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8 Things To Consider Before Studying In Canada

February 19, 2016

Moving to a new country to study is full of small hurdles and challenges which every international student needs to prepare for, and despite its reputation as one of the most welcoming countries for international students, Canada is no exception. Many of you will have several preconceptions about living and studying in Canada; it might be cold, you may have to speak French, the people are polite – but there is much more you need to learn about student life in Canada before committing yourself to several years of education there. \r\n\r\nThe best option is to visit the country beforehand and try to familiarise yourself as best you can, but if this proves difficult then instead take a look at our list of eight things to consider for international students in Canada.\r\n\r\n

Canadian Student Visa Requirements

\r\nThe Canadian student Visa process begins once you have been accepted onto a recognised course at an accredited Canadian educational establishment. \r\n\r\nOnce you have a CAQ form confirming your place your application will take between 3 – 5 weeks to complete, and the fees can vary depending on your country of origin. You will also have to prove your status as a law abiding citizen with a certificate from your local law enforcement agency, and be able to demonstrate your ability to fund yourself during your stay in Canada.\r\n\r\n

It Gets Cold

\r\nConsidering that part of Canada’s territory includes the North Pole and that one of their favourite sports takes place on ice, it should be no surprise that the country gets a little cold occasionally. From September to early December you may experience a mixture of sunny days and the occasional rainfall, but as winter arrives the temperature will drop to an average of -6°C.\r\n\r\nHowever, cold weather has been known to arrive as early as October, so international students should bring plenty of cold-weather clothing when they arrive. Spring brings with it more pleasant temperatures, and from June you can expect bright, sunny days with some temperatures reaching as high as 35°C. \r\n\r\n

Public Universities

\r\nThe majority of Canada’s universities and colleges are fully accredited public educational institutions, with courses which are funded and rigorously scrutinised by the Canadian Government. This means you will enjoy a high-quality education whichever institution you choose, and your qualifications will be recognised by employers, educators and governments around the world. \r\n\r\n

Which University to Choose?

\r\nThere are many factors to consider when choosing a Canadian University, and it is important to note that larger or more famous institutions are not necessarily better depending on your requirements. \r\n\r\nIt is also wise to enquire about the English as a Second Language qualifications of your prospective tutors and to prioritise schools with a low percentage of international students, as this allows you to further immerse yourself in the English language and Canadian culture. Also make sure you enquire about extra-curricular activities, what facilities are made available to you, and what former students of the course you have chosen have gone on to do.\r\n\r\n

There are Two Official Languages

\r\nThe majority of French speakers in Canada reside in the province of Quebec on the eastern coast, so if you are studying in this region you will likely require a firm understanding of the language in addition to English skills. \r\n\r\nHowever, both languages are used for official government languages and some signage, so if you are choosing to study in Quebec in order to develop your French speaking skills then you will still be able to live comfortably using English during your stay.\r\n\r\n

Undergraduate Admission is Easy (Except for Medicine and Law!)

\r\nCanada offers a huge range of courses and many of them have lenient entry requirements, with the equivalent of a high-school diploma the bare minimum most universities ask for. Reasonable IELTS or TOEFL scores are also required, but you will need a much more impressive set of credentials to gain access to a Medicine or Law course. \r\n\r\nMost Medicine and Law programs require prior undergraduate study in Canada, excellent English skills, and often some extra-curricular qualities in addition to traditional educational criteria.\r\n\r\n

It is cheap (comparatively!)

\r\nMost undergraduate tuition fees in Canada are between $12,000 to $18,000 per year, which is extremely cheap compared to the course fees charged in the USA and UK. Your living expenses may add between $8000 and $12,000 to this depending on where you live and what your requirements are. A decent apartment can cost anywhere from $400 to $1500 per month, monthly transport passes will cost approximately $90, and your utility expenses around $150 per month.\r\n\r\n

It is a Multicultural and Liberal Nation

\r\nCanada is a very open-minded and liberal nation, a quality which makes it welcoming to those with differing ideas and customs, as long as those things do not impact on the freedoms of other citizens. \r\n\r\nFor students arriving from more conservative countries the nation’s firm enforcement of equality to people of any race, gender, culture and sexuality may be shocking, but this is a core part of the Canadian way of life and it is important that you adapt to this as quickly as possible.\r\n\r\nInterested in studying in Canada as an international student? If so, make sure you get in touch with a friendly and experienced member of our team today.