2022 GSA new student Orientation

Welcome to McMaster University and the Hamilton community. We are the student-run McMaster Graduate Students Association (GSA) responsible for advocating for your needs, acting as a resource, and providing supports and services. From now till Sep. 2022, we would like to introduce ourselves and share useful resources with you to help you adapt to life in Ontario, Canada!

Welcome Services

1. GSA Door-to-Door Airport Pickup

The GSA, in partnership with local transportation companies, would like to offer our International students the ability to use a coordinated service for Door-to-Door Airport pick-up. Based on need and availability, the GSA will pair students with other McMaster students to travel from Pearson International Airport to Hamilton Ontario. In pooling individuals together, the GSA was able to negotiate a lesser fee for students to pay. In saying that, should no other students arrive at the same time, you will have the opportunity to cancel the Door-to-Door service.

If you are interested in obtaining this service, please fill out this form, pay the nominal deposit and await instructions from the GSA regarding next steps. Please note if the GSA is unable to arrange transportation on your behalf your deposit will be refunded and an email correspondence will be sent in regards to other transportation options that will be available to you.

2. Meet GSA Cultural Clubs

Coming to a new school in a new country is challenging. Finding plane ticket deals, selecting an appropriate house or apartment rental, getting a local phone plan, and even traveling from the airport to your new home can be overwhelming. The good news: McMaster University welcomes thousands of international students each year and there are many resources available to help you adapt to life in Hamilton!

To help you build communities and connect to others on campus, the GSA supports a variety of clubs, especially focusing on departmental or discipline-specific clubs (ex., Mathematics and Statistics Graduate Society) and cultural clubs (ex., African Caribbean Graduate Students’ Association) which can help you build connections and community in Hamilton.

Check out our largest clubs here!

African Caribbean Graduate Students’ Association (ACGSA)

WhatsApp Group: Join. By joining the chat group, you agree to accept the policy.
Contacts: acgsa@mcmaster.ca

Chinese Graduate Students Club (CGSC)

QQ group: 853119901. By joining the chat group, you agree to accept the policy.
New Graduate Students Manual: Link.
Contacts: Junran Chen (chenj425@mcmaster.ca), Wei Zhao (zhaow9@mcmaster.ca).

McMaster Ethnic Diversity Club (EDC)

WhatsApp Group: Join.
Contacts: gsaedc@mcmaster.ca, Samardeepsingh Sarna (sarnas@mcmaster.ca).
Started by students from India and welcome to all, the EDC focuses on fostering a diverse and inclusive environment at McMaster University with cultural exchange events, festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Eid, and more to celebrate diversity at McMaster!

McMaster Iranian Graduate Student Society (MIGSS)

Telegram group: Join by contacting Alireza Hemmati (hemmaa1@mcmaster.ca).

Other Clubs

Please do check out the GSA club list! By joining a club, you can meet students with similar studies or who have the same native language to help smooth your transition.

As the GSA, we do our best to welcome new students and help you adapt to McMaster. Our clubs are a key part of this because on the academic side they can give more specific tips & advice for your department or faculty, while cultural clubs may have students with the same native language who may have suggestions about best times to travel, what to bring or not bring to Canada, finding roommates, or even getting a ride from the airport or learning about local cultural grocery stores and restaurants!

For any questions about joining or contacting a club, please contact the VP Services, Wei Zhao, at gsavpserv@mcmaster.ca.

Orientation Events

1. Club Fest & BBQ

All grad students are welcome to come to the Phoenix Bar & Grill for an in-person BBQ hosted by the GSA on Sep. 6th (2:00-5:00 PM)! The BBQ will be held outdoors on the best patio in Hamilton where you can enjoy some burgers and meet other students on campus. Meat, veggie, halal and gluten free options will be provided! And, feel free to check our Club Fest outside the Phoenix! For more info. and to register, please click here.

2. Resource Fair

Data & Time: Sep 7, 2022, 10:00AM to 2:00PM

Location: CIBC Hall, 3rd floor, MUSC

Details: https://gs.mcmaster.ca/events/resource-fair-for-graduate-students/

3. GSA Grad Essentials Workshop Series

Join the Graduate Students Association (GSA) for GSA Grad Essentials Workshop Series!

(1) Graduate Students Health Insurance

Data & Time: Sep 6, 2022, 1:00PM to 4:00PM


Details: The GSA will introduce the insurance plans available to McMaster Graduate students:

  • 1:00~2:00PM: UHIP (only for international students)
  • 2:00~3:00PM: GSA Health and Dental Insurance Plan
  • 3:00~4:00PM: CUPE Unit 1 Dental Plan
(2) Graduate Students Public Transportation

Data & Time: Sep 7, 1:00PM to 2:30PM


Details: Learn more about travelling in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area, using public transit:

  • HSR Bus Pass
  • Go Transit
  • TTC
  • Taxi
(3) Graduate Students Private Transportation

Data & Time: Sep 8, 2022, 1:00PM to 2:30PM


Details: Learn the basics you need to know about driving in Ontario:

  • Driver’s license
  • Car rentals
  • Car trade
  • Auto insurance

4. Yoga Session

Date & Time: Sep 8, 2022, 4:00PM to 5:00PM

Details: Don’t miss this free yoga session provided by McMaster Graduate Students Association, to welcome all graduate students as we begin a new academic term. Join us for this relaxing little retreat for yourself!

A professional yoga instructor from the David Braley Athletic Centre, department of Athletics and Recreation, will lead this session.

If you have any questions about this session, please contact the GSA.

Learn more and register to attend.

5. Campus Tour

Date & Time: Sep 9, 2022, 12:30PM to 2:00PM

Details: New to McMaster University and interested in exploring the campus? You are welcome to join this campus tour with McMaster’s Graduate Students Association.

The campus tour is an in-person event with limited capacity. Registration is required.

Email the GSA if you have any questions about the tour.

Register on Eventbrite

6. Hiking in McMaster Forest with the Graduate Students Association

Date & Time: Sep 10, 2022, 1:00PM to 4:00PM

Location: McMaster University Student Centre parking lot

Details: Hike through McMaster Forest, a university property located in Ancaster.

This is a beginner-friendly hike and is expected to last around 4 hours (commuting included). A professional guide from Nature@McMaster will accompany hikers. Participants will be transported by school bus from McMaster main campus to the destination and back to campus after the hike.

Capacity is highly limited, please make sure you can attend before registering for this event. Absence may result in limited registration for future events.

Open to all new and returning graduate students.

Hosted by the McMaster Graduate Students Association and Nature@McMaster.

Departure: Participants are expected to arrive at McMaster Student Centre parking lot by 12:45 p.m. on the day of the hike. GSA staff will check attendees’ tickets before boarding the bus.

Return: Participants will be dropped off at McMaster Student Centre parking lot around 4 pm.

Register Online to Attend

If you have questions about this event, please email gsavpint@mcmaster.ca.

7. GSA Q&A Session

Date & Time: Sep 15, 2022, 3:00PM to 4:00PM


Details: The Graduate Students Association (GSA) executive team will be available to introduce you to the GSA, McMaster and answer questions.