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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 September 2020? Register to connect with an international 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 Fall 2020

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.

To get started, complete our online form. You will receive an email update with your connection within one week of submitting the form.

Please note: We will open registration in December for international grad students beginning their journey in January 2021.


International Grad Navigators

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

Benefits of becoming an international grad navigator:

  • Enhance leadership and communication skills
  • Gain volunteer experience that can be added to your resume
  • Certificate of participation
  • 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.

To become an International Grad Navigator for incoming Fall 2020 students, submit your completed webform before June 30, 2020, and attend one of the four 30-minute welcome sessions scheduled on July 6 or July 7.

You will receive your new student matches as new students sign up for the program throughout the summer.

We will be recruiting Winter 2021 International Grad Navigators beginning in November. Check back for more details!


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