ISS is here for you.

All services continue to be offered remotely during regular business hours.

COVID-19 Updates from International Student Services: August 2021: Easing of border measures coming into effect on August 9th, 2021 at 12:01am (ET). 
The latest updates can be found on the Entering Canada page.
            1. International students with a valid study permit (or approval letter) can travel to Canada (McGill is on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan). Before making travel plans, please refer to our Entering Canada page.
            2. Fully vaccinated travellers authorized to enter Canada by land or by air, are now exempt from the federal requirement to undergo a 14-day quarantine. The 14-day quarantine continues to be required for all other travellers who are not considered fully vaccinated.
           3. For more information, please refer to McGill's quarantine resources and IHI’s vaccination FAQs.

Please visit our COVID-19 page for additional news, resources, and FAQs.

International Student Buddy Program FAQs

Volunteer FAQs

PLEASE NOTE: If your questions are not answered by this FAQ, send your query to international.buddy [at]

1. Am I eligible to be a buddy volunteer?

The only eligibility requirement to become a buddy volunteer is having been a McGill student for at least 1 (full) academic year. Our buddy volunteer training webinar will equip you with all the skills and information you need to know to be a good buddy. Once you complete this training, we will add you to our database of matchable volunteers.

2. How do I become a buddy volunteer?

Sign up to volunteer as a buddy. Then, register for the mandatory buddy volunteer training webinar. This online training webinar is designed to help you:

  • Understand your role and responsibilities
  • Understand culturally influenced communication styles
  • Engage in culturally sensitive and respectful dialogue
  • Facilitate the new student's transition to McGill and Montreal
  • Refer students to helpful resources
  • Understand and respect student privacy and confidentiality

3. How many students can I be paired with?

You can receive a match with 1-5 new international students, depending on your preference and availability.

4. How long does it take to receive a buddy match?

We match on a rolling basis. The matching process depends on the suitability of your profile with the new students that sign up for the program.

Once we make a match, you and your buddy receive a joint introductory email containing all the necessary information to make the initial contact with each other.

5. What is expected of me as a buddy volunteer?

This is a low-commitment volunteer opportunity. As a Buddy Volunteer, you may be the very first friend for a new international student at McGill! You serve an important role in easing a new student's transition to McGill and to Montreal, and in helping them feel a little less overwhelmed by their new environment.

You are required to attend the online training webinar. If you can’t attend this webinar, please watch the recording and fill out a short quiz to become matchable.

After being matched with your buddy, you are expected to fulfill the following four milestones to receive recognition in your Co-Curricular record:

  • Emailing your Buddy within 7 days of being matched
  • Meeting with your Buddy at least once in person or virtually
  • Sending a mid-term check-in message to your Buddy
  • Completing your end-of-term report

You must report all these milestones in the buddy portal to earn CCR recognition. We will talk more about this in the buddy volunteer training webinar.

6. What should I do if my buddy is not responding, or if I want to change my buddy?

If you want to change your buddy, for any reason, please log in to the buddy portal, select the box which says, “I would like to request a new buddy” and provide the reason for requesting a new buddy. Afterward, we will receive a notification.

Once we receive this notification to change your buddy, we will look into the match and potentially revoke it. Next, you and the buddy you were matched with, will receive an email from us revoking your match due to confidential reasons. Finally, we will enable your eligibility for another match in our system.

7. Does Co-Curricular Record mention the number of students I mentored?

No. The Co-Curricular record simply provides a description of the Buddy program, the role of buddy volunteers as mentors for new international students and the milestones you completed. Your Co-Curricular Record reflects that you were a buddy volunteer for the given academic term/year, upon the successful completion and self-reporting of all the four milestones on the buddy portal.

8. Why should I become a buddy volunteer?

There are many benefits of being a buddy like:

  • making new social connections
  • developing intercultural communication skills
  • acquiring mentorship experience and other transferable skills
  • obtaining recognition on your official McGill Co-Curricular record

For more information on the perks of volunteering, please visit our webpage.

New Student FAQs

PLEASE NOTE: If your questions are not answered by this FAQ, send your query to international.buddy [at]

1. How will my buddy help me?

To help you transition to life in Montreal and at McGill, the Buddy Program connects new international students with returning students. Returning McGill students provide a friendly face, a helping hand, and the first Montreal friendship that can make a world of difference for newly arriving international students like yourself. Buddies can also offer linguistic support, cultural guidance and information about life at McGill, Montreal and Canada.

2. What can I do if I’m not satisfied with my buddy?

If there are any problems with your buddy match, please send us an email at international.buddy [at] Next, we look into the match and may revoke it. You and your buddy will then receive an email revoking the match due to confidential reasons. Finally, we make you eligible for another match.

At the end of the semester, we send out a feedback survey where you may share with us your experience with your buddy and the program.

3. How can I update my personal information in the buddy program?

You will need to email us at international.buddy [at] to make any updates on your profile.

4. I want to be matched with another new student like me.

If you want to be matched with another new student, sign up for the First Friend Program. This program matches students in the same degree level, faculty and time zones so that you can become friends and navigate your first year at McGill together. Find out more information about the First Friend Program. You can participate in both International Student Buddy Program and First Friend Program at the same time.

Back to top