Low crime rates and a low cost of living are making Canada an international study hot spot for students. Canada is becoming a leading destination for international students as it provides student with affordable tuition fees, quality institutions, post-study work and immigration options. Students have been flocking to study in Canada since the 2016 announcement of a student visa that allows them to stay on and work in the country after graduation. In recent years Canada has experienced a huge increase in demand form the students who are willing study in abroad.
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Understanding Canada’s Education System
According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Canada is one of the world’s top when it comes to investing in education. It’s important for an international student to understand Canada’s education system, as to what makes it more competitive and attractive. Among the top three countries that spend on quality education, Canada is one. Therefore, Canada is one of the best destinations for studying as they make a large investment in their education system.
The post-secondary education system in Canada is divided into:
Pre-bachelors level: There are generally three levels that can be done before starting off with a Bachelor’s course, i.e, Certificate, Diploma and Advance Diploma. These courses are one to three years long.
Bachelor’s Level: Four Year full-time course
Post-graduate diplomas: One to two years course
Masters level: One to two years course
PhD or Research: Four to seven years
Generally, there are two major intakes in Canada, the Spring (January/February) and the Fall (August/ September). In few universities, there can be summer Intakes as well (May/June).
Canadian Universities have class sizes that range from 30 to 200 students. The classes are a combination of lectures and tutorials. The lectures can be to a larger audience whereas the tutorials can be for smaller audience.
Fee Structure: In Canada the average yearly tuition fee for international students is around CA$27000. This is much lower in comparison to UK, USA or Australia. However, the cost of studying varies according to the institution and program, one is applying for.
Scholarships: There are different types of Funding available according to the type of University, Program, Level, Research area, etc. Students can apply to various government and non-government Canadian scholarships available for international students. However, this needs to be done months before the course start date as it takes time.
Student Visa Overview
To study in any country, it is essential to obtain a valid visa. Generally, the visas are granted by the embassy of that particular country. Every country will have its own policies, when it comes to the visa type as well as the requirements. A student who wishes to study in Canada should also be well acquainted with the Canada’s Student visa Overview. This helps them to be well prepared with the essential documents well ahead of time. The visa grants might also take some time, a better understanding of the visa overview, will help us plan when would be the best time to start our application process.
In order to study in a Canadian Institution, one needs to obtain a Canadian Study Permit, i.e. a student visa. The visa can be either Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) depending on one’s home country.
Things to Remember:
- Canadian Study Permit- if an individual holds a study permit, do not mistake it to be a visa, this ensures that they must remain enrolled in a course and make timely progress towards completing their course.
- Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) – it is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada. It is valid for up to five years. It gives permit for multiple entry.
- Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)- citizens of some countries need a Temporary Resident Visa in order to enter Canada in addition to a study permit. This is for those who do not qualify for eTA.
The eligibility criteria for study permit is as below:
- Should have a valid passport
- Should have an acceptance letter from an educational institution
- Should have enough money as bank saving or education loan to pay for tuition and living expenses
- Should have proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
- Should have a clean Police Record
- Should have an appropriate requirement of IELTS to prove English proficiency
- Should have medical check up
- Before the issuance of study permit in Canada, the applicant needs to prove that he/she is financially sound and might be asked to provide the following documents:
- If money has been transferred to your Canadian Bank account, the proof of it.
- Documents related to education loan (if required)
- Bank Statements of more than 4 months
- A bank draft
- proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees
- Affidavit of Support
- Proof of funding, if provided with scholarship
Cost of Studying in Canada
For an International student, the cost factor is always an essential aspect of studying abroad. Accordingly, it is important to be well aware of the cost of studying in Canada. In comparison to the UK, Australia, USA and New Zealand, Canada has low tuition fees for international students. The students should consider expenses like accommodation, food, health coverage and travelling along with the tuition fees while calculating the estimated cost of studying in Canada.
Generally, the approximate tuition fee for undergraduate students, ranges between CA$12,000 and CA$ 25000 per year. It basically depends on the course and the institution. For all postgraduate courses, tuition fees vary by course provider but will be under CA$35000 per year. However, the doctoral degree is quite reasonable at under CA$10000 per year. The expenditure on tuition fees varies according to the type of qualification and university. Medicine and engineering courses are likely to be expensive in comparison to the courses like humanities, education and arts. Likewise, postgraduate courses tuition fees are higher and the costs vary depending on the program.
Cost of Living
The cost of living varies according to lifestyle an individual want to live. But the students need to keep on track of their expenditures so that they do not over spend. Likewise, considering various expenses a single student budget in Canada comes around approximately CAD 15,000 (indicative)
Canada has made it compulsory for all the international students to get a medical insurance before starting their program. Various Canadian universities and schools has started a comprehensive health insurance plans for international students. This is applicable as long as the program is ongoing and ends upon completion.
Likewise, there are some college that do not offer any insurance policies, and in that case students have arrange for private medical insurance. The average cost for medical insurance ranges between CAD 300- CAD 800 a year (indicative).
Student Visa Application Charge
The first step to study in Canada is to secure a valid study permit which costs approx. CAD 150.
There are various Universities in Canada that offer on-campus residence to international students. If a student wants to live on-campus then they need to apply for it separately. Living on-campus is a very affordable option for a student.
Likewise, you can also rent an apartment which will be a bit costly in comparison to on-campus residence as an individual has to pay their utility bills like electricity, internet, water usage and also tenant’s insurance.
There are facilities of public transports in all the cities and major towns of the country. An individual can take regional trains, buses and subways to reach their required destination. The students can take monthly passes for travelling to universities which can be comparatively cheap. Likewise, if the college has the facility of shuttle service then the student can use it and have problem while traveling to the college.
Employment Opportunities in Canada
Employment opportunities are an important aspect to be considered when it comes to deciding upon a country for further studies. Generally, as a student, we should be aware of the part time job policies and options. During part time jobs, students can gain valuable insight about the career opportunities after the completion of the course as well as some experience that will help them to accommodate later in the work premises. Also, the money earned can be utilized as a pocket money for some recreation during holidays. After the completion of studies, Canada also has the provision of Post Study Employment opportunities.
Part time jobs in Canada
As a student you will be working as a part time employee which will be a great help for managing your living expenses in Canada. It will also provide you with the work experience which can be a great asset for you in the future.
Students can work during your studies and holidays if they are enrolled at any one of the following:
- A public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
- A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 per cent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify)
- A Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.
International students can work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and can work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.
Students can either work on-campus or off-campus. On-campus means you will be working on your college/university campus itself. Whereas, off-campus means an area outside of your campus premises. Students can work on-campus without work permit if they have a valid study permit.
Some of the On-campus job options are as below:
- Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant
- Administration Office
- Library or Infirmary
- Freelancer for on campus services.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
To be eligible to work as a student in Canada, they will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada. To obtain a SIN for on-campus work, student must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on their study permit:
- May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies
- May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186 (f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
If the study permit does not have one of the above-mentioned conditions, students will need to submit a free request for an amendment to their study permit before they apply for a SIN.
Working After You Graduate
If any student wants to work after graduation, they need a work permit. Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) is one of the most widely accepted work permits. If any student wants to apply for permanent resident of Canada then PGWP will become of a great use.
PGWP work permits are valid up to maximum of three years and this permit will allow you to work in any occupation. To be eligible for PGWP, student must be graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). But students must be careful because all the programs from DLI might not fulfil the eligibility criteria. Students must apply for PGWP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation mentioning the completion of the academic program.
Scholarship Options in Canada
Universities and colleges provide a wide range of scholarship options in Canada to the international students so that it will be easy for them to fund their studies. The students need to check the eligibility and criteria before applying for the scholarships.
The primary criteria for most of scholarship in Canada is a good academic score. Likewise, in scholarships factors like extracurricular activities and volunteering can also be used. As getting a scholarship is competitive so the procedure should start about 8-12 months before the intake begins.
Some of the most popular scholarships are:
Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
- This scholarship program is designed to allow students pursue programs of advanced study and research at the Master and PhD level in Commonwealth countries other than their own.
- The scholarship comprises travel, living allowance and all compulsory tuition fees.
Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship
- This Scholarship is for the students studying in Quebec.
- Financial assistance is available to students studying master’s level or above.
- Each application is measured on its own merit.
National Research Council of Canada (NRCC)
- Research associate ship is offered to master degree holders in engineering and PhD holders in natural science or engineering disciplines.
Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program
- This scholarship is provided for graduate students in a wide variety of disciplines.
- Students must accept an offer from a university in Ontario and obtain a valid student permit (visa).
Ontario Trillium Scholarship
- First announced in November 2010 for the best doctoral students from around the world to study in Ontario.
- Each scholarship is worth $40,000 annually, renewable for a maximum of four years.
- 75 scholarships are awarded each year.
Students must remember that Ontario Universities select and award scholarships to international PhD students on merit basis.
Why study in Canada?
Students at present are flooded with options to choose between different courses as well as countries. Amongst many options if anyone is thinking about choosing Canada as a study destination, they should also understand, why study in Canada? What advantages can it provide against other countries? We all have our own priorities, be it related with affordability, safety, or something else. Before one decides to choose Canada for higher studies, he/she should also be familiar with the social benefits that the country can promise to the international students along with the guaranteed quality of education.
1. For a World Class Quality
Canada provides student with the quality of education that is termed as world class. Even the living standards are ranked as one of the highest in the world. Over the long-term students will be benefitted as Canada has high academic standard and strict quality control which means students will be getting high quality education.
2. For an Education that’s Affordable
Compared to other English-speaking countries like The United States and The United Kingdom, tuition fees and living expenses in Canada are comparatively lower. Almost everyone will get an option, according to their budget. For an international student, affordability is a genuine concern specially if they are coming from a developing country and the exchange rates are quite high.
3. For their Diverse Culture
Canada has a peaceful and multicultural environment where people are friendly and are interested in learning about new cultures. The ‘warm and friendly’ stereotype about Canadians is true. Canada is a welcoming country with a unique culture that embraces diversity. Therefore, for any student living in the Canada it will not be difficult for them to cope up.
4. For the Possibilities of Immigration
After you graduate from your program of studies, you may be able to work temporarily or even live permanently in Canada. Students who have graduated from Canadian higher education institutions can work in Canada for up to three years by completing the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP). Likewise, students can also apply to become a permanent resident.
5. For Safety
Canada has been ranked as one of the best places to live in by the United Nation. Canada is ranked 8th out of 162 on the safest countries ranking. From urban centers to small towns, Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world for international students as the international students in the Canada will also be getting the same facilities that protect Canadians.
6. For Leisure Activities
One of the greatest things about studying in Canada is the opportunity to experience a climate, culture and way of life that is beyond compare. Canada provides students to experience adventure and exposure even beyond the classroom. Canada’s post-secondary campuses offer students with huge opportunities for learning and leisure as they provide quality sports facilities, public concert halls and art galleries.
Number of Students:
Average Tuition Fee
1,075 – 65,000 CAD/year (post-graduate course) 550 – 30,000 CAD/year (under-graduate course)
Average Cost of Living
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