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Study in Canada: A Guide for International Students
Considering that it’s the second largest country in the world by land area, there’s plenty to explore in Canada. Bordered by the United States to the south, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Arctic Ocean to the north, Canada has a unique location that offers some stunning views, extreme weather, and unlimited things to discover. These are just a few of the reasons that students love studying abroad in Canada!
Although a large country, a lot of Canada is dominated by forest and tundra which has led to a highly urbanized population. Nearly half of Canada’s 35 million residents live in the three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which have become the most popular study abroad destinations in Canada. But, whether you prefer the fast-paced city life, or the more laid-back vibe of smaller towns close to nature, there’s plenty of Canadian study destinations to choose from!
No matter where you choose to study, you’ll love immersing into Canadian life. Despite the rugged environment, Canada is a highly developed country that ranks well on economic and human development indexes. Not surprising, Canada has been ranked the best place to study abroad for two consecutive years.
Plus, Canada is a reasonably tolerant and accepting society, which means that international students will feel welcomed regardless of their social background. Don’t believe us? See for yourself! Read through our Study Abroad in Canada Guide and begin looking for a program that fits you best today!
Canada – Quick facts & figures
Capital : Ottawa
Language : English, French
Population : 35 million
Area Size : 9,984,670 km²
International Students : 200,000
Academic Year : January – September
Currency : Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Calling Code : +1
Time Zones : Several (UTC -2.5 to 8)
More about studying abroad in Canada
The Canadian education system prides itself on being a world-leader in research while still remaining accessible and diverse. Compared to other higher education systems, Canadian degree programs may seem more flexible as well. No matter what degree you pursue, students are given some choice when it comes to picking classes. Therefore, Canadian students have more control over their workload and what subjects they will study, depending on the discipline. Furthermore, students can choose from over 200 institutions of higher education at which to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. On average, a bachelor’s degree will take four years, while a master’s can be completed in one to two years. The length it takes to complete a doctorate degree varies widely, but on average, it can take anywhere from four to six years. It’s also important to note that all students, both Canadian and international, are responsible for paying tuition fees.
If that sounds at all interesting to you, join the over one million students for an adventure of a lifetime in Canada!
The Education System in Canada
Talented individuals from around the world are drawn to Canada for its diversity, prestigious education system, and cosmopolitan cities. Offering a wide-range of degree programs in numerous fields and disciplines, Canada is amongst the most popular study abroad destinations. Plus, almost every program is taught in English, which grants a variety of choice for native speakers and the chance to practice for non-native speakers who want to perfect their skills.
The Canadian education system offers three degrees bachelors, masters and PHDs. Apart from that, an MBA in Canada will advance your business skills and offer you a ticket to enter the business world with all the necessary knowledge. As an international student, you are welcome to complete all or part of your education in Canada. Like other countries, there are both public and private universities. Tuition fees for public universities average between 7,500 and 22,500 CAD per year, while tuition for private universities tend to be much higher. With few exceptions, degrees earned in Canada are internationally recognized.
A vast majority of degree programs in Canada are taught in English. Therefore, students from countries where English is not the native language will have to prove their English proficiency through either the TOEFL or IELTS. That being said, studying abroad in Canada is also a great way to improve your English language skills. Practice speaking with locals to perfect your skills while also making new, international friends. Plus, if you plan on staying in Canada after your studies, proficiency in English will definitely be a requirement.
Student Visas in Canada
If you are a foreign national, meaning you are not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, then a study permit will be required before you can formally enter Canada to study. Study permits allow international students to study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). Before you apply, make sure you have all the necessary documentation. In general, a study permit will be valid for the entire length of your studies, plus an extra 90 days, which allows individuals to prepare a permit extension or leave Canada.
The Canadian embassy or consulate in your country should have the most up-to-date information regarding what is required. The university at which you have been accepted should also provide guidance for international students trying to obtain a study permit. All documents should be in English. Otherwise, they will need to be translated by a certified translator. As the expected processing time for a study permit can vary depending on your country of origin, it’s recommended that you apply for a study permit well in advance. So, whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute!
Student Housing & Living Costs in Canada
One of the most important factors to consider when studying abroad will be your budget. As a student, it’s important to think about what kind of accommodations you will have, how much travelling you plan to do, and whether you will try and find part-time work. Fortunately, students also have the benefit of being eligible for student housing and tons of student discounts at popular sights and attractions. It’s also important to pick a student-friendly study abroad destination, like Canada!
Some average living costs throughout Canada are:
Meal CAD $17
Coffee CAD $4
Beer CAD $6
Cinema Ticket CAD $13
Monthly rent CAD $600
Monthly Transport CAD $90
Whether you’re an urbanite or a nature-lover, Canada’s budget friendly entertainment makes it a great choice for students studying abroad. Plus, compared to other big cities like New York and London, Canadian cities like Montreal and Toronto are much more affordable. On average, students should expect to spend somewhere between $675-$875 CAD a month before rent. Housing in a student dormitory will typically cost an additional $550-$600 CAD if you plan to study in a city. Keep in mind that Canada has specific rules and regulations when it comes to working on a student permit. Therefore, students should not rely on getting a job to fund their studies.
Tuition Fees in Canada
Tuition fees in Canada vary by institution and province, but the cost is generally more affordable when compared to other countries around the world.
Tuition fees are determined by universities and are comprised of several factors including whether you’re an international of domestic student and at what level you are studying. The annual cost of studying at a Canadian university starts at about $12,000 CAD for undergraduates. If you want to study at the postgraduate level, expect tuition fees to be reasonably higher.
Depending on your country of origin, this may sound expensive. However, Canada offers the lowest tuition rates for foreign students compared to the other Anglophone countries, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Therefore, Canada is a great option for international students who are interested in studying in an English-speaking country but need to do so on a budget.
If you’re still worried about money, you can also strategically plan where you will study in Canada, as the cost to study varies significantly across provinces. For example, the cheapest province to study in, Manitoba, is half the cost of the most expensive, British Columbia.
Language & Culture in Canada
Canada is known for being an open, progressive country that attracts millions of internationals from around the world who live, study, and work there. It’s easy to understand why! With free healthcare, a fair cost of living, and plenty to explore, Canada is a dream for urbanites and nature lovers alike. There’s plenty of hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities, as well as trendy, cosmopolitan cities in which to spend the weekend. Combining the best of American, European, and its own indigenous cultures, Canada embodies a beautiful mix of cultures that it confidently calls its own.
Canada’s multiculturalism can be felt and seen in the vast array of art, cuisine, music, and literature, and film. Regardless of your background, the only prerequisite to make it in Canada is the hardiness and spirit to make it through Canada’s long, harsh winters. But no doubt, once you’ve spent some time in Canada, you’ll learn to love the outdoors, just like the locals do. Canada is also a great place to practice your English-language skills, if you’re not already a native. And if you are, it’s going to be easy to make yourself understand. Although there are two national languages in Canada, English and French, English remains the predominant language spoken throughout Canada, unless you’re in the province of Quebec. Therefore, Canada is a popular destination for students from around the world!
Canada at Your Fingertips with the TOEFL iBT® Test
With English and French as its languages, Canada is a popular study abroad destination. From its metropolitan cities to breathtaking nature, Canada has a lot to offer students. Many Canadian schools enjoy great reputations, affording you a great education in an English-speaking country. The TOEFL® test lets you showcase your English skills to Canadian schools. Choosing the right TOEFL® test for you and your ideal course might seem challenging, but the TOEFL® test has resources that are ready to go. These include practice tests that can help you familiarize yourself with the test, as well as information that can help you decide which kind of TOEFL® test and in which format is right for you.
The TOEFL® test also helps you to develop and boost your study skills. This means that the TOEFL® test can help you be better prepared for academic life. The difference is clear – and schools can see that difference. In fact, all Canadian schools accept the TOEFL® test, with more than 80% of graduate programs actually preferring TOEFL® test scores in applications. Canada is a vast country filled with adventure and opportunity at every turn. The TOEFL® test can help you realize your dream of studying abroad in this remarkable country.
Entry Requirements for Canadian Universities
Interested in studying abroad in Canada? We’re here to help make the process a little simpler. The admission process may be different from what you’re used to, so make sure you consult the university at which you are applying if you have specific questions. In the meantime, take the following steps to get started:
1. Choose a Program
Start by choosing the degree program that is right for you. Almost every degree program in Canada will be taught in English. Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, there are degrees in a multitude of fields across disciplines. Canada is internationally renowned for a variety of programs, including its humanities, business, and science programs.
2. Prepare the Paperwork
Among the basic paperwork that is commonly required by all universities is a letter of motivation, recommendation letter, and a portfolio of previous work if applicable. Universities will also require proof of completion of previous studies. To satisfy this requirement, send the university an official transcript from your secondary school if you’re beginning a bachelor’s or your previous university if you’re pursuing a master’s degree or higher. If you are not a native speaker, you may also need to successfully pass an English proficiency test.
3. Check Specific Admission Requirements
Depending on the university, specific documentation could be required. Always consult the university website for specific admission requirements and contact the appropriate university office if you have any questions. In Canada, applications and admissions are handled by the university to which you are applying. Prospective students are welcome to apply for several different programs and universities at a time.
4. Submit Your Application
Most applications to universities in Canada are done through an online application system. Application forms are available through specific university websites, and often require an application fee to be paid. After you’ve completed the application form, attach the necessary documents or prepare to mail them in to the university.
5. Wait to Be Admitted
Admission results are often announced by the end of spring. If you are studying at a private university, you will usually be asked to pay the tuition fees for the first semester. Otherwise, the university where you will pursue your studies will send you an official letter of admission, admission confirmation for visa purposes, and other practical information about studying abroad in Canada.
6. Apply for a Visa
If necessary, upon acceptance into a Canadian university, begin the visa application process as soon as possible. Because the process can take up to sixty days and requires several important documents, do not wait. Students from countries outside Canada will not be allowed to enter and stay in Canada if they are not in possession of the proper visa.
7. Arrive in Canada
After you’ve been admitted to a university and have received the necessary visa, it’s time to begin your adventures in Canada! Think about the cost of living in Canada and what your budget will be. Once you have that, you can begin looking for accommodation. Finally, it’s time to purchase your transportation to Canada and arrive in your new home city! No matter where you’re staying, there are plenty of sights and attractions to be enjoyed.