Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions for travelers coming to Canada?

Minister Duclos announced on September 26th 2022, that the government of Canada is removing COVID-19 border measures for all travelers entering Canada, in all modes, effective October 1, 2022. Please see here for the announcement: Government of Canada to remove COVID-19 border and travel measures effective October 1 –

This means that all travelers arriving in Canada, on or after October 1, 2022, will no longer have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada or meet COVID-19 testing, quarantine or isolation requirements.

What do other students say about the International Student Program?

Some of our international students talk about their experiences in the UGDSB’s International Student Program video.

What grade would I be in when I come to Canada?

Below are the grade placements by students age as of the end of the year.

Age as of December 31st Grade Placement
6 1
7 2
8 3
9 4
10 5
11 6
12 7
13 8
14 9
15 10
16 11
17 12
18 12+


I am in Grade 11 in my country. Can I come to Guelph and do one year of Grade 12 and then go to university?

Yes, you can. There will be some requirements to meet by the end of Grade 12: Students require Grade 12 University level English in order to attend university, plus five other Grade 12 academic courses, and with some specific prescribed courses depending on the post-secondary program, for example, Science, Math, or Business. All of Ontario’s Grade 12 courses are very language rich and require a high level of English, and the International Student Program will do a language assessment to determine the appropriate level of entry for each student.

I require certain specific courses for my school in my country. Will I have those courses in my schedule?

Yes, the secondary schools in the Upper Grand District School Board have a common provincial curriculum, and each school offers some elective courses in keeping with the size, strengths and interests of the student population. We work to match each of our international student’s requests and educational needs with the curriculum established by the Province of Ontario.

My level of English is very advanced in my country. I do not think that I will need ESL. Can I go directly into a regular English program?

Yes, based on the results of the English Assessment that will be part of your ISP process. Your level of written English, your level of comprehension and your oral English skills will be assessed and allow us to determine the best placement and the most appropriate program for you – to ensure your success in the courses required for your own personal academic goals. If you do require some additional language support at the beginning, ESL courses are offered each semester, as well as some courses that will give the student a foundation to build on for the university admission courses.

Will I need to take a TOEFL test in order to be admitted to university?

In some cases, yes, as many universities require a prescribed TOEFL score for admission when a student has studied in an English-language high school for less than four years. Please see individual universities’ admissions web pages for requirements specific to that university.

Are there provincial exams that students must write in order to graduate?

No. There are no provincial exams that students must take at the grade 12 level. There is a provincial curriculum for each subject, but each school sets its own exams and the marks from these exams are used for university acceptance. The only provincial test required for graduation is the OSSLT, an English literacy test, which is usually taken in grade 10. ESL students take the OSSLT when they are ready.

How many credits can be transferred from a high school in China?

Students receive credit for the number of high school grades they have successfully completed. A student will receive 8 credits for completing grade 9 (Junior 3), 16 credits for completing grade 10 (Senior 1), and 24 credits for completing grade 11 (Senior 2).

How many credits does a student need to graduate from a high school in Ontario?

A student needs a minimum of 30 credits to graduate from high school, but if the student is planning to attend university he or she may need more credits. Most foreign students need to take more than 30 credits because they have to satisfy the English requirements for university. Students usually complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma in four or five years, and graduate after successfully completing grade 12. To graduate, students must earn 30 credits, complete the literacy requirement in grade 10, and help their community by providing 40 hours of community service.

What is the progression of English courses a student must take in order to graduate from the Ontario school system?

International students will be assessed for their English proficiency level. A student does not have to take all the ESL courses, but is placed in the one that best suits the language level at time of arrival.


ESLAO True Beginner One semester/One credit Not specific
ESLBO High Beginner One semester/One credit Not specific
ESLCO Low Intermediate One semester/One credit Not specific
ESLDO High Intermediate One semester/One credit Not specific
ESLEO Advanced One semester/One credit Not specific
ENG3U/ENG3C Regular Compulsory English One semester/One credit Grade 11
ENG4U/ENG4C Regular Compulsory English One semester/One credit Grade 12

If a student comes into the school system at the ESLDO level (high intermediate) in grade 11, they will likely be able to finish high school in two years. If they come at the ESLCO (low intermediate) or ESLBO (high beginner), it will take longer.

Can students earn English credits at summer school?

Yes. A registered international student can take ESL and any of our regular English credit courses at summer school. There is an additional fee for summer school courses.

Can a student take more than one English course at a time?

No. For all compulsory English credits, a student must take them one per semester in order, for example, Grade 11 English before Grade 12 English.

How do I pay my fees if I don’t have a Canadian bank account?

Upper Grand District School Board utilizes Flywire for all payments made outside of Canada to simplify the process for our international students. This service provides students and their families a cost effective and convenient method of making payments to Upper Grand District School Board in foreign currencies.

Flywire allows you to:

  • Pay from any country and any bank (bank transfer, credit card, etc.)
  • Save money on bank fees and ensure your payment is received in full
  • Obtain excellent foreign exchange rates with a best rate guarantee
  • Receive piece of mind with 24×7 multilingual customer support
  • Track your payment from start to finish

Step 1: Getting Started
Visit the Upper Grand District School Board Flywire payments page to enter the exact amount you owe and the country you’re paying from.

Step 2: Select a Payment Option
Flywire allows you to pay, in most cases, in your local currency using the payment option of your choice, and track your payment from start to finish.

Step 3: Login/Create an Account and Enter Personal Details
Enter your name, email, and password to create an account. Fill out the remainder of the form with your personal details and contact information.

Step 4: Confirm Payment Details
Review and confirm the information entered for your payment. If you chose bank transfer as a payment option, you will be assigned a deadline by which you should go to your bank and complete the payment.

Step 5: Review Payment Instructions
Bank Transfers: follow the banking instructions to deliver your funds to the bank account indicated
Credit Cards: Provide your credit card information and complete your payment
UnionPay Cards or AliPay: You will be taken to UnionPay or AliPay website to enter your account information to complete your payment.
Note: You must repeat these steps for all payments you make to UGDSB.

Step 6: Track your Payment Status online
Monitor the status of your payment online by logging in to your Flywire account. The payment status bar will update each step of the process. You will be notified by email once the payment has been delivered to UGDSB.

Multilingual Customer Support
Phone: 1-800-346-9252