Known for its beautiful scenery, vibrant cities, friendly people and maple trees, Canada is a popular choice for international students.
Whether you’ve been accepted to a college already or you’re just exploring your options, this guide covers how to prepare for studying in Canada and what to expect when you get there.
Jump straight to:
Here’s a summary of the options for studying in Canada, depending on your existing qualifications:
Your lifestyle as a student could vary greatly depending on the province you’re studying in, so think carefully before you choose.
Do some research into the climate, culture and history of the provinces and cities you’re looking at, to see if they’re suited to you.
When you’ve found a university or institute you like the sound of, see if there are any testimonials on the website from ex-students you can learn from. There might also be some guides and articles published about studying there.
Find out more about choosing an institute and programme on Canada’s government website.
Every school or university has a different application process, but here are some general tips to keep in mind:
Once you’ve been accepted by your learning institute, you can apply for a study permit online. At this stage, you’ll need to show you have the finances to support yourself throughout your studies.
You might also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) to enter Canada, but you should automatically be issued one of these when you’re granted your study permit.
If you’re studying at a university or college with a campus, your institute may have dormitories and townhouses for student living.
Living with other students on campus is a great way to make friends in your first year, but it’s common to move into a shared house with friends in later years.
You’ll typically need to pay a deposit upfront to cover any damages for a privately rented house, and commit to a contract of 12 months.
As an international student, you'll be protected by the landlord-tenant laws of the province or territory you're studying in.
It will probably be a lot trickier to renew your passport in Canada than in your home country. So, if it’s due to expire while you’re studying, try to get it done before you go.
Also, if your home country requires you to have a re-entry permit, you may need to get one for your passport before you're issued a Canadian visa.
You’ll need to demonstrate that you’re able to support yourself financially throughout your studies. This includes providing details of any financial aid you’ll get while studying, and how you intend to pay for accommodation and tuition fees.
Aside from those big costs, here are some other things to include in your budget:
You’ll likely need a local chequing account to withdraw cash, pay for things, and transfer money while you’re studying.
You might find you need to be a Canadian resident to set up a standard student account. But we can help you get your international student account set up before you arrive, so you can manage your finances as soon as you land.
Depending on where you’re from, life in Canada might be different to what you’re used to. But in general, Canada is a diverse and welcoming country that embraces multiculturalism.
You can learn a lot about Canada online and from books about the country and its history – but, you’ll learn the most when you’re actually there.
In the meantime, here are a few key things to know: