Study in Canada 2021
Apply to study in Canada as an international student, extend your study permit and find out about working while you study or after you graduate.
Prepare to study in Canada
Where and what to study, how to apply for schools and the list of schools that can receive students in Canada.
On this page:
- Choosing a program and school
- Designated learning institutions
- How to apply to a school, college or university
A quality education in Canada
When you choose to study in Canada as an international student, you’re making the right choice for the future. After all, a Canadian education is an investment in you or your children. Canada is recognized worldwide for our high academic standards – from elementary to secondary, colleges, universities and beyond.Our rigorous quality assurance at every level of the education system ensures that you’ll earn a world-class education. Find out the benefits of studying in Canada as an international student.
Explore Canada’s elementary school system, which provides a stimulating educational environment for children from kindergarten to grade 8.
Canada’s excellent secondary schools, or high schools, offer opportunities to grow, learn and develop skills for the future. Find out about the range of options available.
Canada is a bilingual country, with French and English as our official languages. We are also a world leader in language training. Come study with us!
For practical, career-focused learning, our colleges and vocational schools will set you on the road to success. Find your college program and start planning your studies in Canada.
Canada has some of the top universities in the world and is a leader in research that changes lives. Explore your post-secondary study options with us.
Start here to discover the range of graduate study options available across Canada, including master’s and doctoral programs.
Earn a professional certification or designation in your field of work – and open the door to career opportunities in Canada, your home country and beyond.
Come to Canada to attend secondary school, college or university through an exchange program. It’s the perfect way to get to know us.
Canada is a leader in online learning and distance education. Study from home and get the full benefit of a high-quality Canadian education.
Prepare now, for the education journey of a lifetime.Do you dream of studying at an internationally recognized school, but don’t know where to start? Canada offers you endless possibilities to make your dream a reality.Whether you choose to study with us online, in person or a combination of both, EduCanada is the source for everything you need to know about Canada’s education system.
Top 5 steps to study in Canada
Every journey begins with some preparation.
Hear from Canadian institutions
Each year, Canada welcomes international students from all over the world! Why do they choose Canada?Read stories shared by students and teachers.
Find a scholarship
Looking for ways to support your studies, conduct research or advance your professional development?Find out whether you are eligible for a Canadian scholarship.
Work while studying
Did you know that international students can work up to 20 hours per week while studying?Learn about the Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP).
Follow us on social media
Follow us on social media for regular updates on Canada’s education system, events, scholarships, stories and so much more!
Prepare your budget to study in Canada
As an international student in Canada, it’s a good idea to establish a budget to plan for the cost of living and studying abroad. You’ll need to consider the study costs for international students in Canada from elementary to university, including tuition fees at your school of choice.Our Search colleges and universities tool will lead you to information about college and university programs. You can search for programs at institutions across Canada and compare the cost of tuition. The tool provides cost of living estimates to guide you.
Living expenses in Canada
After you figure out the cost of going to school, it’s important to plan for the other expenses associated with living in Canada.
Your student budget
There’s more to your study costs than tuition. Don’t forget to set aside money for:BooksComputerHousingFoodFunClothingTravelTransportationHealth insuranceTravel insurance
Housing and accommodations
What type of housing will you live in as a student in Canada? Living in a residence on campus is something you can do at most Canadian universities. It’s a great way to make friends quickly, and it’s an appealing option when you are a first-year student. Many Canadian students also choose to live in residence their first year. One of them could be your roommate.
Other great reasons to live in residence:Residence offers a safe way to settle into post-secondary studies in Canada.It can be affordable since the cost of residence also includes food from the cafeteria.Your university’s website will outline the cost of living in residence.
If you are attending a college or language school, it’s less likely there will be a residence on campus. In that case, you’ll have to search for off-campus housing. Living off campus might involve getting your own apartment or sharing one with friends.How much should you plan to spend on your accommodations? It depends on the city and your living arrangements. We generally recommend setting aside 25% of your study in Canada budget for housing.
Food and groceries
When it comes to food, Canada offers variety. As a multicultural nation, Canada offers all the foods you love, so you can easily feel at home. Our large cities are home to people from all around the world. They offer everything from small specialty food stores to grocery stores with huge selections of international foods.If you live on campus at your college or university, you can register for the meal plan, which gives you access to your college or university cafeteria for all your meals.
If you live off campus, you will likely do your own cooking or share cooking duties with friends.Build the cost of food and groceries into your study budget. You can easily investigate the costs online by looking at Canada’s major national grocery store chains. Shop around for the best prices. You can even download apps that will allow you to compare costs from store to store or find the best deals on food.If you like to treat yourself to restaurant meals from time to time, plan to build those into your study budget.
Canada has no national healthcare plan. Instead, each province and territory provides universal health care to its citizens. This coverage is free and applies to all Canadian citizens. It includes the cost of doctors and hospitals, but not the cost for dentists, physiotherapists and other health providers.As an international student, you need to determine whether your province or territory extends health insurance to you. In provinces where there is no coverage for international students, your school will have medical insurance plans for purchase.
Travel health insurance
Travel health insurance is different from basic health insurance. It will be useful if your time in Canada is short (less than one year) and you expect to live in different parts of Canada. This may apply to students planning to attend:High school for only 9 or 10 monthsLanguage school for 12 or 20 weeksA summer camp language schoolA co-op program or internshipTravel agents and the school where you are enrolled can provide details on travel health insurance.
It’s important to take time to relax. Be sure to include your “fun time” expenses in your budget. You may enjoy going to clubs to dance or seeing the latest movies at the cinema. Who knows? You may quickly become a hockey fan and want to attend games. Or your favourite entertainment may involve buying an X-box or PlayStation, so you can play video games.How much money do you think you’ll spend on entertainment each month? You might want to include things like yoga classes or restaurant meals with friends when you plan your budget.
Set aside some money to cover your clothing budget in Canada. There are countless shopping options—from factory outlets where you can find great deals to shopping centres, boutiques, big box stores and more. Thrift stores and second-hand clothing stores are also very popular. They sell used clothing and shoes including winter coats and boots that will keep you warm without costing a lot of money.Your clothing budget will depend on how much you like to shop and how much you feel you’ll need to buy for your time in Canada.
When you come to Canada, you will want to get around to see and experience life in your new country. Plan for your transportation costs by estimating how much money you’ll need for:Public transit, like buses and subwaysBus or train tickets if you want to explore other cities in CanadaPlane tickets home to visit your familyYou may want to get a local bus or subway pass to see and experience your new city or town. If you are a college or university student, check with your school to see if the cost of a transit pass is included in your tuition fees. You’ll find that many cities with public transit also offer special student rates.
Some international students choose to buy a car when they come to Canada. If this is something you want to do, plan for the cost of your car, automobile insurance, gasoline and parking in your budget. Canadian cities and towns often feature beautiful bike paths in recreational areas and bike lanes on busy streets. This makes owning a bike a great and economical option to experience the city around you. For elementary and high school students, school boards generally provide school buses to take elementary school students to and from school each day. In some cities, high school students use public transit to get to school.
When you make friends who are Canadian students, they may invite you to spend Thanksgiving or other holidays with their family. This could involve travel by bus or train.At other times of the year, when you need a little getaway from your studies, why not experience the rest of Canada? Consider your travel plans when you budget for your studies. If you’re looking for inspiration, explore the Government of Canada’s travel website, Destination Canada.The most important travel you will do while studying in Canada may be to your home country. How much does that cost? Make sure to include this in your yearly budget.
Discounts for international students in Canada
Do you love a great deal or a discount? As an international student in Canada, you’ll find them all around. Stores, restaurants, public transit, airlines, trains and others offer reduced prices for students. To access these student discounts, you will need a valid student identification card. We also recommend getting the International Student Identification Card for additional benefits. Why not make the most of your study in Canada adventure?
- Study costs for international students in Canada
- Find programs and costsStudent life in Canada
- Find scholarships to study in Canada
- Study in Canada: Pre-departure guide
Search college and university programs in Canada
Step 1 of 5Canada’s college and university options are as vast and plentiful as our wide-open spaces. Start your search here so you can start planning your higher education studies in Canada.Our search tool will help you find college and university courses, programs and institutions across Canada, along with the costs for tuition. You can search by subject or category, language and province. You may also search by degree, diploma or certificate.
Information about post-secondary institutions’ programs and education costs presented by the EduCanada search tool are drawn from Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Canadian Post-Secondary Institution Collection (CPIC) database. This information, including tuition fees, is updated by ESDC on a yearly basis and is subject to change.International students: Confirm details regarding programs of study and tuition fees with your institution of interest.Canadian institutions: Contact ESDC to update your institution’s information.
Study costs for international students in Canada
How much does it cost to study in Canada? The good news is that studying in Canada is affordable. That’s right! It’s cheaper than you think. When it comes to post-secondary education, our tuition fees are generally lower than colleges and universities in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.This page will give you the information you need to understand the cost of studying in Canada from elementary to secondary school, college, university, graduate studies, language school and more.There’s more to your study costs than tuition and other fees. Our Prepare your budget information will help you plan for other expenses, such as living costs.
Cost of elementary school in Canada
Public elementary or primary school is free for residents of Canada. If you’re sending your child to Canada to study, please check with the school to find out if there are fees for international students. Sometimes, schools charge small fees for your child to participate in extra activities, such as sports teams or school outings. Most children bring their own lunch to school, however, some schools offer cafeterias or hot lunch programs where your child may purchase a meal.
Cost of high school in Canada
Public secondary or high school is free in Canada for residents of the country. Many schools charge fees for international students, which can range from approximately CAD 8,000 to CAD 14,000 per year. Please check with the school you want your teenager to attend to confirm the cost, if any, for international students.Sometimes, schools charge small fees for your child to participate in extra activities, such as sports teams or school outings. In high school, many students bring their own lunch to school, however, some schools offer cafeterias or hot lunch programs where your child may purchase a meal.
Cost of language school in Canada
Language schools often provide courses based on a certain number of weeks, rather than a semester approach to study. The cost of tuition at Canadian language schools is established by each school.Here is some sample costing for language schools in some of Canada’s key metropolitan areas (not including housing or meals):Toronto: 12-week English language school = CAD 3,515Quebec City: 12-week French language school = CAD 3,570Vancouver: 12-week English language school = CAD 4,083Calgary: 12-week French language school = CAD 3,446
Cost of college and vocational school in Canada
College programs vary in length, so they are often less expensive than university studies. Some programs include work-integrated learning, which may earn you an income while you are in Canada.You’ll find high-quality colleges and vocational schools throughout Canada, including smaller cities and towns where the cost of living is lower. Even Canada’s larger cities are relatively more affordable than many cities around the world.Tuition fees for international students in Canada vary depending on the program and location you choose.
Try our search tool to find your college program and calculate what it will cost you:Search colleges & universitiesYou will see that some schools offer free tuition, while others range from approximately CAD 2,000 per year to CAD 18,000 per year for tuition, depending on the college and your program of study. It pays to do your research, so try comparing up to 3 colleges and destinations in one search. Our tool will do that for you.It will also generate costs for your living expenses. We found that, on average, living costs tend to be approximately CAD 12,000 for Canadian college students.
Cost of university in Canada
What could be better than earning a university degree in a beautiful country? Finding a reputable program that you can afford. Many quality universities are found in Canada’s smaller cities and towns where the cost of living is lower. At times, Canada’s larger cities are more affordable than many cities around the world.Try our search tool to find your university program and calculate what it will cost you:Search colleges & universitiesYou can also compare different schools and cities.
You’ll see that the costs can vary from city to city and province to province, both for your tuition fees and living expenses. So, if you’re on a budget, we recommend searching a wide range of options to find the right university and community for you.
To give you an idea of the costs, we tested our search tool on a number of bachelor’s degree options across Canada. We found that tuition can range from CAD 1,800 per year to approximately CAD 20,000 per year for an undergraduate degree. The tool will also give you the estimated costs for books and supplies.Similarly, the cost of accommodation, food and local transportation varies from city to city. Our search tool will give you a good idea of the cost you once you choose your school, however, we found that living expenses for one year averaged around CAD 12,000.
Cost of graduate studies in Canada
Your graduate studies are a smart career investment. Canada’s master’s and PhD programs are recognized around the globe, and our relatively lower cost of living makes the opportunity even more appealing to international students like you. Even Canada’s larger cities are more affordable than many cities around the world.Graduate tuition fees in Canada can vary depending on the program and location you choose.
Try our search tool to find your graduate studies program and calculate what it will cost you:Search colleges & universitiesTo give you an idea of the costs, we tested our search tool on a number of master’s and PhD programs across Canada.
We found that tuition can range from CAD 2,500 per year to approximately CAD 18,000 per year for a master’s degree program. A PhD might run you approximately CAD 2,500 to CAD 17,000 per year. Be sure to compare programs from different provinces and schools if you are on a budget. The tool will also give you the estimated costs for books and supplies.The cost of accommodation, food and local transportation varies from city to city. Our search tool will give you a good idea of the cost you once you choose your school, however, we found that living expenses for one year averaged around CAD 12,000.
Cost of professional certification in Canada
You’ll find professional certification programs available both in-person and online through distance education. Use our Search colleges & universities tool to locate the program you need and the cost for completing it.Search colleges & universities
Cost of student exchange programs in Canada
The costs of student exchange programs vary depending on the organization offering the programs and their fee structure. You may use an educational agent to help you find an exchange program for your child to attend school in Canada.If you are interested in doing a semester or year in Canada as a college or university student, use our search tool to locate programs and schools that fit your career aspirations. It will provide you with the estimated costs for tuition and living expenses.Search colleges & universities
Cost of online and distance education
Fees for online learning vary based on whether the program is part of a college diploma, bachelor’s degree or at the graduate studies level. Costs can also vary depending on the institution and program you choose. Use our search tool to calculate the costs of your distance education program.Search colleges & universities
Scholarships to study in Canada
You may be eligible for a scholarship, fellowship or grant to study in Canada. The Government of Canada, our provinces and territories and many educational institutions offer funding for international students.Find scholarships
Living expenses for international students in Canada
When you’re planning your budget as an international student in Canada, there are some important expenses to consider:HousingFood and groceriesTransportationHealth insuranceEntertainment and funFind out more about how to plan your living expenses in Canada.Prepare your budget to study in Canada
- Study in Canada: Pre-departure guide
- Going to Canada checklist
- Prepare your budget to study in Canada
- Health care
- Top reasons to study in Canada
- Stories of international students in Canada
- Search colleges & universities
- QS Top Universities 2018.
Choosing a program and school
In Canada, each province and territory is in charge of their own education system.
Get more information about schools and the education system:
- EduCanada – information for international students about education in Canada, with study program search, costs, and more
- Ministries and departments responsible for education – information about the education system in each province and territory
Primary and secondary schools
Schools that teach students up to the grade 12 level are known as primary and secondary schools. Primary usually means grades 1-8 and secondary usually means grades 9-12.
All primary and secondary schools in Canada can enrol international students.
There are special rules for minor children studying in Canada.
Post-secondary schools are:
- private career colleges and
- vocational and technical schools.
Each post-secondary school has its own set of rules on how to apply, including the level of English or French you need to be accepted.
Get more information on post-secondary schools:
- Universities Canada – profiles of Canadian universities, a large study programs database and help to plan your university education
- Colleges and Institutes Canada – profiles of colleges and institutes
- Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials – information on getting your past education assessed against Canadian standards
- National Association of Career Colleges – find out about schools that teach trades and vocations
Many schools in Canada teach English or French as a second language. For more information about private language programs, contact Languages Canada.
Studying in French
There are many ways to study in French across Canada.
- French-language education in Canada has information on schools and institutions that offer courses in French.
- The Association des universités de la francophonie canadienne has information on university programs in French, English, or both.
Designated learning institutions
Provinces and territories approve (or “designate”) schools that can enrol international students. These schools are known as designated learning institutions (DLI).
If you need a study permit, your acceptance letter must be from a DLI. If it isn’t, we will refuse your application.
All primary and secondary schools in Canada are DLIs. You can search a list of the post-secondary schools, such as colleges and universities, and language schools that have been designated.
How to apply to a school, college or university
Once you choose a school, college or university, you must apply to go there. Every school has different rules on how to apply.
Make sure you apply at least:
- six months in advance if you want to study at a primary or secondary school,
- a year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university, college, etc.
Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. They will give you the list of all the documents you need to send them. Your school will be able to tell you about:
- the cost to apply
- tuition fees
- health insurance
- rent and how much it costs to live in Canada
- language tests.
Fill out the application forms for the school or schools of your choice. Follow their instructions to submit them.
If the school admits you as a student, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.
The Government of Canada doesn’t pay for the medical costs of foreign students.
Health coverage for foreign students is different depending on where you live. Contact the school you are applying to for more information about health insurance.
Study in Canada: Pre-departure guide
Canada is a progressive, warm and welcoming nation. We are a multicultural society with two official languages—and we’re proud of our diversity. Canada consistently ranks among the top 10 countries in the United Nations Quality of Life Index since 2004. In fact, right now, we rank #1 among all nations.
Come find out what all the fuss is about. In addition to our friendly, well-educated people, you’ll also discover the beauty of our land. From east to west to our Arctic shoreline, Canada inspires visitors and leaves so many in awe.
You could spend a lifetime exploring Canada’s cities and towns, national parks, lakes, ocean shores and mountains. You’ll enjoy every minute of it! In fact, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. Discover all that Canada has to offer to international students and visitors. You’ll find plenty to see and do. The possibilities are endless.
Getting to know Canada
In your first few months, you will get to know Canada—our people, our languages, our culture, our food, our climate and so much more. This is an exciting time for you. Soon, you’ll come to learn that Canada offers you a safe and secure place to live, work and travel.
The people and places you encounter will shape your life here. International students in Canada tend to be awestruck by the beauty of our 4 seasons. Summer, fall, winter and spring are all very distinct and each offers its own recreational activities and fun when it comes to exploring:
- In summer, you can go boating on one of our many lakes, swim in the ocean and play volleyball on the beach. It’s also a great season to see Canada as a tourist, sit out on a restaurant patio in your favourite city soaking up the sun or enjoy a bonfire with friends.
- During the fall, you’ll love exploring the countryside to see the splendour of our autumn leaves, hiking up a mountain or through the woods on a crisp day as well as enjoying the outdoors with your friends. It’s also a great time to explore Canada’s vibrant cities and historical towns.
- Once winter comes, it’s time to grab your snow gear and join in some great Canadian fun. You can learn to ski or snowshoe, build a snowman, have a snowball fight with your friends or simply enjoy the peaceful sound of walking through the woods in winter.
- Spring is a time for renewal in Canada, as the birds return from the south and flowers bloom in the gardens. It’s also “sugaring off” season. Discover how sap is collected and boiled to create maple syrup. The best part? Eating maple taffy poured hot on snow.
All year long, the Canadians you meet at school and at work will impress you with their warmth. Enjoy this opportunity to get to know us and to introduce us to your culture.
Canada fast facts
- 36.3 million people
- 250 ethnic origins
- 6.4 million people speak an immigrant language
- 60+ Aboriginal languages
- 10 provinces and 3 territories
- 243,000 km of coastline – the world’s longest
- 3 oceans
Canadian culture includes the world
Canadian culture includes people and cultures from around the world. We are well known as one of the world’s great multicultural societies—and we’re proud of this distinction.
Canada welcomes people from everywhere. We place a high value on tolerance. Our national human rights law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability and sexual orientation. Each province and territory of Canada has its own human rights code, too.
Canadians have a strong sense of justice. This means we care about people’s rights in the workplace, in the court system, in our democracy and in our homes. Women’s rights are equally important.
Our commitment to equality makes Canada a sought-after destination for international students and immigrants. Canada is currently ranked as the #1 best country in the world for quality of life.
Discounts for international students
As an international student in Canada, you have access to travel discounts for students. So get ready to experience Canada and save some money! Restaurants, hotels, airlines, trains and other travel providers offer reduced prices for students. You’ll need a valid student identification card to get your discount. We also recommend the International Student Identification Card for additional benefits.
Canadian custom: The polar bear dip
Can you guess how some Canadians like to ring in the New Year? This might surprise you, but we like to mark the start of a new year by taking part in a polar bear dip. Don’t worry. We don’t actually swim with polar bears, but we do cut a big hole in the ice and go for a swim! It sounds crazy, but it’s exhilarating. If you join us, bring your parka (big coat with a hood) so you can get warm after you emerge from the freezing water. It’s just another great way to experience Canada.
- Travelling in Canada
- Provinces and territories of Canada
- Study in Canada: Pre-departure guide
- Tips and facts for international students in Canada
- Stories of international students in Canada
Getting to Canada
Almost ready to pack your bags for Canada? You’ll probably take a plane to get here, unless you’re coming from the United States. A travel agent in your home country or travel website can help you find the best options for travel to Canada.
Read on to find out what you need to know to plan your trip to Canada.
You need to have a valid passport to be admitted into Canada. Make sure it is valid for at least six months after the return date on your ticket. Don’t forget that you will need a study permit as well, and visas for your spouse or children who may be joining you.
Canadian officials don’t require you to have a return ticket when you enter Canada, but you may be asked to prove that you can buy one. This means showing your credit card or travellers’ cheques.
Some airlines may require that you buy a return ticket.
Consider buying a flexible ticket that allows you to change your return flight. You’ll pay more when you buy the ticket, but it may be cheaper than buying a new ticket when you plan your trip home.
Travel and health insurance
To cover your travel time and the period before or after you start your study program, we recommend buying travel insurance for any unexpected health issues or trip interruptions.
The health insurance you purchase to study in Canada may only cover the period while you are a student in Canada. Be sure to check your insurance policy to find out what it covers.
Learn more about health care and health insurance in Canada.
Plan your arrival in Canada
The more you plan in advance, the better you will feel during your travels. Keep a record of where you’ll stay when you first arrive in Canada, such as a hotel or your new accommodation. Plan how you will get there once you arrive at the Canadian airport – taxi, ride-share service, public transit or another mode of transport.
Carry some Canadian currency (cash or travellers’ cheques) with you when you travel. It’s a good idea to have some local money to buy a snack or magazine along the way. Credit cards are widely accepted in Canada.
Plan your luggage
- Know how much baggage your airline allows and be aware of weight limits. Airport staff will weigh your baggage. There are additional fees if your bags exceed the limits.
- Some items are not allowed into Canada in your luggage. There are restrictions on alcohol, tobacco, guns, food as well as animal and plant products. Travellers cannot bring in prescription drugs that aren’t approved in Canada.
- Do not carry another person’s bags or their things in your luggage.
- During your flight, you’ll receive a card to declare what you are bringing into Canada. Remember that Canadian customs agents can choose to search luggage.
- When you are planning your baggage, only include liquids in containers less than 100ml.
- Attach an address tag to each piece of luggage with your name and the address of your destination in Canada.
- At airport check-in, ask whether your baggage will go directly to your destination in Canada, or whether you must claim and transfer baggage at stops along the way.
- Keep all important documents, medications and expensive items such as cameras, jewellery, laptops, phones, credit cards and cash with you in your carry-on bag, rather than pack them in your checked luggage.
Keep important documents safe
Scan, take photos or make photocopies of important documents, including:
- Main page of your passport
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance certificate
- Letter of acceptance from your Canadian college or university
- Important addresses and phone numbers
- Bank statement showing proof of funds
- Prescriptions or a letter from your doctor for any medication you are carrying
- Medical and vaccination records
- Travellers’ cheques
- Academic history and university transcripts, which may be useful for credit transfers, proof of studies or to obtain work
Be sure to keep these with you when you travel. Leave another copy of these documents at home with someone you trust.
When you arrive in Canada, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a new culture every day. Culture shock refers to the feelings people experience as they integrate into a new society. It happens because you are cut off from familiar things and people, and the social networks that made you feel at home in your country.
Culture shock is normal. Everyone will experience it.
Tips for managing culture shock
- Learn about Canadian culture before you leave home.
- Use the Internet to research culture shock and how to manage your adjustment to a new country.
- Pack some things from your country that will remind you of home when you are missing your family and friends.
- Ask questions if you are unsure of something.
- Get involved in group events, student clubs, sports or other activities in Canada.
- Try new experiences and be open to new ideas.
- Talk to other international students about their life in Canada.
- Use the professional support services available to you at your college or university.
- Remember that everyone adapts at their own pace to life in a new country. Take the time to adapt to your new life in Canada.
- Canadian culture
- Experience Canada
- Top reasons to study in Canada
- Studying in Canada: Pre-departure guide
- Study permits and visas
- Stories of international students in Canada
- Adjust to a new culture – Simon Fraser University
- Coping with culture shock – Government of Canada
- International student guide – University of Waterloo
- Culture shock (PDF 237 kb)
Work in Canada as an international student
Many international students decide to work part-time while they attend university or college in Canada. Many begin to find local leads to a successful career after graduation. This section will lead you to information about working during and after your studies, wages in Canada, opportunities for your future career as well as advice to guide your job search and work life.
Do you want to make some money while completing your studies in Canada? International students are often eligible for part-time work.
International graduates from eligible Canadian universities and colleges may work in Canada with a work permit and can also apply for permanent residence.
If you’re hoping to settle in Canada after your studies, this information on paths to permanent residency and immigration will tell you what you need to know.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing and establishing your professional career in Canada. Learn about starting a career here.
Looking for a job? We offer tips and information to help you find work in Canada—either as a student or young professional.
There’s so much to know about the job market and rules around employment when you move to a new country. We give you the tips and information you need to get started.
Canadian currency and banking
Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). It’s available in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollar paper notes.
Canadian coins circulate as:
- 5 cents (nickel)
- 10 cents (dime)
- 25 cents (quarter)
- CAD 1 (loonie)
- CAD 2 (toonie)
Canadian banks are similar to banks in the United States and European countries. Most charge a monthly fee to customers for their bank accounts and services. A basic bank account costs approximately CAD 5 per month.
You don’t need to open a bank account in Canada while you are a student here. However, Canadian banks offer student accounts and services that may be attractive. For example, if you have a bank account here, you may pay lower fees for international money transfers than if you have no bank account. Here are some other benefits:
- A bank account can help you manage your money
- If you have a bank account, you can ask staff at the bank for financial advice
- If you’re working in Canada, you need to have a bank account
- If you rent housing off campus, you may need to write cheques using your bank account
Ask about student account options at any Canadian bank or ask whether a bank in your home country has a partnership with Canadian banks. Some other things you should know:
- All Canadian banks offer Internet banking. You can pay bills and transfer funds online. Many universities offer online banking as an option to pay your tuition and other costs.
- Most stores accept multiple payment methods, including cash, credit card and debit cards. They do not usually accept cheques issued by a bank.
- Cheques are mostly used for large amounts, such as rent and bill payments. Your bank can issue personalized cheques when you open an account.
Canada’s major banks include:
- Bank of Montreal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- HSBC Canada
- President’s Choice Financial
- Royal Bank of Canada
- TD Canada Trust
Stores almost everywhere accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. If you already have a credit card, it may be accepted in Canada. Be sure to check with your bank before you arrive here to determine whether you might have to pay exchange rates and foreign transaction fees if you keep that card. You may wish to get a credit card with your Canadian bank account.
Automated banking machines
In Canada, automated banking machines (ABMs) are common and easy to find. Here’s what you need to know:
- ABMs inside banks are operated by that bank. If you have a card or account with the bank, you can withdraw funds and do other transactions like deposits, paying bills, printing account statements and transferring money between accounts. However, if your bank card is with Bank-A and you do a transaction at an ABM inside a bank owned by Bank-B, you will have to pay a transaction fee.
- ABMs in gas stations, malls, stores and tourist centres are owned by private companies. They charge a fee for withdrawing money. Usually, withdrawals are the only service they offer.
Check with your home country bank about whether your bank card from home will be accepted at Canadian ABMs. Your bank can also inform you about international withdrawal fees. Some banks have agreements with a Canadian bank.
Bank hours of business
Most banks are open Monday to Friday during business hours, which generally means between 9 or 10 a.m. and 4 or 5 p.m. Some branches close later in the evening at least 1 day per week. Some are open for reduced hours on Saturdays. Most banks are closed on Sundays. All banks are closed on official holidays in Canada.
Money transfers to Canada
Traveller’s cheques are an easy way to transfer money to Canada:
- You can purchase them at most banks. They come in many standard amounts
- They are secure and can be cashed at any Canadian bank or currency converter
- You should scan or make copies of your traveller’s cheques in case they are lost or stolen
Some banks can transfer money electronically into your Canadian account. Fees vary by institution. You can also transfer money using a bank draft from another country. This can take up to 8 weeks to be cleared by the Canadian bank. This comes with a service fee.