Fostering social connections in the virtual world

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A message from Campus Life & Engagement, the one office dedicated to new McGill students. 


Hey Campus Life & Engage,


Good morning from the Campus Life & Engagement team! We hope that you are staying safe and gearing up for graduate studies at McGill. The upcoming semester will be different for all of us in the McGill community. We recognize that there are a set of unique challenges for incoming graduate students and want to assure you that you that we’ll find solutions to them together!


We, along with the departments, services, and student groups at McGill, are committed to connecting our incoming students, especially during the remote semester. No matter where you may find yourself come September, you will be a part of the McGill community. And there’s no better time than now to start—scroll through to see what programs McGill has in store to build connections!



Make a New Friend


It’s always best to have someone by your side as you embark on the next major milestone in your life. There’s no reason to start the Fall semester alone: the First Friend Program can connect you with a fellow incoming McGill student before the semester even begins.


First Friend is a peer-to-peer program run by International Student Services (ISS) and CL&E, where you’ll be matched with a fellow incoming McGill student in your time zone. We know that the Fall 2020 semester is going to be a little different, and that’s why we want to help you connect with your peers as early as possible.



Once we match you with your First Friend, you will receive an email with your friend’s contact information and you can keep in touch throughout the semester! It’s that simple. If you have any questions, please contact




Get Guidance from Returning Graduate Students 


One of the best resources to help guide you through your first year are returning McGill students. They have experienced the highs and lows of university life and are willing to share their wisdom with you, whether you’re in Montreal or studying remotely. 


For Canadian students, check out CL&E’s Student Life Ambassador Program. This program will connect you with a returning student who can help introduce you to the social and academic graduate communities, or even just someone to grab a coffee with (in-person or virtually!).


For international students, ISS facilitates the International Buddy Program, which connects incoming international students with returning students who can offer linguistic support, cultural guidance, and information about life at McGill and Montreal.


There are many more peer programs dedicated to supporting graduate students at McGill! Don’t miss out on these opportunities—check out the full list on the Students Helping Students website.



Sign Up for our Webinars


Social Connections: Grads – Friday, August 7

We have all heard about the importance of social connections. This interactive webinar will cover some tips on making connections during the remote semester and give you a chance to connect with one another virtually. We'll also talk about some self-care strategies for when you start feeling Zoom fatigue!


Grad Student Resilience in Uncertain Times – Wednesday, August 29

We get it. It isn't the greatest time right now for the world, for workers, for everyone, really. This workshop will highlight ways grad students can foster resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilitated by current grad students, Sam and Sarah from your GradLife Team, we'll talk about unconventional job opportunities, research, and wellness strategies, and other ideas to keep you grounded. Special guest: McGill’s Graduate Local Wellness Advisor!




CL&E to Success: Showcasing McGill's Services is a series of short, interview-style videos that introduces you to all the wonderful support and resources available to you as a new student. The title functions as a play on words with the French “clé” for key. We will be releasing videos every day over the next few weeks! Watch here.



That’s it from us! If you ever have any questions about student life, contact We either know the answer or know someone who does.


See you next week,


Gilbert Lin

Manager, Orientation & Student Engagement, Campus Life & Engagement | McGill Student Services


If you think you’ve missed any of our messages or want to re-read any, check out CL&E’s First-Year Email archive.




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McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.


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