We are pleased to welcome our sponsored trainees to the postgraduate community at Queen's University and hope that you will find the following information helpful as you prepare to arrive in Kingston.
About Visa Trainees
Every year, Queen's University welcomes residents and clinical fellows from the Middle East. These learners (known informally as 'Visa Trainees') enrol in postgraduate medical education programs through special agreements with their home countries and are fully sponsored by their embassy, university, or employer. They train in Canada on a work visa issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and after completion of their postgraduate training, they will return to their home country.
When you move to Kingston from the Middle East, one of the biggest changes you will encounter is the weather. Kingston, like the rest of Canada, has four different seasons each year. Each season lasts for approximately three months and each has its own unique weather. Many of our residents and clinical fellows from the Gulf arrive in the summer and this season will seem the most familiar to you as it can be quite hot (although nowhere near as hot as in the Gulf states!). Temperatures can sometimes climb over 30C and it's very common to see many people casually dressed in shorts and tshirts.
The Fall (or Autumn) is a beautiful time of year as many of the leaves on the trees change colour. Green leaves change to brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow and will slowly drop to the ground as the weather cools down.
Winters can be cold and snowy. Several feet of snow may accumulate on the ground and temperatures will sometimes drop below -30C. Of all the seasons, winter is the one which can make newcomers nervous. The trick is to know what to expect and to prepare accordingly. Buildings are climate controlled and constructed with weather in mind. In the winter, homes and offices are centrally heated and kept at a comfortable temperature no matter how cold it is outside. When you do go out, you'll need to have appropriate clothing. You'll need warm winter boots, a hat, scarf, gloves, and a thick coat. Winters in Canada can be wonderfully exciting - you can experience sports and activities like skating, skiing, or sledding. In Kingston, there's a winter festival called FebFest which is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in the heart of the city.
As fun as the winter can be, people are always ready for Spring to arrive. The temperatures begin to warm up, the snow melts, and all the grass and parks turn green again. A sure sign that spring is coming is the annual Maple Madness, a chance to see maple syrup being collected and made at a local conservation area.
Whatever the season, be prepared to enjoy something very different from your home country. If you're prepared and have a positive attitude, we're sure you'll enjoy the different seasons in Canada!
Centrally located between Toronto and Montreal, Kingston is situated on the shores of Lake Ontario. Ottawa is 200 kilometres to the northeast, while the American border is a short 25-minute drive away. There are frequent rail connections and 13 flights daily to and from Toronto. The city is at the head of both the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Thousand Islands, two of Ontario's outstanding scenic areas, and is only a short distance from provincial and national parks which allow for camping, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities.
Getting to Kingston By Train, Bus, or Air
– Train service to Kingston arrives at the Kingston VIA Rail Station. There are many trains each day as Kingston is on the mail rail corridor between Toronto and Montreal. There are also regular connections to and from Ottawa.
– Air Canada (part of Star Alliance) operates flights from Toronto's Pearson International Airport which arrive at Kingston's Norman Rogers Airport. If you are flying from the Gulf to Kingston, you will likely connect through Frankfurt, London, or Istanbul. Once you arrive in Canada and clear Canadian Immigration, then you can take your connecting flight to Kingston.
– The Queen's campus is about a $15 taxi ride from station, terminal, and airport.
Getting to Kingston by Car
- From Montreal
- West on Autoroute 720, then west on Autoroute 20, then west on Ontario's Highway 401
- About 290 km, or about 3 hours by car
- From Ottawa
- South on Highway 416, and west on Highway 401
- About 200 km, or about 2 hours by car
- From Toronto
- East on Highway 401
- About 260 km, or about 2.75 hours by car
- From Syracuse
- North on I-81 to the border of Canada
- West on Thousand Islands Bridge to Highway 401
- West on Highway 401
- About 215 km, or about 2.5 hours by car
- Follow Highway 401 to Kingston and exit south on Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. (exit 615). Follow this street south to Union Street, which is at the eighth set of traffic lights. Turn left onto Union and continue for approximately 10 blocks to the Queen's campus.
Transportation in Kingston
Kingston is a very easy city to get around. Many people who live closer to downtown and Queen's walk or ride their bikes. The hospitals are also very close to the Queen's campus; Kingston General Hospital is immediately beside the campus while Hotel Dieu Hospital is about a ten minute walk from Queen's. There is a free shuttle between hospitals.
A relatively inexpensive way to get around the city is by bus. Kingston Transit operates routes across the city and recently introduced new express bus service along the busiest routes.
Taxis are also widely available but are more expensive than other forms of transportation. In Canada, taxi fares are determined by a meter inside each taxi; fares are not negotiated with the driver.
|Guides for International Students, Residents, Fellows, and Newcomers|
|Queen's University International Centre
The Living in Kingston Guide covers topics such as:
A comprehensive website designed for newcomers to Kingston. Includes information on:
|Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Welcome to Canada - What you should know - PDF
Welcome to Canada (in Arabic) - PDF
You will also find information on Canadian laws, health care and how to get help settling in Canada.
|Ontario Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship
Welcome to Ontario (English) - PDF
Welcome to Ontario (English) - online
Welcome to Ontario (Arabic) - PDF
This guide to programs and services for newcomers to Ontario includes information on:
First Days Guide
A Newcomers' Guide to their First Two Weeks in Ontario
English Edition (PDF)
Arabic Edition (PDF)
Moving to Kingston means finding somewhere to live. Fortunately, there are lots of options. Kingston has lots of rental properties because of the large numbers of students who arrive in the city each year. You may wish to find something closer to the hospitals and downtown, or farther away in other parts of the city. The links below will be very helpful in helping you find out more about the accommodation that is available in Kingston.
There has been a Muslim community in Kingston since the 1960s and many families now call Kingston home. The community grows during each academic year as Muslim students from all over the world choose to study at Queen's University.
There are many international trainees in a variety of training programs at Queen’s University.
Postgraduate training agreements are currently in place between Queen’s University, Faculty of Health Sciences and sponsoring agencies from the following countries: Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Applications must be forwarded to the Postgraduate Medical Education Office by the sponsoring agency for consideration.
*Please note that all internationally sponsored trainees must complete the Pre-Entry Assessment Period (PEAP). Please review the conditions of the PEAP closely, training dates will be affected by this requirement.
International Clinical Fellowship-without a postgraduate training agreement
If you are a trainee from a country not mentioned in the above list and are interested in a clinical fellowship at Queen’s University, you will need to contact the program you are interested in directly to see if they have the capacity to accept new trainees. A postgraduate training agreement may be required before final approval by the Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education.
Acceptable Sources of Funding
Acceptable sources of funding include foreign governments, foreign government agencies, health related charitable organizations or departmental funding. Private or personal funds are not acceptable. The Postgraduate Medical Education Office does not have funding for fellowships.
The application package must include the following items:
- A letter from the sponsoring agency which confirms full financial support for the duration of the training.
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae which includes applicants date of birth, citizenship and e-mail address.
- A copy of the medical degree (with English Translation, where applicable)
- A copy of the specialty certification (with English Translation, where applicable)
- Three letters of reference on letterhead, signed and dated within two years of the date of application.
- Confirmation of proficiency in English through one of the following: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or TOEFL-IBT
- Confirmation of successful completion of the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE)
Successful candidates will be contacted by the Postgraduate Medical Education Office with a letter of appointment and registration information.
Please note that once approved, it can take approximately 6 to 8 months to fully process your application.
If you have questions please email us at email@example.com