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How to study in Canada as an international student

Do you want to study in Canada as an international student? We look at why Canada is a great place to live, the best universities, and how to check into Canada

With nearly 100 universities in Canada, it’s no surprise that so many students want to study here. Canada is an excellent choice for students who want to study abroad.

If you are an international student looking to study in Canada, there are several options available to you. We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of being an international student in Canada as an education expert.

Read More: Investing in Your Child’s Education: Here’s How

Why study in Canada?

Canada is a fantastic place to live. It is ranked first in quality of life by US News. This is due to high indicators of economic stability, political stability, safety, a strong labor market, a well-developed public education system, and a well-developed public health system.

The Canadian government is working hard to maintain the country’s high standard of living by focusing on climate change mitigation and preserving natural ecosystems.

With the world’s ninth-largest economy, there’s no surprise that Canada boasts a highly-ranked job market into which students to graduate. Some of the highest-paying jobs in Canada are in rapidly expanding industries across the country, such as:

If you want to study in Canada and take advantage of its thriving economy and high quality of life, you should first learn about its history.

While indigenous peoples have been present in Canada since time immemorial, the Dominion of Canada was founded on July 1, 1867. It is divided into ten provinces and three territories, each with its own government and legislative assembly. Canada, with its diverse population, has two official languages: English and French.

The educational system in Canada varies by province. One thing all provinces have in common is a commitment to funding public education. More than 90% of Canadian school-aged children attend publicly funded schools.

More than half of Canadians have a postsecondary education. Universities in Canada are funded through a combination of public funds, tuition fees, donations, and other sources.

Scholarships are funded by both the federal and provincial governments of Canada to help students pay for their education. Several other educational funding opportunities are also available in Canada, some for Canadian students and others for international students.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of Canada’s 13 provinces’ public education systems.

Canadian provinces


Public universities and colleges in Ontario are not free, but they are frequently subsidized to make them more affordable to students. The University of Toronto, one of the world’s top universities, is located in Ontario. In Ontario, there are 22 universities and 24 colleges. Ontario is a bilingual province that speaks both French and English.


Quebec is primarily a French-speaking province, with some English-language schools. Quebec has 18 universities, all of which offer courses and programs in French, with a few offering courses in English as well. McGill University is located in Montreal, Quebec, and is consistently ranked high in world university rankings.

British Columbia (BC)

BC is primarily an English-speaking province, with some Francophone schools. British Columbia has 14 public universities and 11 colleges, many of which have excellent reputations as world-class institutions.


Alberta’s education system is world-renowned, with eight public universities and eleven public colleges. It is mostly an English-speaking province.


Manitoba is a bilingual province that speaks both English and French. Manitoba has eight public universities and five public colleges, some of which offer entirely in French.


Saskatchewan has two public universities as well as a number of federated and affiliated colleges. Saskatchewan also recognizes three Indigenous and northern educational institutions, including the First Nations University of Canada. This province’s primary language is English.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is primarily an English-speaking province, but French is required in primary school. Nova Scotia has ten universities in addition to the Nova Scotia Community College, which has several campuses throughout the province.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province. New Brunswick has eight chartered universities, four public universities, and five colleges, the majority of which offer bilingual programs in the province’s two official languages.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador are available in both French and English. This province is home to the most affordable university in Canada, Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as the College of the North Atlantic.

Prince Edward Island (PEI)

The public school system on Prince Edward Island is divided into two districts, one English and one French. The province of Prince Edward Island has one public university and two community colleges.


In addition, the three Canadian territories have their own school districts and one public university, and two colleges. The territories’ school districts emphasize Indigenous learning and languages, as well as French and English.

Best universities in Canada for international students

It’s no surprise that international students make up nearly 20% of students enrolled in formal programs in Canada. In addition to having a lower cost of living than countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, Canada’s student visa allows you to work in most cases, either on or off campus. The best universities in Canada for international students, according to US News rankings, are:

University of Toronto: The University of Toronto offers over 980 programs and a well-funded research program. International students make up more than 20% of the student body.
University of British Columbia: Located in Vancouver, the University of British Columbia is a research powerhouse and a highly prestigious university. UBC has the most international campus community in North America.
McGill University: Located in Montreal, McGill University is well-known for its excellent programs in both the arts and sciences. Almost one-third of McGill University’s students come from one of 150 different countries.McMaster University, located in Hamilton, is ranked 80th in the world and fourth in Canada. McMaster has 15% international students from 120 countries.
University of Alberta: The University of Alberta has nearly 40,000 students on five campuses, including over 7,200 international students.
The University of Montreal, founded in 1878, is a French-speaking university that welcomes approximately 10,000 international students each year.
University of Calgary: While the University of Calgary is ranked #169 in the world, it is ranked #7 in Canada, with over 7,000 international students enrolled each year.
The University of Ottawa is a bilingual public institution that welcomes over 7,500 international students each year.

How to study in Canada

If you want to go to university in Canada, the best place to start is by figuring out what you want to study. Looking at Canada’s fastest-growing industries is a good place to start. Your current interests and areas of study in which you excel are also important considerations. What are the most in-demand skills in Canada?

Which skills are in demand in Canada?

FutureLearn has identified and developed courses to help you learn some of the most in-demand skills to study in Canada right now, such as:

Hard abilities:
Software creation
Business administration
Engineering project management
IT/digital skills
Customer service abilities
Soft abilities:
Communication \sProblem-solving
FutureLearn offers a variety of course styles to help you learn a new skill at your own pace and style. See where else Canadians are upskilling by looking at the most popular online courses in Canada.

Entry requirements for study in Canada

After you’ve decided on a field of study, you’ll need to meet the admissions requirements for Canadian universities. Common entry requirements for international students at Canadian universities include:

A high school average of 70% or higher (85% or higher for more prestigious institutions)
An essay and a personal statement about why you want to study in Canada.
If English is not your native language, please provide TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) reference letters.
Certain programs may also require proof of fluency in French.

Applying for a student visa in Canada

After you’ve been excepted to a university in Canada, you’ll need to acquire a Canada student visa. When applying for a student visa to Canada, the following documents are required: A valid passport is required.
Acceptance letter from a Canadian university
Proof of funds in the amount of at least CAD 10,000 for each year of study
Photographs the size of a passport
Medical Examination for Immigration (IME)
If necessary, a TOEFL or IELTS score
Statement of intent
A CAD 150 application fee is required.

How to prepare to study in Canada

You’ll need to learn how to study effectively, manage your time, and think critically about your course material as an international student in Canada.FutureLearn is committed to your educational success, both while you are applying to study in Canada and once you are enrolled as an international student in Canada. Check out the FutureLearn courses listed below to best prepare for your studies. The University of Reading’s Guide to University Admission
Learn about dentistry at the University of Sheffield.
Introduction to Legal Studies from the University of Law
The British Council developed IELTS Preparation.
University Next Steps: From Course Selection to Your First Assessment at the University of York
King’s College London teaches French for Global Communication.
The European University Institute’s Cultural Diplomacy
Prepare for University Success with the University of Hull
Finding and Reading the University of Birmingham Research
Coventry University’s Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Final thoughts

With a thriving economy and high standard of living, studying in Canada is an excellent opportunity for international students. Online learning is also available right now.

FutureLearn offers a wide range of courses to both prepare you for university and to earn credits towards a degree. So, whether you’re just beginning to consider studying in Canada as an international student or you’re ready to apply to a Canadian university, FutureLearn has options for you.



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