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Ten reasons to study in Canada

Posted: 8th April 2020 12:18

Canada is growing in popularity amongst students all over the world as a place to study. In 2016/17 international students made up 12% of all Canadian university enrolments1, and this figure looks set to grow. The country’s education system offers a wide range of course types, from three to eight month certificates to full bachelor’s degrees. Not only is the quality of life there excellent, with its universal health care and low crime rates, but the average graduate salary in Canada is a substantially higher than most at $31,000 (around £24,300). Canada is a beautiful country full of natural wonders, and Ontario’s capital city Toronto has been named the fourth most attractive city in the world. In this article, Rebecca Moody identifies her top 10 reasons for choosing Canada.

1. Study at a top-ranking university

Canada is home to some of the highest ranking universities in the world. Many Canadian universities divide their academic year into three semesters rather than two. There are also more courses per semester than in the UK, with each course having around three hours of contact/classroom time a week. Most undergraduate degrees in Canada are three to four years long but you don’t have to spend the entire duration of your degree abroad if you don’t want to. Some students simply opt for a year abroad or even just a semester.

2. Different teaching style

The teaching style in Canada is more classroom-based than the UK’s typical lecture-orientated approach. This encourages students to participate in discussion and put forward their own ideas and questions. It also provides international students with the perfect opportunity to make connections with other students, which is beneficial when moving to a new city or country as an easy way to make friends who share similar interests to you. Canadian universities also offer more freedom for students to schedule their own timetables, choose their own classes and be in charge of their own assignments.

3. Low fees

Although tuition fees in Canada depend on the institution and subject of study, undergraduate courses cost an average $15,000 (around £11,630) per year for international students. This is significantly cheaper than the $26,000 (£20,160) per year for international students studying in the United States and also less than the £17,700 average for those arriving in the UK. Similarly, it is only fractionally more than the £9,250 per year that UK students opting for a local university would pay. That £2,380 seems like a bargain when choosing between Teesside and Toronto! Another plus point is that living costs are generally cheaper in Canada, with Toronto being 21% cheaper than London. 3

4. Environment

Canada is a stunning country that holds a variety of breathtaking natural wonders, from the staggering views at Banff National Park in Alberta to Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, which is a prime spot for viewing the Northern Lights in winter. Only a four hour drive or 30 minute flight away from the University of British Columbia is Cathedral Grove, the remains of a Douglas-fir ecosystem on Vancouver Island, with trees standing up to 75m tall. For Ontario-based students on a budget there are also Megabus services to Niagara Falls from Waterloo and Toronto.

5. Sports

Canada is of course famous for its official winter sport, ice hockey, with the first organised game being played in Montreal back in 1875. The country’s cold climate even means that it’s possible for ice hockey to be played outdoors, which will give international students a truly authentic Canadian experience. Rowing is also very popular amongst Canadian universities, with student rowers getting the chance to compete in the Canadian University Rowing Championship each year. Many universities in Canada have student-led ski and snowboarding clubs that meet regularly and run yearly ski trips to resorts across the country. And with nearly 300 ski resorts in Canada, there is sure to be one within a reasonable distance from your chosen university.

6. Safety

Canada’s crime rates are low in comparison to the UK and United States. Canada has a lower homicide, rape, burglary and gun crime rate than the U.S.4 In comparison to the UK, Canada only has 80.25 crimes per capita, compared to the UK’s 109.96.5 Canada is also more progressive in terms of their drug law, with the country legalising Cannabis in 2018.

7. Technologically advancements

Over the decades, Canada has often been seen at the forefront of technological advancement. From the invention of the Walkie-Talkie in 1937 to the formation of the IMAX Corporation in Montreal in 1967, Canada is a leader of technological innovation. This willingness to embrace technological advances is highly beneficial to students in Canada, because they have the opportunity to play their part. One example of this innovation is Ontario’s role as a leading player in the development of the autonomous vehicle industry, with Ontario Tech University leading the way, designing an autonomous bus for use on campus.

8. Universal healthcare

Similar to the UK, Canada has a universal health care system for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, which is funded through taxes. As an international student, you are unlikely to get access to this healthcare system for free. All international students are required to obtain appropriate health insurance; however, some Canadian provinces do actually provide healthcare coverage for international students. It is important that you weigh up the healthcare insurance options for your chosen Canadian province. While not all provinces offer free healthcare for international students, others do offer university opt-in insurance plans at a cheaper price than private health insurance.

9. Bilingual country

Canada is both an English and French speaking country. This means that English speakers need not worry about a language barrier causing any extra anxiety or confusion during their time studying abroad, because the majority of people they encounter in Canada will speak English. However, Canada also provides the perfect opportunity for language enthusiasts to practice their French without being thrown in at the deep end. Most Canadian universities provide the option to learn some French within your studies, whether that be through taking on a full module or just an informal class.

10. Further work opportunities

After completing your studies you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), which will enable you to stay in Canada to work for up to three years, depending on the length of your course. This is a fantastic opportunity for young graduates because Canada’s population is almost 10 times smaller than the USA’s (around 37,700,000 compared to the USA’s 330,000,000) and just over half of the UK’s (66,000,000). This means that there will be a smaller amount of competition for graduate jobs and a higher chance of progressing straight into skilled work.

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