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How to Study in Canada as an International Student – The Ultimate Guide


Studying in Canada as an international student is a dream come true for many students worldwide. Canada is known for its high-quality education, diverse culture, and welcoming communities. However, studying in Canada as an international student can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the country.

Studying in Canada as an international student involves several steps, including researching universities, applying to universities, obtaining a study permit, preparing for arrival in Canada, studying, and staying in Canada after graduation. This blog post will break down each of these steps and provide tips and resources to help make studying in Canada as an international student easier.

Why study in Canada?

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In terms of cost, tuition fees in Canada are more affordable than in other popular study destinations, with various scholarships and work opportunities available to help with education expenses. International students can also work up to 20 hours per week during the semester, providing additional financial support. Additionally, studying in Canada offers students the chance to be part of a multicultural community with individuals from around the world. With these benefits in mind, it’s no wonder that Canada is a top choice for international students looking to further their education and start a new life abroad.

What are the requirements for studying in Canada?

To study in Canada as an international student, there are several requirements you must meet:

  • Admissions requirements: Each university in Canada has its admission requirements, such as English language proficiency, academic transcripts, recommendation letters, and test scores.
  • Study Permit: You must apply for a study permit from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Financial stability: You need to prove that you have sufficient financial support to pay tuition fees, living expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses while studying in Canada.
  • Health insurance: You must have health insurance coverage while studying in Canada.
  • Language proficiency: To study in Canada, you need to have a good understanding of English or French, depending on the language of instruction of the university to which you have applied.
  • Criminal background check: You may be asked to provide a police certificate as part of the study permit application process.
  • Medical exam: Depending on your country of origin, you may be required to undergo a medical examination before being allowed to study in Canada.

What is the age limit for studying in Canada?

No matter how old you are, you can study in Canada as long as you meet the requirements for a study permit, which include proof of financial support, language skills, and a valid offer of admission from a recognized school. Age is not a factor in the application process.

Research on Universities in Canada

When researching universities in Canada, it’s important to start by looking at the top universities for international students. The QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings are two of the systems that rank universities in Canada. Some of the top universities in Canada for international students include the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia.

Comparing the universities based on ranking, program offerings, and location

Once you have a list of universities to consider, it’s important to compare them based on important factors such as their ranking, program offerings, and location. Consider what type of program you are interested in and what kind of campus culture and city you prefer. Also, look at how much tuition, housing, and other costs are at each school to help you decide which is best for you. Remember, choosing a university that meets your academic, financial, and personal needs is important.

How much does it cost to study in Canada for international students?

According to Statista, the average tuition fee for undergraduate international students in 2022/23 will be around CA$ 59,515 per year. Tuition fees for universities vary depending on the program and school chosen, with tuition costing around $6,000 yearly in Quebec. On average, university students’ living costs are around CA$ 15,000 per year. Scholarships may be available to help cover some of these costs. International students’ cost of living in Canada is estimated to be around CA$ 10,000, though this varies depending on the city or neighborhood. Discounts may also be available for international students.

Applying to Universities in Canada

Applying to universities in Canada is an important part of the process for international students who want to study there. Filling out an online application form, sending in transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, and paying an application fee are the usual steps in the application process. Before beginning the application process, ensure you have all the necessary documents and information. It’s also important to check each university’s application deadline and requirements.

Tips for filling out the application form

When filling out the application form, provide accurate and complete information. Double-check the spelling and grammar of your answers, and be concise and to the point. Don’t forget to highlight the achievements and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the university. Also, make sure you know the specific requirements for each university, such as the minimum test scores and language skills needed.

Importance of submitting transcripts, recommendation letters, and test scores

It is important to send in transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores as part of the application process. Transcripts are a record of your academic history and achievements, while recommendation letters provide insight into your abilities and potential from someone who knows you well. Scores on tests like the SAT and TOEFL show how well you know English and how smart you are. To get into a university in Canada, you must send these documents on time and make sure they are correct. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by each university for submitting these documents.

Applying for a Study Permit

To study in Canada as an international student, you must first obtain a study permit. To be eligible for a study permit, you must be accepted into a designated learning institution in Canada, have sufficient financial support for your studies and living expenses, and meet health and security requirements. Additionally, you may need to pass a medical examination and provide police certificates.

Steps to apply for a study permit

The steps to apply for a study permit include the following:

  • Obtaining a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution.
  • Preparing your application.
  • Paying the application fee.
  • Submitting your application.

You can apply online or by mail, and you may also need to attend an interview. When you apply for a study permit from the Canadian government, make sure to follow the steps they give you.

The time frame for obtaining a study permit

The time it takes to get a study permit depends on where you are from and how long it takes for the Canadian visa office to process your application. It’s important to apply as soon as possible after being accepted into a university in Canada, as the process can take several months. Keep in mind that processing times are subject to change, and it’s a good idea to check the processing times regularly to know when you can expect your study permit to arrive.

Cost of Studying in Canada

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Tuition fees

One of the biggest expenses when studying in Canada as an international student is tuition fees. Depending on your school and program, tuition can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more per year. So, it’s important to find out how much tuition you’re considering at each school and add that cost to your overall budget.

Living expenses

In addition to tuition, you’ll need to set aside money for things like housing, food, transportation, and fun. On average, you can expect to spend around $12,000 to $15,000 per year on living expenses in Canada. Therefore, it’s important to research the cost of living in the city you’ll be living in and make a realistic budget based on your expenses.

Health insurance and other miscellaneous expenses

When studying in Canada as an international student, you’ll also need to budget for health insurance and other miscellaneous expenses. Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in Canada and can cost around $600 to $1,200 per year. Other miscellaneous expenses may include textbooks, study materials, travel, etc. Make sure to factor these costs into your overall budget when studying in Canada.

Accommodation in Canada

When studying in Canada, you can live on-campus or off-campus. On-campus housing is usually easier to get to because it is on or near the university grounds. It can also be cheaper. On the other hand, off-campus accommodation gives you more independence and privacy, but it can also be more expensive.

The cost of housing in Canada varies depending on the location and type of accommodation you choose. On-campus housing can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per month, while off-campus housing can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per month. Make sure to research the cost of housing in the city you’ll be living in and factor it into your budget.

Tips for finding the right accommodation

When looking for a place to stay in Canada, you should consider your budget, where you want to be, and how you like to live. Start your search early and research different housing options to find the one that’s right for you. Consider reaching out to current students or alumni for advice, and make sure to tour any potential housing options in person before making a decision.

Preparing for Arrival in Canada

You’ll need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) once you get to Canada if you want to work or get government benefits. To get a SIN, you’ll need to visit a Service Canada office and provide your passport, study permit, and other required documents.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account is another important thing to do before moving to Canada. Having a Canadian bank account will make it easier for you to manage your finances, pay bills, and access your money. There are many different banks in Canada to choose from, so make sure to research and compare your options before making a decision.

Registering for health insurance

As an international student in Canada, you’ll also need to register for health insurance. All international students in Canada must have health insurance, which helps pay for medical costs. Registration for health insurance will vary depending on the province you’re living in, so research the requirements and steps involved.

Arrival in Canada

Once you arrive in Canada, you’ll need to make your way to the university. Depending on where you’re coming from, this could involve taking a flight, a train, or a bus. Make sure to research the best transportation options and plan your arrival ahead of time to avoid any unnecessary stress.

Orientation programs for international students

Many universities in Canada offer orientation programs specifically for international students. These programs are a great way to learn more about the university, meet other students, and settle into your new environment. Make sure to attend any orientation events offered by the university and take advantage of the resources available to you.

Joining clubs and organizations on campus

Joining clubs and organizations on campus is a great way to get involved in campus life and make new friends. Many universities in Canada have a wide variety of clubs and organizations to choose from, so check out what’s available and find the ones that interest you. Participating in clubs and organizations can also help you build valuable skills and make the most of your time in Canada.

Studying in Canada

Studying in Canada can be challenging and rewarding, and balancing your academic and personal lives is important. This might mean setting aside time for studying, taking breaks, and engaging in activities you enjoy. Try to find a routine that works for you and stick to it as much as possible.

Making the most of the university resources

Universities in Canada provide many resources and help students do well in school and life. Please take advantage of these resources and seek help when needed. This might mean visiting the campus writing center for help with essays, attending workshops to improve your study skills, or meeting with your professors for extra support.

Tips for maintaining good grades

Maintaining good grades is important for ensuring your success as a student in Canada. Here are some tips to help you achieve this goal:

  • Stay organized: Keep track of your assignments, due dates, and exam schedules so that you don’t miss anything. Find out how to recover from a bad exam here.
  • Get involved in class: Participate in discussions, ask questions, and actively engage with the material to deepen your understanding of the subject matter.
  • Utilize your resources: Use the university library, tutoring services, and study groups to help you excel in your coursework.
  • Manage your time effectively: Prioritize your studies and allocate enough time for each task, but also make sure to take breaks and engage in activities you enjoy.

By following these tips, you will succeed in your academic pursuits while studying in Canada.

Can I work while studying in Canada as an international student?

Yes, international students are eligible to work while studying in Canada under certain conditions, such as holding a valid study permit and meeting the eligibility criteria set by the Canadian government. You can work up to 20 hours a week as an international student studying in Canada. In addition, various types of jobs are available for international students in Canada.

Types of jobs available to international students

International students in Canada can work on campus, off campus, or as part of a co-op or internship program. On-campus jobs include working as a research assistant, teaching assistant, or library assistant. Off-campus jobs include part-time work in retail, hospitality, or customer service. Co-op and internship programs allow students to work in their field of study and gain valuable work experience.

Navigating the job market in Canada

Navigating the job market in Canada as an international student can be challenging, but resources are available to help. Start by speaking to your university’s career center, which can help you develop a resume, cover letter, and interview skills. They can also provide information on job fairs and other opportunities for finding work. Online job boards, such as Indeed and LinkedIn, can also be useful for searching for job opportunities. Networking with classmates, professors, and alumni can also be a valuable way to learn about job opportunities. Finally, remember to always be professional and polite in your interactions, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Can I bring my family to Canada while studying?

Yes, international students in Canada can bring their family members, including their spouse or common-law partner and children, to Canada during their studies. To do so, your family members must apply for a study permit or visitor visa, depending on their purpose of visit.

A spouse or common-law partner must provide proof of their relationship with the international student and prove that they have enough financial resources to support themselves during their stay in Canada. In addition, children under 18 must provide a birth certificate or other proof of their relationship with their parents.

It is important to note that the study permit application process for family members can take longer than the student’s application process. Therefore, it is recommended to start the process early to avoid any delays. International students must also show that they have enough money to care for themselves and their families while in Canada.

Having your family with you while studying in Canada can provide emotional support and a sense of home, but it can also add additional financial expenses. Therefore, it is important to plan and budget accordingly to ensure that you and your family can comfortably stay in Canada.

Staying in Canada after Graduation

Many international students who have completed their studies in Canada choose to stay and work for some time. To do this, they must apply for a post-graduation work permit. This permit allows international students to work in Canada for up to three years after graduation. The eligibility criteria for a post-graduation work permit include the following:

  • Completing a program of study at a designated learning institution.
  • Holding a valid study permit.
  • Meeting other requirements.

Applying for Permanent Residence

After working in Canada for some time, some international students may decide to apply for permanent residency. To do this, they have to go through a number of steps, such as making sure they meet the requirements, filling out and sending in a full application, and going through a medical exam and security checks.

Job opportunities after graduation

Many job opportunities are available to international students who graduate from a Canadian university. Many employers want skilled workers who have worked in Canada before, and international students can use their education and work experience in Canada to find good jobs. Graduates can search for job opportunities through online job boards, professional associations, and networking events. Also, many colleges and universities have career centers to help students find jobs after graduation. It is important to start preparing for your job search well before graduation, as the competition for jobs can be competitive.


Studying in Canada as an international student can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Therefore, it is important to research, plan ahead, and prepare for the many challenges and opportunities that come with studying abroad.

Pursuing an education in Canada can be an excellent opportunity for international students to gain valuable knowledge and experience. With its high-quality universities, welcoming communities, and diverse culture, Canada provides a great environment for students to learn and grow. If you are considering studying in Canada as an international student, we encourage you to take the first step and make your dream a reality.

The ultimate scholarship sleuth and job-hunting Jedi. When I'm not scouring the internet for the next big opportunity, you can find me lost in a book or out exploring the world. Don't ask for a recommendation on what to read next unless you want to be buried under a mountain of books.

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