Over the past decade, Canada has seen a surge in international applications. If all you know about this North American country is maple leaves, hockey, and poutine, read on to learn why Canada is a top place to study.
A flexible, high-quality education system
Canadian universities are among the best in the world. They currently have 32 universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and three in the top 50.
From a student perspective, this quality also comes with flexibility. Students are encouraged to explore and take a range of classes before declaring a major, so you can try new things and work out what you like before committing yourself.
Canada is famous for its natural beauty. And because it’s such a huge country, you can find whatever you’re looking for when it comes to the great outdoors, from sprawling prairies to dramatic mountain ranges, majestic lakes to glorious forests. And with skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, rafting, or even just wandering around in nature, whatever your preferred outdoor sport is, there will be a place in Canada for you.
Plus, you’ll get the full range of seasonal variation: lovely snow in winter, dramatic changing leaves in autumn, blossoming springs, and warm summers.
Vibrant culture and cities
In 2018, Canada was ranked first in the world for its attitude towards personal freedom and social tolerance. It’s known across the world for its progressive and friendly culture. Plus, there’s the fascinating interplay between French and English culture across the country, with the two official languages leading to a huge variety of customs and culture across the different provinces.
For example, what do you think of ringing in the new year by diving into a frozen lake? This is called a ‘polar bear dip,’ and is a well-loved New Year’s tradition in Canada! Or maybe you’ll find yourself in Newfoundland, where you can only become a true local if you kiss a real, actual cod fish.
Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary are consistently ranked amongst the most liveable cities in the world in terms of their infrastructure and culture, and university can be a fantastic chance to experience one of them as a student.
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll find yourself in the hockey capital of the world, with the opportunity to watch some of the best players and immerse yourself in an entirely new sporting culture.
No language barrier
It isn’t essential to be fluent in both English and French to study in Canada. Quebec, New Brunswick, and several communities throughout the country have a high proportion of French speakers - and in some cases, are primarily French-speaking - but you will be able to navigate your way around most provinces in English. It can, however, be a great chance to practise your language skills through immersion if you’re in one of the primarily Francophone (that is, French-speaking) provinces, or to take advantage of living in a dual-language culture as a chance to pick up some French for the first time.
Get work experience
Canada offers an extremely convenient work program for international students looking to remain in the country after they finish their degree. If you graduate from a qualifying institution, you can get a Post-Graduate Work Permit that’s good for up to three years! This makes Canada one of the easiest countries to remain in temporarily as a graduate, giving you plenty of time to build up your CV and make the connections that will allow you to remain in the country permanently if you wish - or to return home with several years of fantastic international work experience under your belt.