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An educational haven for students from around the world to flock to – hockey, maple syrup, and denim tuxedos aside, there are many charms to be found for those who decide to study in Canada.

Why Study in Canada

Canada – the second largest country in the world by land mass, only behind Russia, with a population density that runs at about 4 inhabitants per square kilometer (compared to India, with a whopping 416/km²!).

Canada boasts 96 universities scattered across its urban and regional areas, most of which are very welcoming to international students. One special aspect of Canada is that there are two national languages – that’s right, you probably already know: English in most of the western side and French in the eastern province of Quebec. If you want to broaden your horizons as either an ESL or FSL student, Canada is the place!

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That is, if you don’t mind mortifying winters. As with anywhere on the globe, the people are reflections of their environment. From rugged mountain ranges of British Columbia to vast underground malls connected to subway stations, Canadians and international students alike embrace what is a burden on some as a source for purity, benevolence, and outstanding standards for higher education.

The Canadian people are known to be a very friendly bunch. Moreover, along with a plethora of incentives to study in Canada as an international, the country is constantly on the brink of social systems and technology, making it very accommodating to the open-minded nature of students studying abroad.

Canadian Universities

Canada’s main cities – Vancouver, Toronto, and Montréal – are where you may first be aiming the darts if you are looking to study abroad in Canada. According to QS Best Student Cities 2018, Montréal is the 4th best student city in the world, with Toronto at 13th and Vancouver at 17th!

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However, some of the country’s most internationally respected universities can be found in the regions in between. So depending on your field of study, your favored geography, and your level of tolerance to the cold, you may find it more pleasing to study outside of the three main cities.

QS World University Rankings 2021 places 26 out of Canada’s 96 universities on the list!

Here are the top 10:

  • Queen’s University
  • University of Calgary
  • Western University
  • University of Waterloo
  • Université de Montréal
  • McMaster University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • University of Toronto

Canada wouldn’t be host to some 572,000 international students every year, if there wasn’t a wide range of courses to study – from Computer Science & IT to Media & Journalism, Agricultural Science & Forestry to Business & Finance. You are sure to find the right degree for you!

  • McGill University
  • University of Toronto

Canada wouldn’t be host to some 572,000 international students every year, if there wasn’t a wide range of courses to study – from Computer Science & IT to Media & Journalism, Agricultural Science & Forestry to Business & Finance. You are sure to find the right degree for you!

Canada is also home to over 150 colleges that offer short courses and diplomas. You may find one that works perfectly for your aspirations. While you would have to go through the same process of obtaining a student visa, you may save some money on overall tuition.

The Canadian school year generally commences in September, though some postgraduate programs begin sooner or later. Be sure to check!

University of Toronto

A globally top-ranked public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

McGill University

Join a community creating solutions to the world’s challenges.

The University of British Columbia

A global center for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world.

Popular Courses in Canada

Attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Canada will give you the knowledge and qualifications necessary to pursue a career in your chosen field, or continue your studies for a Master’s/PhD.

The degree structure for undergraduate programs takes a more liberal approach in regards to the classes you are able to choose within your field of study. A certain amount of credits are given upon completion of each course.

The student has the option to choose from a number of courses offered in the department that he or she is studying in. This is different from, say, the degree structure in France, in which the institute decides which courses need to be taken each semester.

Competition is high to be accepted into most universities. If English is not your first language, you will need to take a proficiency test. Any evidence of secondary school achievements (GPA, volunteering, student clubs, etc.) will heighten your chances of acceptance!

As a full-time student in Canada, you are entitled to work 20 hours/week during semesters and full time during winter/summer breaks. Wow!

Student Visas

You can study in Canada up to 6 months without a student visa. However, if you wanted to work, you would need to have the proper permit to do so.

The following documents are required to apply for a study permit:

  • Proof of Acceptance – the acceptance letter you received from your university.
  • Proof of Identity – a valid passport will serve this purpose.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds – CA$10,000/year + $833 for each additional month.

The application costs CA$150, and the process is substantially less of a headache than most other countries.

Providing a letter of explanation is also a good idea. This could hasten your approval, as it will help the visa officer understand your aspirations and responsibilities as a foreigner in Canada.

If you’ve already been accepted into a Canadian university, start the application process here.

How to Apply to Study in Canada

Applications vary depending on the institution, but generally you will need to prove your language proficiency, provide transcripts from previous education, prove financial stability, and medical coverage. Ensuring you meet all the requirements for the institution you wish to apply to is a key step in saving trouble in the future.

When applying for most universities, you will need to choose your major. If you are unsure exactly what this may be, don’t fret. Canadian universities are generally quite flexible with changing majors later.

Designated Learning Institutes are schools that are approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. Be doubly sure you are applying to a school that is on this list.

You should apply no later than March if you wish to begin studying in September. Some universities have different deadlines, so be sure to research the universities you wish to apply for!

Language Requirements

Since Canada is a bilingual country, courses at Canadian universities will be taught in either English or French.

Even if you are a native English or French speaker, you’ll need to take a language proficiency test. If you are applying for an English speaking university, IELTS is accepted by all. For French, TEF is the most commonly used and accepted.

Fees are generally around $100.

Comparison to UK Qualifications

As stated before, tuition cost is much less in Canada. Cost of living is a little bit less as well.

Though cost is a very important factor for most people in determining which university to study at, what it really gets down to is up to you. There are many universities in Canada and the UK that are internationally respected. Find the one that is right for your situation.

While the UK still has more universities in the QS World University Rankings 2021, Canada is quickly overtaking the UK as the most desired country for international students to study in.


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