Latest information and updates about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from McMaster University
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster Logo McMaster logo

Graduate Studies

International Grad Navigator

Nervous about starting school in an unfamiliar place? Make a familiar connection and get support from a current international graduate student to help you adjust to your new life in Canada.

Are you beginning your graduate journey in May 2021? Stay tuned for more information about connecting with a Grad Navigator!

Incoming international grad students starting in May – check back for details about connecting with a Grad Navigator.

International grad navigators are current international graduate student volunteers who has “been there, done that”. They are eager to connect and help new international graduate students navigate their first-term experience by providing support from the perspective of a shared cultural background using a shared language that will help new students feel at home.


a silver compass, with the arrow pointing north

  • Ease the transition period and create a sense of belonging.
  • Build lasting connections between students, the university, and the community.
  • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Address unique cultural needs with shared perspectives.

What to expect

New international graduate students starting in May 2021 – sign-up details coming soon!

After you sign up, you will be matched with an international grad navigator. You are encouraged to communicate with your navigator through any preferred way that you both agree on (email, video chat, social media, etc.).

Benefits of connecting with an international grad navigator:

  • Establish connections with another student who have been through similar experiences.
  • Communicate in a language with which you are comfortable.
  • Access and learn about other university and community resources.

International Grad Navigators

International grad navigators are current McMaster international graduate students who are caring, mature, and understand the challenges incoming international grad students may face before – and during – their first term.

Benefits of becoming an international grad navigator:

  • Enhance leadership and communication skills.
  • Gain volunteer experience that can be added to your resume.
  • Receive a Certificate of Appreciation.
  • Connect new students to other student and community groups.
  • Connection with staff from Graduate Studies for additional support.

Requirements and expectations of navigators:

  • Be a current student who is in your second term of program or later.
  • Attend one of the four welcome sessions to receive basic training and guidelines.
  • Initiate communications with assigned new student.
  • Ensure a minimum of one communication per month, to check in with assigned new student during their first term.
  • Refer new students to relevant departments and service areas of the university, if the student’s needs are beyond the navigator’s scope.

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL GRAD STUDENTS: Registration will open in Winter 2021

To become an international grad navigator for incoming Winter 2021 students, submit your completed webform before November 24, 2020, and attend ONE of the 30-minute welcome sessions scheduled on November 26 or 27.

Available Sessions:

  • Thursday November 26, 11 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday November 26, 5 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday November 27, 10 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday November 27, 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Current navigators: You do not need to sign up and attend the welcome session again; please indicate your interest to continue as a navigator through the Winter 2020 session survey that will be emailed to you.

You will receive your new student matches as new students sign up for the program starting on December 1.

Image: “compass” by samwilliamson99 is licensed under CC BY 2.0