Newcomer Booster

Preparing Students for Canadian Academic Success

Newcomer Booster graphic

The Newcomer Booster is a two-week program that prepares international and newcomer students to start their studies at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

international students


Students will participate in ten days (two weeks) of learning. During this time students will engage with self-paced online learning materials, build on their learning in facilitated online sessions and engage in community building through peer and staff interactions. A schedule of the program will be provided at the start of the Newcomer Booster.

The program will run twice with two different start dates and participants can choose which group to enrol in when you register on Eventbrite (see registration link at the bottom of this page). The program dates for each are as follows:

  • Group A: August 10 to 21, 2020
  • Group B: August 17 to 28, 2020

“The three significant things I learned in the program are first- plagiarism and the importance of references and citations. Here, it is a serious matter and must be dealt with extreme care. Second- the school system and school campus- don’t get lost on your first day, attend the booster and they will provide you with maps and tips before you start with your first day. Third- mental health- moving to a completely different place is difficult, and in most cases, it affects our mental health. In the newcomer booster, they will talk about the possibilities of home sickness and why it is important to acknowledge it and how to deal with it.”

Ciara Bernardo, Philippines
Materials Engineering Technology

international students

Session Topics

Sessions cover topics in academics and cultural transitions to help students prepare for academic success in the NAIT classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to build community with their peers and NAIT staff members through participation in online forum discussions, activities, and video chats. Through this program participants will build confidence, connections and an increased readiness to start a new academic program at NAIT.

Building Connections in Canada

While attending lectures and getting good grades is an important part of student life, but these are not the only factors in student success. Interpersonal skills are also an integral part of doing well in group projects, expanding your social circle and in building a successful career after graduation. In this session, we will discuss how interpersonal and social norms differ across cultures. Students will have a better understanding of the context of building social connections in Canada.

Critical Thinking

What kind of questions can you ask to get the most valuable information? What kind of questions will make you stand out in class? In the first half of this topic, you will learn how to ask critical questions to better understand your academic content and to assess the root cause of problems. These skills will be applied to your work in the classroom, also in building stronger relationships with people you will meet at NAIT and in Canada.

Additionally, the ability to convince others in a powerful tool that will serve you in your academics and future goals. The ability to think critically and strategically question others is equally as valuable. Being critical of what you will learn at NAIT will open doors to more complex thinking. In the second half of this topic, you will learn how to assess an argument by parsing it into its components and crafting an effecting counter-argument that you can support with evidence and confidence.

Cultural Adaptation and Transitioning into the Canadian Classroom

The approach to teaching and learning in Canada may be different from what students have experienced before, and they may find it takes a bit of time to get used to this new style of learning. The first module provides students foundational intercultural knowledge that can be used as a lens to analyze the cultural component of their interactions. The second module goes on to explore the application of these concepts in the academic setting at NAIT. We will explore cultural differences and similarities topics such as classroom participation, to group work, instructor-student interactions, etc.

Empowering Financial Wellness

Managing your finances in a new country and ensuring you can afford your post-secondary education can be stressful. In this session, you will learn about the importance of creating a spending plan and receive information about the Canadian banking system. We will cover topics from values-based decision making, to the types of spending plans (budgeting) you can utilize. There are advisors available from the Student Award and Financial Aid office to assist you with your spending plan throughout your studies at NAIT.

NAIT Rules!

This session will help you get to know what to expect as a NAIT student (your rights), and what is expected of you (your responsibilities). Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help you get comfortable at NAIT and be a good member of the NAIT community. We will be looking closely at Academic Integrity because this responsibility will set you on a path to success at NAIT and in your career.

Plagiarism and APA Citations

Plagiarism is a serious offense at NAIT and can get in the way between you and graduation.  In this session, you will increase your understanding of plagiarism and learn how to avoid it by using proper citations in your assignments. We will practice in-text and reference list citations through self-paced online modules and virtual synchronous instruction with the same librarians who will be available to help you with this subject throughout your studies at NAIT.

Post-secondary Writing Techniques

Academic writing in an English-speaking post-secondary institution has a very specific structure. You will learn about the writing process and writing expectations in NAIT classrooms. We will cover many topics from understanding the assignment guidelines to fine-tuning your assignment with editing and proofreading tips.

Public Speaking Strategies

Delivering presentations is a part of your academic life, and it is essential to develop strong public speaking skills. In this session, you will learn strategies for coping with public speaking anxiety, improving non-verbal and verbal delivery and effective ways to structure a presentation. You will also have opportunities to practice public speaking in small groups.

Student Well-being

Juggling the demands of post-secondary education while adapting to a new place can be hard to manage. You will learn about what counselling services are, how to get support, and how to identify signs of when you should be getting some support. We will cover common issues that arise for International students that include depression, anxiety, stress, grief, culture shock, micro aggressions, isolation, and loss of support systems. Also, to be the healthiest possible, we need to ensure that we invest in all aspects of health. This includes learning how to nourish the physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental and financial/occupational health areas.

Study Skills to Ace Your Courses

Ready to learn about study skills, time-management, and free tools to assist your academics? This session is to prepare you for the first day of class with tips and tricks to make the most out of your semester as early as possible. Learn the best tips to study for your courses and how to keep on top of deadlines with useful free software. Perfect for any students nervous about falling behind in their studies or balancing their busy schedules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the FAQ (pdf)

Who can register for this program?

This program is designed to provide new NAIT students who come from different cultural and educational backgrounds with tools to enhance their academic experience.

You can register if you meet ALL the following criteria:

  • You are admitted to start a NAIT program in Spring or Fall 2020Open Application list
  • You are an international student or have permanent residency or refugee status
  • You are committed to attending ALL sessions in this program

How much does it cost to register?

The program costs $35 CAD per student. The registration fee provides students access to digital program materials for each session. This access will be available for a minimum of two years.

Program registration closes on July 26th, 2020

Register now