Is Canada a Good Study Destination for International Students?

An illustrated map of Canada is overlaid by scenes from Central Canada. A young woman holding a book is in an overlaid illustration in the left side of the image.

Canada is an extremely popular destination for international students. In a 2018 survey, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) listed the top three reasons students choose Canada:

  1. Canada’s quality education system (82%)
  2. Welcoming and non-discriminatory society (79%)
  3. Reputation as a safe country (78%)

Out of 14,000+ students, 93% are incredibly happy with their decision to study in a Canadian institution. In fact, they recommend Canada as a study destination to others. Many students also claim an interest in permanent residency after their studies. Completing education in Canada helps many international students with future employment and residency in Canada.

In addition, with recent changes to immigration policies including Canada’s Express Entry, it’s much easier for students to migrate. These policies are recognized as a welcoming policy environment, in contrast to current policy in the United States and elsewhere. As Canada’s previous Minister of Immigration, John McCallum, once noted:

“When I think of the best group in the world that would make the best future Canadians, the group that comes first to my mind is international students.”

In 2017, a total of 494,525 international students were studying in Canada at all levels including university, college, and high school. This number shows a 119% increase in international students in Canada since 2010. Most students travel from countries including India, Vietnam, Iran, and Bangladesh. However, many international students from Africa, Europe, and Latin America also contribute to Canada’s multicultural society.

Having reached these numbers, Canada has achieved its long-term goal five years in advance: to host 450,000 international students by 2022. All this to say, Canada is truly an attractive study destination for many.

Not only do international students benefit by receiving an excellent experience in Canada, but Canada benefits through the economic impact generated by international students. In 2016, international students contributed C$15.5 billion to the economy through tuition payments, rent payments, and more. With this increase in spending, nearly 170,000 jobs across Canada have been supported, and the talent available with new graduates has grown exponentially.

Though Canada welcomes foreign students with open arms and encourages them to stay, students experience concerns about affordability. Popular cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have a high cost of living, which students struggle with. In fact, accommodations are one of the largest costs international students will have.

Read our blog “How to find student accommodations in Canada” to learn about different accommodation options.

The United States remains Canada’s primary competition as a study abroad destination. This is largely due to its prestigious institutions such as Harvard University and MIT. International students continue to show large interest in studying in the US. However with the current political climate, Canada has taken the opportunity to boost its offerings to international students, and in turn has become an even more attractive study destination.

Ready to start your study abroad journey? Contact the team at ApplyBoard! We’re here to help.

All information presented in this blog is sourced from ICEF Monitor.

Adrianna Dyczkowsky, Public Relations Specialist at ApplyBoard


The most important stories in international education, backed by data