

Arriving in Canada on May 1 or later? Your international student health insurance plan with Cape Breton University will begin on May 1, 2023, or on the date you arrive in Canada if you arrive after May 1, 2023. Arriving in Canada before May 1, 2023? Please visit and click EARLY/LATE ARRIVALS. You can also learn more about international students health insurance at CBU. A list of international students health insurance FAQs is also available.

Pre-Departure Sessions

CBU’s pre-departure series is an opportunity for students to learn more about CBU and ask questions to our International Student and Study Abroad Centre team. Please see the full pre-departure schedule below with links on how to access each. Miss a session? Following each session, a full recording, including the top five key takeaways, will be posted below.

Pre-Departure Session Schedule

Information Session with CBU’s International Student Advisors and Student Development Officers. Key takeaways from this session include:

  • Students must have their accommodations secured before travelling to Canada. Students must also arrive prior to classes beginning. Late arrivals will not be permitted.
  • Students must be advised before they can register for classes. For advising instructions, please visit For post-baccalaureate students, please reach out to Remember, all new students must be advised before they will be eligible to register for classes. Need help adding or planning your courses? Here is a helpful video that shows the process in full.  
  • International students cannot begin working until after they start their classes.
  • Students do not need a travel support letter. Students can take a screenshot of their Compass Student Account noting their course registration.
  • International students starting in May 2023 must be enrolled full-time, which is two courses for the spring/summer semester.

Watch the full recording here.

Information Session on CBU’s Post-Baccalaureate Programs. Watch the full recording here

Information Session with CBU’s Human Rights and Diversity Officer. Key takeaways from this session include:

  • Don’t hold it in! If you experience discrimination of any kind, you have a right to come forward.
  • Understand consent. Take a few minutes to review CBU’s Sexual Violence Policy and Respectful Campus Policy
  • Get permission. You do not have the right to take photos of people without their consent. You must always get permission from someone before taking their photo.
  • Canadian law is different from other laws around the world. It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws of this country.
  • Different cultures have different learning styles. In Canada, you do not share your work or copy work from other people. CBU has a policy of Academic Integrity. Click here to learn more.
  • In Canada, it is very important to be respectful of people’s time. Make sure to arrive to class before it starts, as it is disrespectful to arrive late.
  • You have rights and responsibilities while you are here – the same as a Canadian!

Watch the full recording here.

Information Session with CBU’s Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre and Health Insurance. Key takeaways from this session include: Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre

  • The Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre is a collaborative health care centre with nurses (including a mental health nurse), physicians and counsellors on site working together to meet the needs of our patients.
  • The Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre is located on the CBU campus and is available for to all CBU students.
  • This space is confidential. Any information shared by students with the Centre is kept private.
  • For more information, please contact or call 902-563-1359 to book an appointment.
  • To learn more, visit International Student Health Insurance

  • All students are required to be in the international student health insurance program.
  • Each student will be charged approximately $500 for their coverage, which will begin on May 1 or the first day they enter Canada if entering after May 1. The coverage will be valid until August 31, 2023.
  • Students will receive their policy number and card in their CBU email in June 2023. Please keep an eye on your CBU student email regularly.
  • Students that will be in Canada prior to May 1 are strongly encourage to enrol in the emergency plan, which can be found  here:
  • To review the policy coverage, please visit:
  • It is strongly recommended that all students purchase travel insurance prior to travelling to Canada.

Watch the full recording here.

Information Session with CBU’s Office of the Registrar, Admissions and Student Accounts. Key takeaways from this session include:

  • The Registrar’s Office does not issue enrolment letters for travel.
  • Stay in your courses! Due to seat availability and program capacity, it is strong recommended that once you are registered in your classes, to stay in those classes. Do not try to switch sections.
  • Be open! It is important to get your core courses first and be flexible with your electives. Be open to taking different courses.
  • Read the refund policy! Students must review the refund policy, as refunds are only issued when a study permit is refused. Official documentation from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is required for a refund to be processed.
  • Review class withdrawal rebate! Make sure to review the class withdrawal financial rebate schedule here to avoid financial penalties.

Watch the full recording here.

Information Session with CBU’s Housing and Ancillary Services Team. Key takeaways from this session include:

  • Secure your accommodations before you travel to Canada. Remember, housing is extremely limited in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. If you have not secured housing by April 14, 2023, we strongly recommend deferring/re-applying to a future intake. 
  • On-Campus Housing is a great option for your first semester! This allows you to get familiar with the CBU campus and the Sydney area, while making memories and connections in a safe and comfortable environment. There is still rooms available for spring/summer semester. Click here to learn more and to apply now.
  • Off-Campus Housing is limited, however, CBU has an off-campus listings page that is updated as soon as new listings become available. We strongly encourage students to use this page as it is a trusted source (*Facebook Marketplace and are more prone to Scams as they are user generated). If you are securing off-campus housing, make sure it is in an area that allows you to easily travel to and from your classroom locations. Baddeck, Halifax and other far-off locations are not suitable for CBU students. Please refer to a map of the area, and Transit Cape Breton to make sure the location is close to a bus route if using public transit.
  • Be cautious! If you find an off-campus location that is suitable to your needs, please use caution when transferring funds for deposits to landlords and ensure it is a legitimate rental. Review your rights as a tenant in Nova Scotia by visiting the Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies Act and/or the Residential Tenancies Program.
  • Tips to Avoid Scams: Are you wondering if something is too good to be true? It may be, so it’s important to protector yourself from scams and fraud. Click here for tips and tricks. 
Watch the full recording here.

Information Session with Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to discuss work, scams and taxes in Canada.

This session has been postponed.