What to Know Before You Study in Canada

Want to study abroad in Canada?

You will find an excellent post-secondary education system with both publicly and privately funded institutions. Canadian institutions are not officially ranked. However, you will find that the local government holds the universities to high standards.

Higher Education in Canada

You can pick from nearly 200 universities and colleges in Canada. Choosing where to study abroad will depend on what you want to study and where you want to live. The provincial government (not the federal government) is in charge of the institutions in that province. This means that the local government runs the education system.

Costs, fees and regulations vary from province to province. A determining factor of what a student can expect is based primarily on the location of the school.

How to Apply to Study Abroad in Canada

Each university and college has its own rules on how and when to apply in accord with the provincial or territorial government. You should apply a year before you want to start studies. The application will tell you about tuition fees, health insurance, cost of living in that particular area of Canada and what language tests are required.

Canada: A Bilingual Country

Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages: English and French. The province of Québec has the largest French-speaking population in Canada. For the most part, the rest of Canada speaks English. This must be considered when applying to study abroad in Canada because admittance to most programs depends on language proficiency.

Tuition in Canada

Tuition in Canada varies by province. Undergraduates pay an average of around US $5,200 across Canada. Certain provinces, such as Labrador and Quebec, have significantly lower tuition fees, which hover closer to $2,000. Undergraduate medical programs have significantly higher tuition fees. Graduate program fees range from $2,250 to $7,500, depending on the province.

Health Insurance in Canadian Schools

The Canadian government does not pay the health costs of students studying abroad in Canada. Contact your prospective school for information about health insurance and medical coverage. Coverage varies between the provinces and territories.

Permits to Study Abroad in Canada

Canada welcomes more than 130,000 visiting students each year. In most cases you will need a study permit to study abroad in Canada. To obtain a study permit, you will need to prove that you are accepted by a Canadian school, you can afford all costs, you are a law-abiding citizen, you are in good health and you will leave Canada after completing your program. Students should apply for the permit immediately after being accepted.

If you are studying for six months or less, you may not need a study permit, but you must meet all other non-immigrant visa requirements. Even so, the Canadian government advises all people who will study abroad in Canada to apply for a permit before coming to the country. Times vary on issuing permits. In some cases, an interview might be requested.

If you are from the US, studying abroad in Canada can be a great opportunity to experience another country, explore a new city and maybe even learn another language without going too far from home.