Coming to Canada to continue your education can be exciting and challenging as you are leaving the known for the unknown. So, if you plan to come to Canada to study you need to be prepared for some changes and challenges that you might encounter as a new international student.
Although Canada is one of the most popular countries for higher education there are many things that international students aren’t aware of before coming here. It is important that you learn about student life in Canada before committing years of your life in Canada. Studying in Canada can be an extraordinary opportunity for growth and personal development. It is also one of the pathways to a Canadian Permanent Residency.
Here are a few things you should know before you choose to study in Canada.
Canada is very cold!
Most international students don't understand this until they arrive in Canada. While Canada can be cold there are also very beautiful summers. When I first arrived in winter of 2004 to study at the University of Saskatchewan, I could not believe how cold it was. The jacket I bought from Nigeria could not even take me to the car. It was a huge shocker. Summer eventually came and it was also hottest than I could imagine. Prepare to enjoy to 4 distinct
When compared with other countries favored by international students, Canada’s undergraduate tuition fees are relatively affordable.
Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada
According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fees for undergraduate international students in 2019/20 are CA$29714 (~US$22,500) per annum. Courses in the Humanities tend to be cheaper (averaging $5,542), while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive (an average of CA$21,717 (~US$16,446) for dentistry and $14,162 (~US$10,724) for Medicine . Fees for business and management courses are less than the national average, at CA$6,827 (~US$5,170) per annum.
Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada
If you plan to study at the postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally lower, and vary depending on your specific program. Statistics Canada puts the average postgraduate tuition fee for international students at CA$17,744 in 2019/20, which is approximately US$13,437.
As it is the case worldwide, executive MBA programs are generally the most expensive, averaging around CA$56,328 (~US$42,657), while regular MBAs cost CA$27,397 (~US$20,747) on the average.
Scholarships are available for International Students
There are several scholarships available for foreign students. Some of these scholarships include:
Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships
The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship Program at the University of Toronto acknowledges international students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and who are recognized as leaders within their school. The scholarship covers tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years.
Humber College International Entrance Scholarships
Humber offers renewable full and partial tuition scholarships to NEW international students beginning classes in September and January of each year.
York University International Student Scholarship Program
International students who have an excellent academic record and are admitted to York University are eligible for scholarships worth $60,000 – $100,000 for a four-year degree program.
University of British Columbia Scholarships for International Students
UBC recognizes the academic achievement of outstanding students from around the world by devoting around $10 million CAD annually to awards, scholarships and other sorts of financial assistance for international undergraduate students.
One of the things you will notice when you start your program in Canada is the importance of teamwork. You will find that most of your classes require that your complete projects are in teams and these projects will add to your final grade in most classes. Being able to collaborate effectively even with difficult teammates is a skill that will help you even when you begin working in Canada.
You can get up to 50% or more of your grade before your final exams
Your final grades in a class can consist of things such as class attendance, class participation, quizzes, assignments, assessments etc. This means that every class activity matters. Don’t wait until your final exam to give everything your best shot. Show up to class and more than that, speak up in class. Complete your assignments and prepare for your quizzes. You will find that these little things add up and can be the difference between an A and a B.
Working and Studying
You are allowed to work 20 hours per week while school is in session and 40 hours during scheduled breaks. However, the amount of money you make in these jobs might not be significant enough to cover any major expenses such as tuition or rent.
Ensure you have sufficient funds to support your tuition and living expenses to avoid being stranded.
You may be unable to register for classes if:
You don’t pay your tuition fees. Owing fees could hinder you from registering for classes unless debts are cleared. In addition to not being able to pay your fees there would be interest on the amount; until paid off.
Make sure the school you are applying to is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
Not all institutions in Canada are
recognized so it is very important that the school you use to go to is a designated learning institution if not you won't be eligible to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
So do a thorough research and make sure the school you are applying to is a DLI.
Study a course in demand and research on a province that that would fit your field of study
Be strategic about the course you are coming to study in Canada. This is because some courses might affect your visa approval and also affect your chances of getting choice employment after your studies in Canada. Also, some provinces have streams to permanent residency tailored to international students; so it is very important that you research on those provinces and their eligibility requirements to see the ones that suit you best.
Co-Op Terms/ Internships
If you have the option to secure admission in a program that offers Co-op Terms or Internship, you should definitely consider taking advantage of this. Many graduates secured their jobs through internship opportunities.
Are you a current or previous international student in Canada, feel free to add to the list.