Tips For Canadian Students

Sailboats on Charles river in front of Prudential Center in Boston

From Toronto to Boston, the move to the states might present some hurdles you haven’t thought of. Second year student, Erica Croft, has some tips and tricks for her fellow Canadian classmates as you make the move from Canada to Boston.

I am Erica from Toronto and am an OD2. I came to optometry school with an interest in Neuro-optometry and performance visual therapy. I did my undergraduate at Brock University and decided to come to NECO when I learned how innovative and beautiful Boston is. While I do love living in Boston and had a great first year here, it has been a wild experience coming to the states. It can feel overwhelming at times, so I wanted to share some helpful tips to make your transition a bit easier.

  1. Get a US bank account. The only bank that has easy transfers from Canada to the US is TD. I am with RBC but their US-Canada system hasn’t worked too well, e.g. my card won’t work for online payments or Venmo. I opened a US and Canadian checking account with TD once I got here. So I e-transfer my money from my RBC Canadian account to TD Canada account then wire it to my US account. Alternatively, if you are sending a large sum you can just wire it directly to your US account. But they do charge a fee every time you wire unless it is from another TD account.
  2. You will likely need to get a US phone number. I signed up with this company called visible and it has been great so far! I can easily chat with someone and they have great customer service. I only pay $25/month with this code (I can share if you want to go with them) that includes unlimited data and free calling to Canada.
  3. Sign up for Venmo. Venmo is like e-transfer for the states. BUT you can only sign up for it once you get a US bank account and phone number. Once you get those you can easily sign up. However, if you don’t want a US number, then Cash App works too.
  4. If the exchange rate is good, convert it over. It’s so sad when you change your Canadian to USD and see all the money you lose. Keep an eye on it and watch for any trends over the course of a few months.
  5. Make a checklist of all documents you need before coming; e.g. passport, updated Visa, signed and receipt. Also, it is a good idea to make a list of stuff you want to bring so you’re not rushing to get it all at once in August.