People often overlooked studying in Canada as an option for international students searching for the right university setting in the past. Many international families just wanted their children to study “back home”, either in the USA or UK. Today more and more students in Switzerland and other countries are looking at Canada as a viable possibility for various reasons. You may be attracted to the North American style of learning. Perhaps the access to beautiful natural settings. The diverse and friendly population or the lower cost of living when comparing Canada to Europe.
With ten provinces and three territories, Canada is the world’s second-largest country by area (and only the 37th largest population). In other words, there is plenty of room for international students looking for a bit of space for their big ideas! Although there is a national association called the AUCC (Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada) for higher education, setting standards and linking Canadian universities nationwide, the provinces govern higher education individually. There is no federal ministry of education in Canada.
International students in Canada
In Canada, the international student population has increased a great deal (more than 60%) in the past decade. As a general rule, international students are welcome. Canadians value diversity and how it can contribute to the overall educational experience on university campuses. International students usually pay higher tuition than local students as well, which the universities also appreciate. Tuition fees are approaching those in the USA and the UK; however, international students have some opportunities to win scholarships to study in Canada.
Scholarships for international students to study in Canada
Humber College (a polytechnic) and York University (Canada’s 3rd largest university) in Toronto, Ontario, offer the possibility of full scholarships for talented international students. In addition, places like Concordia University in Montréal, Quebec and Vancouver Island University in British Columbia offer a variety of scholarships for non-Canadians. If you are interested in financial support at any Canadian university, communicate with the admissions office before applying to make sure you are eligible. Universities offering scholarships for international students in Canada usually only do so for academic merit.
Do you need to speak French to study in Canada?
Expect to face language ability evaluations in French or English, depending on where you apply. Universities in Canada make sure that their international students can participate fully and succeed in their academic courses, and this begins with the ability to read, write, think and speak in the language of instruction. Language requirements vary from university to university, so be careful to follow application instructions.
Student visas to study in Canada
As with studies in any country, if you do not hold a Canadian passport, you will have to obtain a student visa to attend university there – a letter of acceptance does not stand on its own. This is something to keep in mind when applying. In recent years, there have been delays due to strikes among the Canadian foreign services, which can slow the student visa process down.
University choice in Canada
McGill University and the University of Toronto lead the pack in terms of global rankings. They usually place in the top 30 universities worldwide. However, it is worth taking the time to look into the offerings at other universities as well. The good news is that there are only about one hundred universities in Canada. This means you actually can get an idea of where you might fit in.
Applying to University to study in Canada
According to Canadian guidance counsellor Heather Grant, based in Toronto, students applying from Europe will encounter very few roadblocks when it comes to the different high school diplomas available. Most Canadian admissions officers are familiar with the IB Diploma, A-Levels, the Swiss Maturité, and the French Baccalaureate. Some Canadian universities even offer advanced university credit for successful AP exam results. However, as in the US, each Canadian university will have its own admissions standards and policies regarding academic results.
Classroom Technology in Canada
Canadian students learn in computer labs and smart classrooms and benefit from widespread connectivity. The universities maintain a high standard when it comes to technology. This prepares students for a rapidly changing work environment upon graduation.
Canada is great for international students
In 1971, Canada embraced the value of multiculturalism through official government policy – and that decision has had excellent results. At the beginning of this century, Canada’s population consisted of over 34 well-represented ethnic groups. Around 20% of the population has neither English nor French as their first language. As an international student with high school experience, you will feel comfortable being yourself in Canada! If you decide to gain some work experience in Canada upon graduation, you can benefit from an immigration policy that recognises your university studies as valuable.
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