If you are unsure about which country would be suited for your studies, allow us to pique your interest in Canada, known for its high quality of life and esteemed universities such as the McGill University and University of Toronto. Read our guide to Canada below to find out everything you need to about what you may experience as a potential student in the country.

A quick intro to Canada
Culture and people
Cost of living
Canada Education
    Tuition fees
    Universities in Canada
    Top 10 Universities in Canada
    Admission requirements
    Student pass and visa
Application process
Spare time


A quick intro to Canada

Map of Canada

Continuously emerging in the list of the top ten countries with the highest quality of life in the world, Canada is also the second most educated country in the world, where more than half of its residents possess a college degree and education is compulsory until the age of 16 to 18 years. Hence, Canada is a major competitor in the industry of higher education.

Canada is known for its winters, and in several areas of the country the ground is covered with snow for the stretch of half a year. Fret not, though -- universities tend not to be located in such areas. The cool winters, coupled with the country’s 561 lakes and largest coastline in the world, mountains and lush greenery, students would gain an enriching outdoor experience while studying in Canada.

English and French are Canada’s national languages, so as long as you are proficient in either of them, a language barrier would not be a problem studying in Canada.

As of 2015, Canada is the eighth most popular country for international students. It has 120,960 international students, according to UNESCO. The most popular Canadian provinces for international students are British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Each province offers a distinctive living and studying experience. Quebec has a charming historical European architecture, British Columbia offers great outdoor recreation for the adventurous, and Ontario is popular for its great highlands and forest zones.


Culture and people

Although it is the second largest country in the world as well, it has one of the lowest population densities; it is too exceptionally multi-cultural, with much of its population relying on immigrants. Fitting in, so to say, will not be an issue for potential students who wish to study in Canada.

Moreover, you may have heard of the kindness and generosity of Canadians in general, and that is no exaggeration, as you will experience once you settle down in the country.

Canada is a cultural mosaic of sorts, its multiculturalism leading to a mixture of several societies and influences on the country’s overall culture, particularly British and French. Some of the country’s most popular annual festival include Winterlude in Ottawa, Celebration of Light in Vancouver, Just for Laughs in Montreal and Pride Toronto.

For diversity and a guarantee of being welcomed with open arms, Canada would be the ultimate choice for international students.


Cost of living

Anywhere in the world, one’s cost of living usually depends on their own lifestyle choices, choosing the range of any aspect of living according to their own limitations. Canada, while expensive, can be considered relatively cheaper than other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. An approximate expenditure of a student’s basic requirements in Canada is listed below:

Description Cost in CAD (per month) Cost in US$ (per month)
Accommodation (an apartment) 400 - 1,500 302 - 1135
Transportation 91 69
Food (one meal) 9 - 15 6 - 11
Movie ticket (one ticket) 13 9.80
Mobile Internet/package 58 44
Beer (domestic 0.5 lt bottle) 2.55 2
Clothes (1 pair of Levi's jeans) 60.88 46
Skiing (daily pass) 45 - 90 34 - 68


Education in Canada

Canada is a popular destination for international students, given the high quality of life and the steps taken by the country’s government to encourage education. Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnics are primarily publicly funded and highly accountable for quality assurance in teaching, research and campus facilities.


Tuition Fees

Tuition and living costs are also very competitive when compared with other top study destinations for international students. According to a recent study by HSBC, Canada costs less than in countries such as Australia, the US and the UK. For international students who need financial assistance, the Canadian government, universities and other organisations have a line-up of scholarships.

Study Level Tuition Fee, Per Year, in CAD Tuition Fee, Per Year, in US$
Foundation / Pre-U Between 7,000-11,000 5,300 - 8,300
Diploma Between 5,000 - 15,000 3,800 - 11,300
Bachelor's degree Between 14,000 - 51,000 10,730 - 38,600
Master's degree Between 12,000 - 44,800 9,000 - 34,000


Universities in Canada

Canadian universities such as McGill University and University of Toronto are known worldwide for their excellence in academia, research, and student life. Universities in Canada are usually located in major cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and many universities are vehement on internationalisation. Courses are offered in English, and moreover in French as well. As of 2014, international students in Canada stood at 89,000 in number.


Top 10 Universities in Canada

Twenty-six Canadian universities were present in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, with three within top 50, which alone shows the high standard of education in Canada. The top 10 universities in Canada are as follows:

Top Ten Unis in Canada


Admission requirements

The most general admission requirement to be eligible for applying to Canadian universities include a high school diploma, and proof of your English language proficiency, which can be presented through your O-Level English grade, the IELTS, or the TOEFL examinations.

Forty hours of volunteer work are also compulsory for admission, although as an international student, you may be exempted from this.

In more prestigious universities, along with their application, students are required to write out an essay, of your intentions and reasons behind wanting to study a particular program at a particular university in Canada, etc.



Student pass and visa

If your course of study will last more than six months, obtaining a student permit must be done in order to study in Canada, for which several documents and forms are required from the student. Student permits can be attained through online at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website or through paper application, though the latter would take double the time as the former. However, to be applicable for the online process, you would first be required to answer a few questions on the CIC website, after which you would receive a personal checklist code for the duration of your application process. Create a MyCIC account, and proceed to apply for your student permit.

Once students are offered a placement in a university in Canada, the visa application process can begin by submitting the following documents:

  • Acceptance letter from your university of choice, which must be a recognized university
  • Prior academic record
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Bank statement for proof of financial stability for annual tuition fee, living costs and return transport
  • Non-existent criminal record
  • Biometrics for students from certain countries
  • Medical exam report
  • Two passport sized pictures

Once you obtain visa approval, you will receive a letter of introduction or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Upon arrival in Canada, you must present these, your passport, financial proof and letter of acceptance to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for your student permit and entry into the country.



Application process

A number of steps need to be undertaken throughout your journey to study in Canada, from research to application to arrival. In this duration, a student permit being obtained by the student is vital.

The following infographic guides you through it.

Canada Journey


Spare time

The outdoors is usually where Canadians carry out their recreation activities. With more lakes than the rest of the world combined, sightseeing is a great way to spend your spare time while in Canada -- including, of course, the famous Niagara Falls. Since Canada experiences winter for much of the time, skiing and snowboarding are popular sports in the country, where residents go up to mountains and spend their time skiing and hiking.

Your student life, moreover, will not be a disappointment; mingling with other students would be relatively easy and being able to immerse yourself in a good social life would not be difficult.