10 things you need to know about studying in Canada

Pearson Languages
A group of Young adult students in a library, looking in front of them smiling, some with their hands raised

Have you considered studying abroad? Moving to Canada to study? With more than 100 world-class universities across the country, there’s good reason to. From coast to coast to coast, it offers many international students a safe and supportive learning environment and the opportunity to work after graduation.

Want to learn more? In this guide, we cover ten things you should know about studying in Canada:


things you need to know about studying in Canada

1. Canada is incredibly diverse

More than one in five Canadians were born outside the country – making Canada one of the most multicultural places in the world. According to past census records, nearly half of the people born outside Canada are from Asia, about 28% of the people are from Europe, and 8.5% are from Africa. Even more, 37.5% of children in Canada were either born abroad or have a foreign-born parent.

A large number of students at Canadian universities and colleges also come from abroad – which is a big draw for many international students. In fact, international students are driving university enrolment across Canada!

2. The country has two official languages

Canada has two official languages: English and French. The English-speaking part of the population is called anglophone, while the French-speaking part of the population is called francophone. About 23% of people in Canada have French as their first language, and the majority of them live in the province of Quebec. There are also more than 100 French-speaking universities and colleges across Canada.

It’s important to note that federal government institutions are all bilingual. This means you can submit your student visa documents in either English or French. When you enter Canada at the border, you’ll also notice the officer will greet you by saying “bonjour, hello” (or vice versa)

In addition to English and French, there are also 70 indigenous languages spoken in Canada.

3. Tuition costs can be more reasonable

International student tuition fees in Canada are usually lower than in places like the US and UK. However, they are still a big expense. According to the government website EduCanada, tuition ranges between $1,800 CAD – $20,000 CAD per year for an undergraduate university degree. Colleges are sometimes less expensive; however, tuition can still reach $18,000 CAD per year.

4. There are scholarships available

Good news: there are lots of scholarships for international students in Canada. Many scholarships, called entrance scholarships, are offered to students by institutions upon acceptance based on academic performance. So, you don’t have to apply for them.

Others are offered by the government. For example, if you’re studying in the province of Ontario, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program offers masters and doctoral students up to $15,000. To learn more about scholarships and awards for international students, EduCanada is a good resource.

5. Institutions provide lots of support

Universities and colleges in Canada want their international students to succeed. Your institution will have an international student office that should provide services like visa and health insurance support, upskilling workshops, and advice on how to adjust to life in Canada. There will also be campus-wide support services. These include:

  • mentorship programs 
  • mental health services 
  • academic accommodations 
  • language workshops
  • housing support
  • employment support.

6. On-campus housing is a community hub

The majority of institutions in Canada offer on-campus housing. Sometimes, student residences are reserved for first-year students. But many universities and colleges will also offer on-campus housing to students coming from abroad.

Residences can consist of dorm rooms, private studio apartments or shared houses, and often come with a meal plan. Living on campus is a great way to meet new people from around the world and make lifelong friends – and for many students, residences become a real community hub.

But, you can still have a student housing experience off-campus. In most cities, student housing options aren’t affiliated with any particular institutions, but still offer a similar experience with the same amenities – things like cafeterias, study spaces, and entertainment areas.

7. You might be able to work while you study

As an international student in Canada, you can only work if you’re enrolled full-time at a designated learning institution (DLI). If so, you’ll be able to work for 20 hours per week off-campus, and full-time during scheduled semester breaks. Your study permit should have your work conditions printed on it.

However before you begin work, you’ll need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This is free and only takes a few minutes to do online.

How much you make will depend on where you live. The minimum wage in Canada varies by province and territory. So checking this is a good idea to ensure you can budget your living expenses appropriately if you plan to work in Canada.

8. Travel can be expensive – but there are some cheaper options

Did you know Canada is the second-largest country in the world? It has a landmass of 9.1 million square kilometers! This is one reason traveling in Canada is expensive. There are also high airport taxes and a lack of competition in the aviation industry, so flying can be particularly pricey. For example, a 1-hour flight between Toronto and Montreal can cost up to $300 CAD.

However, if you want to explore the country – and travel is deemed safe by government authorities this year to do so – there are some cheaper ways to see Canada. For example, the country’s train service VIA Rail offers discounts to students and riders under 25. Alternatively, Megabus is a discount bus service that offers routes throughout Canada and the U.S.

9. Canada offers post-study visas

Want to settle in Canada after you graduate? You’re not alone. Three in 10 international students who came to Canada after 2000 have become permanent residents.

Canada offers a few ways for students to work in the country after graduation. For example, if you are eligible, the post-graduation work permit could allow you to stay in Canada for up to three years after studying. You could also apply for a work permit through an employer.

10. Canadians value a global perspective

Having international experience in Canada is viewed as a big advantage. Nearly every university in the country offers their students the opportunity to study or work abroad. Better yet, 80% of employers that hire people with international and intercultural experience say it makes their business better.

Most students must take an English language proficiency test to meet the requirements to study in Canada. PTE Academic is accepted by more than 200 Canadian institutions – and is the best choice to help you get accepted.

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    Studying at a UK university can be an amazing experience, but it comes with financial obligations. If you're thinking about studying abroad, it's essential to thoroughly research the cost of living in the UK and create a budget that works for you.

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    Consider all costs

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    Recurring expenses

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    Unplanned expenses

    As an international student in the UK, you may face various living expenses that can vary based on your individual circumstances.

    For example, If you often travel on weekends or spend a lot of time going out with your friends, it's best to overestimate those expenses.

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    Researching the cost of living in your area

    If you're planning to study in the UK, keep in mind that the cost of living will depend on your location. Living in a big city versus a small town can result in significantly different accommodation costs.

    For instance, the average one-bedroom rental can range from £1100 in a smaller city like Oxford to £1,695 in metropolitan London.

    If walking isn't an option for you, then you should consider budgeting for transportation. In Glasgow, a monthly pass for public transportation costs £63, while in Manchester, it will cost you £74.

    If you're someone who likes to stay active and exercise, you may also need to account for workout costs. Even with student discounts, joining the university gym in Cambridge will cost students about £35 per month, compared to £22 at the on-campus facilities in Leeds.

    Where to find local information

    Before deciding where to study, it's important to research the cost of living in different cities and regions to ensure it fits within your budget due to the variation in costs.

    Do you know any international students who have studied at the university you plan to attend? Or is there a student organization you can contact for information?

    Reaching out to current students can provide insight into their daily expenses and they might even offer great tips on where to find good deals or places to avoid.

    The cost of student housing varies based on the type of accommodation you prefer. Are you interested in living on campus, renting your own place, or sharing with fellow students off campus? Most schools provide comprehensive details about housing options, including contact information for potential roommates, landlords, or homestay families.

    Handy tip:

    To help with budgeting as a student in the UK, you can use a budget calculator like the one provided by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS).

    The calculator also offers the convenience of selecting your school from a list for accurate local costs.

    Part-time UK jobs for international students

    With all these expenses, a bit of extra income would be helpful for any student. One possible way to supplement your finances during your studies is through tutoring. You can consider tutoring children or your fellow students at the university. It's important to note that international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the school year while on a student visa.

    Your university's career center can assist you in finding part-time work opportunities, especially if you are looking to gain experience in your field of study. Maybe you're looking to work in a pub or restaurant to improve your English skills and experience the local culture.

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    An example of a student budget

    Although it may seem overwhelming, estimating your cost of living only requires a few calculations. Simply add up your fixed and variable expenses, as you would if you were living in your home country.

    As a helpful reference, we have provided an example of a monthly budget for a student living in Nottingham. The budget is calculated using average spending data obtained from a UK student budget calculator.



    Rental apartment


    Transportation (monthly pass with student discount)


    Utility bills (electricity, gas, water, etc)


    Gym membership (university gym)


    Phone and internet


    Grocery shopping


    Bank fees


    Clothes and personal items


    Takeaway and eating out




    It's common to come across discounts for students, like deals on food at campus eateries, special phone plans, or lower prices at certain shops and restaurants.

    Don't miss out on these opportunities and make sure to ask about them. Keep in mind that this budget doesn't cover expenses for shopping or hobbies, so take those into account based on your individual situation.

    If you're able to work while studying abroad, it can help ease some of the financial strain.

    There are lots of resources online regarding financing and budgeting whilst abroad so make sure to do your research and check them out.