Study in Canada
Canada is a highly sought-after destination for students from all corners of the world, thanks to its exceptional living standards and world-class education system. Canadian education is renowned globally for its focus on cross-disciplinary studies and transferable skills, which empowers graduates to be innovative, flexible, and knowledgeable.
Located north of the United States, Canada boasts a diverse, vibrant culture that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its four seasons offer bright summers and chilly winters, and its awe-inspiring natural beauty can be witnessed at landmarks such as Niagara Falls, Moraine Lake in Alberta, the Canadian Rockies, and the Northern Lights in Yukon.
Canada is also famous for its love of sports, with popular activities including ice hockey, fishing, climbing, trekking, and swimming. Its rich cultural heritage is reflected in its language, with French being spoken in several provinces and its national dishes like poutine having a French influence.
Furthermore, Canada's vibrant job market and the opportunity for graduates to work for some of the world's top companies makes it an excellent place for students to start their careers. With so many reasons to study in Canada, it's no surprise that it continues to be a popular destination for students from around the globe.
The benefits of studying in Canada
Quality education - The QS World University Rankings includes 26 Canadian universities, while there are 27 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Additionally, the Canadian government actively promotes academic research in areas such as technology, medicine, agriculture, telecommunications, and environmental science.
Focus on career skills - Canadian campuses are fully equipped and offer cross-disciplinary curriculums that enable international students to have the space to develop transferable skills like management and critical thinking. You will also have a leg up in the job market because of your knowledge of these additional disciplines.
A welcoming environment - Canada has established itself as a nation that promotes equality and respect for all. The Canadian government has implemented a national multicultural policy to preserve the traditions and customs of individuals from diverse cultures. As an international student, you can experience the warmth of Canadian society and easily integrate with your amiable neighbours.
As with many other countries, the main intake for education in Canada is in September, but international students can also join intakes in January as well as summer courses in May.
University of Regina - One of the top universities in Canada, Regina welcomes over 16,000 students each year, with approximately 3,000 of them international students from around 100 countries. The University of Regina is one of the top 50 universities in the world that’s less than 50 years old as well as one of Canada’s top 15 comprehensive universities. It offers more than 120 undergraduate programs and more than 80 graduate programs.
Trent University - Trent University has been ranked as Ontario’s number 1 undergraduate university for 12 years in a row in Maclean’s University Rankings. It has also been ranked as number 1 in Ontario and number 2 in the whole of Canada for overall reputation and second in the country for most innovative university.
Conestoga College - Conestoga has around 26,000 registered students across more than 230 courses with 42% of them international students from 80 countries. It is ranked in the top 100 colleges in Canada and has also been ranked highly for the quality of its facilities, with its high-end labs earning it the rank of number 1 college in Ontario.
Thompson Rivers University - Currently has more than 25,000 students at its campuses - in Kamloops and Williams Lake - and through distance, online and Open Learning platforms. This includes more than 3,500 international students from over 100 countries. It offers over 140 on-campus programs and 60-plus Open Learning programs, including co-op work terms, undergraduate research and field schools.
Also read 10 cheap universities in Canada for international students
There are several different options available for studying abroad in Canada, all of various levels and lengths. A traditional undergraduate bachelor’s degree usually lasts for 4 years, though programs in Quebec tend to be 3 years, while you can take an associate degree which covers the first two years of a bachelor’s degree.
Another alternative is a certificate or diploma, which tends to be 1-2 years long, focusing on vocational and technical courses. Beyond graduation, Canadian universities offer postgraduate diplomas or masters’ degrees, which are usually between 1 and 2 years long, while a doctorate or PhD can last for up to 7 years.
Also read 10 top PG diploma courses in Canada
Different college and degree programs in Canada require various entrance examinations, such as the TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, GMAT, MCAT, and SAT. A Canadian student visa necessitates language proficiency, while educational institutions require both academic expertise and language competence.
As Canada has two official languages, French and English, certain provinces may only use one of them. For instance, international students intending to study in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick universities must be fluent in French, proving this with tests like the TEF or TEFAQ. Students may need to take examinations that assess their competence in either English or French or even both in some cases.
Other tests that may be required include the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and various other subject-specific tests. It is essential for international students planning to study in Canada to determine which tests they need to take to ensure their application is successful.
1. Student Visa
The Canadian Government issues study permits to allow foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions. You will be issued with a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorisation after being granted a study permit. This is important because you need one if you want to leave and return to Canada. If yours has expired you need to apply for a new one more than two months before you plan to leave.
- Student visa requirements for Canada
To get a Canada student visa, you need to provide the following: an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution; proof you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation; language proficiency; you may need to undertake a medical exam; you may need to provide a police certificate to prove you have no criminal record; and you will need a valid passport that is not due to expire soon.
- Application Process
Select the university or college (ensuring it is a DLI) and apply for admission. Once you have a letter of acceptance, you can apply for a study visa. Before you do so you will need to gather all of the documents mentioned above. You can apply for a study visa online through the Canadian government's website or by submitting a paper application to the nearest visa application center. There is a fee to apply for a study visa, which must be paid when you submit your application. You may be required to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photo) as part of the application process. It can take several weeks or months for your study visa application to be processed. You can check the status of your application online.
- Admission Requirements
If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction, which you will need to present at the border when you arrive in Canada. At that point, you will receive your study visa.
To apply for the Canadian study visa you will need to pay a $150 fee, as well as $85 for the biometrics test.
2. Cost of living
- Cost to study - The tuition fees for colleges and vocational schools in Canada vary depending on the program and institution. The duration of college programs may range from a few months to a few years, with tuition costs ranging from approximately $7,000 to more than $30,000 per year.
- Living costs - The average cost of living in Canada for college students is around $15,000 per year.
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3. Student life
- Canada offers a vibrant and welcoming international student life, filled with opportunities to engage in sports, the arts, and travel. As a student in Canada, you can explore unique hobbies, such as ice hockey, and discover the country's breathtaking natural landscape through its extensive transport networks.
- With a mix of large cities like Toronto and Vancouver and smaller communities such as Prince Edward Island, Canada has something for everyone. Additionally, if your visa allows, you can work alongside your studies in top companies like Apple, HSBC, and Pfizer.
- Studying in Canada provides you with closer access to all the country's wonders, making it an excellent destination for students seeking a dynamic and fulfilling experience.
Guides: Student accommodation in Canada | Canadian Traditions | Student life in Canada
Many Canadian universities have merit scholarships and financial aid programs to assist students. Check to see if the university of your choice offers financial assistance at the time of application.
There are various government scholarships available for international students. All international students pursuing a postgraduate program in Natural Science, Social Science or Healthcare can apply for the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. The Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship Plan chooses exceptionally deserving students from Commonwealth nations and aids them to pursue masters and PhD in Canada.
The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program provides a scholarship of C$50,000 CAD per year for a period of three years to exceptional PhD candidates. The scholarship is open to both domestic and international students who are pursuing a doctorate degree in Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences, or Humanities at a Canadian university.
There are also private scholarships available, including The Trudeau Scholarship and Fellowships which are offered to international students pursuing doctoral programs at selected Canadian universities.
1. Is Canada cheap to study?
Canada can be a relatively affordable option for international students in comparison to some other popular study destinations. However, the total cost of studying in Canada depends on several factors such as the institution, program of study, location, and personal expenses.
Typically, undergraduate international students can expect to pay tuition fees ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 per year, while graduate programs can cost from $10,000 to $35,000 per year. In addition, living expenses like accommodation, food, and transportation can add an extra $15,000 to $20,000 per year.
2. What is the requirements to study in Canada?
To study in Canada as an international student, you will generally need to meet the following requirements:
- Acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada
- Sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation
- A valid passport or travel document
- Proof of language proficiency in either English or French
- A study permit, which is a document issued by the Canadian government that allows international students to study in Canada
- Medical examination (if required)
- Police certificate (if required)
3. How much do students earn in Canada?
International students can work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks, either on or off-campus. The hourly wage for part-time jobs usually ranges from CAD 10 to CAD 20 per hour.
Co-op or internship programs provide opportunities for students to gain work experience in their field of study and earn a higher wage. The salary for co-op or internship programs can range from CAD 20,000 to CAD 60,000 per year, depending on the industry and level of experience.
4. Can I work in Canada while studying?
International students are generally permitted to work in Canada while studying. During regular academic sessions, they can work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours per week. During scheduled breaks, such as summer holidays or winter break, they can work full-time.
Working in Canada can help offset the costs of living and studying in the country. In addition to part-time jobs, co-op or internship programs provide opportunities for students to gain work experience in their field of study and earn a higher wage.
Also read our article on “How to work while studying in Canada?”
5. What is the age limit for student visa in Canada?
Canada does not have a specific age limit for obtaining a student visa. To qualify for a study permit, the applicant must be accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada and prove that they have enough financial resources to support their studies in the country. While some scholarship or funding opportunities may have age restrictions, these vary depending on the program or organization.
6. Which course is best for international students in Canada?
Canada offers a diverse range of high-quality programs and fields of study that are suitable for international students. Some of the popular courses for international students in Canada include:
- Computer Science and Information Technology
- Business and Management
- Health Sciences
- Natural Sciences
- Arts and Humanities
- Social Sciences
7. Can I get a work permit after one year study in Canada?
If you have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada after completing a program that is at least 8 months long, you may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). With a PGWP, you can work in Canada for up to 3 years after graduation. However, you must meet certain criteria, such as maintaining full-time student status and having a valid study permit when applying for the PGWP.
8. Can I get PR after 2 years of study in Canada?
While completing a degree or diploma program in Canada doesn't automatically lead to permanent residency (PR), international students who have finished at least two years of study at a designated learning institution (DLI) may be able to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). With a PGWP, students can gain Canadian work experience that may count towards their eligibility for permanent residency through various immigration programs, including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
9. Is it easy to get a job in Canada for international students?
Securing a job in Canada as an international student can be a difficult task, but it is not impossible. The job market and job availability depend on various factors such as location, industry, and level of experience. Students who lack work experience, language skills, or a Canadian network may face additional challenges when searching for employment opportunities. Many Canadian educational institutions also have career services and resources available to assist students with their job search.
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