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Johnston hall in the fall

International Student Advising

The International Student Advisors (ISAs) provide one-on-one confidential advising to full degree undergraduate and graduate international students, new immigrants, and refugees. Common topics of conversation include housing, academic concerns, immigration (study permit, visa, post-graduate work permit, etc.), financial difficulties, and culture shock. Our ISAs can also help you get involved on campus, connect with other students, and talk through any personal concerns. Regardless of the nature of your visit, our ISAs are always happy to see you and to provide guidance and support as needed. You can book an appointment with an ISA using the information below and we also have drop-in hours each semester for those that want to come by without an appointment.  Check out our International Student Connections newsletter for more updated information each semester.

Here are some of the ways the ISAs can assist:

  • Help to connect with others on campus
  • Feeling homesick, lonely or isolated
  • How to look for work on or off campus
  • Information on how to get your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Health Insurance questions
  • How to get more involved on campus (volunteering, joining extracurricular activities)
  • Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and/or depressed
  • Coping with the winter blues

Immigration related:

  • How to extend your Study Permit
  • Change of conditions
  • Work eligibility for both on and off-campus
  • What to expect after graduation, applying for your Post-Graduate Work Permit
  • Implications of dropping to part-time status
  • Scheduled and Unscheduled breaks
  • Spousal permits
  • Temporary Resident Visas (TRV)
Drop-In Advising

The International Student Advisors are available for in-person drop-in advising appointments on the third floor of the University Centre at the following times:

Mondays:  1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
Tuesdays:  1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Wednesdays:  2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Thursdays:  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
Fridays: Appointment Only

Get to know the International Student Advisors

Matthew Keefe

 Hey everyone! My name is Matthew Keefe and I am one of your International Student Advisors in Student Experience. I’m here to help you navigate the relationship Immigration has with your academics, making sure that you are setting yourself up for success not only during your studies but once you graduate as well. My role also includes providing support throughout your time at the University of Guelph, from the transition to life on campus and here in Canada, to helping you build your community in a new place. I also work with all stakeholders on campus from your faculty members to Coordinators and Counsellors to better the understanding of the path an International Student goes through and how we can all work together to better your experience.  

Contact Matthew

  519-824-4120 Ext. 58698

Ernest Damalie

 Hello Gryphons! My name is Ernest Damalie and I am one of your International Student Advisors here at the University of Guelph. As an alumna who was an international student on U of G campus, I am a proud Gryphon with passion to advise and support your immigration and non-immigration transition to campus and life in Canada. I'm here to support your student journey as you navigate and balance your academics with your career and immigration aspirations. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This quote fuels my passion for advising. My greatest satisfaction is to see you succeed and I'm looking forward to connecting with you.  

Contact Ernest

  519-824-4120 Ext. 54347

What is an Advisor?

Wondering what the difference is between the International Student Advisor and the Counsellors in Counselling Services?

An Advisor is a staff member that provides information about the many supports and resources available to students. An Advisor can guide and assist you in navigating the university system, explaining and clarifying institutional policies, describing the overarching expectations of students, and facilitating connections with other campus or community supports, resources or services.

Students can also access Counselling Services in the Vaccarino Centre for Student Wellness.