Prepare to leave UBC

You have many options to explore as you think of your life after completing your studies at UBC.

Going home

It is common to go through a period of transition upon returning home after you graduate, sometimes called “re-entry shock” or “reverse culture shock.” For some people, this process can be even more challenging than the initial adjustment to Canada. Fortunately, you can take steps to make your transition a purposeful one.

Before you return home

  • Write or talk to friends about your experiences in Canada. This will help you recognize and hold onto what you have learned and how you have changed.
  • Prepare for your departure: say goodbyes and celebrate your departure with friends and colleagues. Consider organizing a celebration party, or write letters to those who impacted you during your time at UBC.
  • Visit your favorite places one last time. Take photos and ask yourself what you have learned here that you want to incorporate into the next part of your life. Select souvenirs, real and symbolic, that will help you and your friends stay connected to this time you spent in Canada.
  • Plan for the details of your return home, including living arrangements, finances, career, and academic plans. Imagine what it might be like to be home and start looking forward to your next steps.

Once you're home

Returning home is different for everyone. It can be a time of reunion and celebration, but it can also feel lonely. It may be difficult to explain your experiences at UBC. You may not notice how much you have changed until you return home and suddenly find you do not fit into your old life as easily as you expected.

If you feel discouraged or frustrated when you return home, remember that these feelings are normal and will likely diminish as you adjust to life at home. Be patient and remember that most students reap great benefits from international study, despite the challenge of returning home. The experiences you had at UBC will be with you for a lifetime, so take time to thoughtfully integrate them into your life now. If you do find that you have difficulty coping when you return home, consider talking to someone who can help or understands.


  • Cultural Re-Adjustment, in Essential Guide to Study Abroad: Advice for returning students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, featuring top re-entry challenges and strategies for cultural re-adjustment
  • Cross-Cultural Adjustments during Reentry (Resources for Parents) on the University of Minnesota website

Staying in Canada

Your study permit will become invalid 90 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available (even before your study permit expiry date) or on the expiry date of your study permit, whichever comes first. If you plan to stay in Canada after your studies, you must apply to extend your stay in Canada before your study permit becomes invalid to maintain valid status in Canada. You have the following options.

As a student

Want to study more? Apply to extend your study permit after you are admitted to a new program or new institution before your study permit becomes invalid.

As a worker

If you'd like to stay in Canada to work, apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit as soon as you complete your program of studies.

As a visitor

If your study permit is going to expire and you want to stay in Canada temporarily as a visitor after you complete your studies, remember your study permit will become invalid after 90 days of completion and you need to apply for a visitor record within the 90 days even your study permit has not expired. You can apply online or by paper from within Canada to change your immigration status to visitor. The application must be submitted before your study permit becomes invalid.

Once you switch to a visitor record, any new application for a study permit or work permit must be made outside of Canada. You can apply online through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.


Some students choose to apply for permanent residency (PR) so they can remain in Canada as a permanent resident.

At UBC, International Student Advisors provide immigration advising and support focusing on students and student-related areas such as students’ dependents at no cost, but advising on PR-related issues is not in their scope of services and they do not advise on PR.

However, you can find some helpful information about PR in the International Student Guide's Tutorials, including common permanent residency pathways for international students (pdf).

You can also enrol in the Pathways to Permanent Residency Canvas course to view slides of recent IRCC and BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)'s information session.

Use this tutorial for guidance on how to hire a private authorized immigration representative if needed.

Further studies in Canada

If you will pursue further studies in Canada, be sure to visit the off-campus work page and taking time away from studies page for information on work eligibility and maintaining status between programs. If you will study at another Designated Learning Institution (DLI) you must change your DLI in the IRCC portal. If you return to UBC, you will need to change your DLI in the IRCC portal again. Ask an Academic Advisor or graduate program advisor if your credits can be transferred back to UBC or count towards your program requirements.

Be sure to extend your study permit before your study permit expires. If your new program will start after 150 days of receiving letter of completion of your last program, then you should apply to change your status to a visitor, or leave Canada until your new program starts. Please visit IRCC's website for more details, or meet an International Student Advisor for advice.

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International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus.

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