The number of international students in Canada is growing year by year. From 400,000 students in 2016, this rose to over 530,000 adventurous individuals in 2020.
What explains Canada’s ever-increasing popularity as a student destination? Well, how about famously friendly people, world-class institutions, stunning natural landscapes, amazing food, and buzzing nightlife? We could go on…
Put simply, Canada is a fantastic place to expand your knowledge and grow personally. Today, we explain what student life in Canada is actually like. If you’re considering studying in Canada, here’s the most important things to know…
Student life in Canada
- Canadian food and culture
- Cost of living
- Student jobs and work in Canada
- Supportive learning environments
- The Canadian climate
1. Canadian food and culture
First things first, for anyone asking how is life in Canada as a student? – we’ve got to talk about Canadian food and culture.
Now, Canadian food goes waaaay beyond the “poutine” and maple syrup stereotypes. That’s not to say poutine (a dish made of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) isn’t absolutely amazing though!
With a mixture of British, French, and American traditions, there’s something for everyone in Canada. From the more established French fare of Quebec to the delicious smoked meats and bagels brought by the country’s Jewish population – it’s a truly multicultural country and this is reflected in its food.
There are many things that bring Canada’s diverse population together, but one of the most important is sports. If you’re planning to study in Canada, visiting an ice-hockey match is a must. Universities often have dedicated student sports clubs too, ranging from beginners to semi-professional level. Whatever your skill and knowledge level, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
2. Cost of living
International student life in Canada does come with financial investment. Despite this, compared with countries such as America – it’s still reasonably affordable.
As a rule of thumb, students will usually need between $20,000 and $30,000 Canadian dollars a year to live comfortably in Canada. This guide includes tuition, living expenses, and accommodation fees.
Tuition fees differ for public and private universities and colleges, so make sure to check this with your institution before applying! Public sector colleges tend to be the cheaper option.
Expect to pay at least $15 CAD for a meal out, $6 for a beer, and $2 for a loaf of bread. Unsurprisingly, apartment costs significantly vary depending on your exact location, but this can be anywhere from $500-$1,500 per month.
Most Canadian universities offer on-campus housing for first-year students – which is a fantastic way to secure subsidized accommodation, live close to lectures and make friends.
3. Student jobs and work in Canada
If costs are a concern, the good news is most Canadian study visas allow students to work part-time jobs. This is usually a maximum of 20 hours per week.
Working part-time alongside your studies is a great way to supplement student life in Canada. It lets you practice your language skills, immerse yourself in Canadian culture, meet new people and top up your funds. Common student jobs include working as a tutor or teaching assistant (putting your studies to clever use!), in a restaurant or bar, or as a part-time babysitter or au pair.
Canada is known for its thriving economy and job opportunities. It’s part of the reason it’s so popular as a study destination. Practical work experience will also look great on your CV when it is time to graduate – so what are you waiting for!?
4. Supportive learning environments
Canada is such a diverse and inclusive country. The qualities of politeness, friendliness, and genuine openness to other cultures are evident in its educational system.
From pre-schools to universities, pastoral care is offered to all students. If you have any concerns, whether that’s language skills, coping with stress or just feeling a little homesick – reach out to your student support team. Safety and security are important hallmarks of Canadian universities, with high-quality teaching to match.
As part of student life in Canada, you’ll spend time in lectures – but are also expected to conduct reading and research in your own time. Active participation and speaking in class is a part of the learning process. So don’t be scared to share your opinion. It’s all about personal and academic growth, preparing you for a successful career no matter where you go next!
5. The Canadian climate
It’s one of the most frequent questions about life in Canada – so if you’re worried about the cold, you’re not alone!
Many areas in Canada (for instance Southern Ontario and British Columbia) have milder winters than some US states. But it must be said, yes, it can get extremely cold in Canada.
With this in mind, make sure to invest in warm, winter clothing. The good news is almost all buildings in Canada have great temperature control. There are even underground and elevated walkways in cities such as Toronto to keep pedestrians toasty and snow-free. Known simply as PATH – this pretty unique feature connects over 70 buildings via 30 kilometers of tunnels and shopping areas.
It’s all worth it when the Canadian summer comes around though. From June to August, it’s all about outdoor fun such as hiking, mountain biking, camping, kayaking, and plenty of road trips. Temperatures range from 15 to 35 degrees Celsius. So to properly experience student life in Canada, make sure you spend at least one summer in the country.
If you’re thinking of studying in Canada, Edvoy partners with some fantastic academic institutions. Browse the universities and courses on offer and explore our blog for more tips and advice. From how to prepare and pass your Canadian visa interview to which Canadian universities accept backlogs there’s everything you need to make the study abroad process smooth, simple, and fun!