The LINK program connects new international students with current Guelph students to help ease the transition into Canadian culture and life at the University of Guelph. The program is open to all exchange students and new full degree international students at the undergraduate and graduate level.
- To ensure that new international students are aware of the cultural, social and recreational opportunities available at the university and broader Guelph community.
- To educate new international students about the resources available to support their academic success.
- To encourage students to demonstrate an openness and confidence to navigate new environments and challenging experiences in culturally diverse environments.
- To encourage students to demonstrate an understanding of different cultural traditions and values.
- To foster a sense of belonging and kinship within diverse community contexts.
- To engage current Guelph students with the international student community.
- To provide an opportunity for students in the LINK Program to develop cross-cultural skills and foster global citizenship.
- To provide conversational English support for students that may require it.
Join the LINK Program as a New International Student
If you are a new undergraduate or graduate international student - either full degree or exchange - we encourage you to join the LINK Program. You will get one-on-one support from a current Guelph student who has volunteered to share their experiences and time with you.
By having a LINK Partner, you will:
- Get one-on-one assistance with daily questions while you settle in.
- Have help navigating your new campus and city.
- Have someone who can connect you with services, opportunities and academic, social and cultural resources on campus and in the city.
- Foster a sense of belonging in a new and diverse environment.
- Make a new friend from a different culture than your own.
Eligibility: Incoming undergraduate and graduate international students or exchange students who would like to receive one-on-one support from an upper-year student.
How it works: After you sign up for the LINK program, the program coordinator will pair you with a volunteer who is an upper-year student at the University of Guelph. You can contact your LINK partner before you arrive and meet your LINK Partner throughout the semester. You know you will have a friend here who is ready to assist you when you are in Guelph and Canada.
Time commitment: 1-2 hours per week for one semester.
What do I do with my LINK Partner? In the past, students usually like to have coffee/tea, enjoy a meal, go for a walk around our beautiful campus or Guelph, or participate in the LINK events which include Niagara Falls excursions, mixers and other fun events with their LINK Partner.
How to apply: Apply now by completing the application form on GryphLife - International Student Connections. Remember to include as much information as possible so that we can find you a good match!
Join the LINK Program as a Volunteer
If you are a current student at the University of Guelph who is interested in receiving excellent training and guidance, strengthening your intercultural competency, developing your interpersonal skills, and supporting a new international student, we encourage you to volunteer!
By being a LINK volunteer, you will:
- Help orient a new international student to Canadian culture and the University of Guelph environment.
- Learn about another culture through close interaction with an international student.
- Develop cross-cultural communication skills and foster global citizenship.
- Engage with the international student community.
- Make a new friend from a culture different from your own.
- Gain transferable skills and valuable experience that you can highlight on your resume.
Eligibility: University of Guelph students who have been enrolled at the UofG for at least one academic year.
How it works: After you sign up for the LINK program, you will need to complete an online training (90 minutes) to better prepare you for your role as a LINK volunteer. After completing the training, the program coordinator will pair you with an incoming international student. You will help your LINK partners with their transition to Guelph and Canada.
Time commitment: 1-2 hours per week for one semester.
What do I do with my LINK Partner? In the past, volunteers usually like to have coffee/tea, enjoy a meal, go for a walk around our beautiful campus/Guelph, or participate in LINK events and other on/off campus events with their LINK Partners.
How to apply: Apply now by completing the application form on GryphLife-International Student Connections. Remember to include as much information as possible so that we can find you a good match!
|Program Timeline||Fall Semester||Winter Semester|
|Volunteer Online Training||May||December|
|New International Student Sign-up||June-September||December-January|
|LINK Kick-off Mixer||Early September||Early January|
|Post Program Evaluation||December||April|
Here’s what international and exchange students have said about their experience with the LINK Program:
- "The LINK Program was a valuable addition to my semester abroad. I learned a lot about Guelph and the University of Guelph from a local, and it has broadened my perspective."
- "My LINK Partner ended up becoming my absolute best friend here!"
- "Do not be shy to put yourself out there and do not forget to enjoy!"
- "It was definitely a worthwhile program. My LINK Partner was a really good match and we got on really well."
- "As an exchange student, having someone you know who can answer any questions about coming here, eases the anxiety of coming to a new place on my own."
Here are some of the things past volunteers have said about their experience with the LINK Program:
- "The LINK Program is an amazing program that allows you to make friendships around the world in the comfort of your own university!"
- "My LINK Partner and I connected instantly and complemented each other so well. She taught me many things about her culture and traditions that make me want to visit her in her home country when the term is over!"