5 Things I wish I knew before studying in Canada
When moving to another country for school, there are countless things to research and take into account. It’s possible certain information isn’t well-documented, well-known or is simply less obvious at first. For this reason, we have compiled a list of five things to know before studying in Canada.
If you are interested in studying in Canada, register your free account on ApplyBoard and see what programs you are eligible for!
1. You can work while studying in Canada
If you have a student visa, you are able to work while studying in Canada. You don’t need a work permit to work on-campus or off-campus as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI). This is ultimately one of the many perks of choosing to study abroad in Canada. To be given the opportunity to work allows students to gain valuable work experience and help with various personal finances be it accommodations, meals or books. Working while studying in Canada can also help students establish a network of contacts for future purposes. When you consider long term, altogether, these factors play a role in helping with immigration as well.
2. It’s not ALWAYS cold
You often hear Canada is very cold due to its location in the north. For the most part throughout the winter season, it’s true. Temperatures can get very low, urging people to bundle up and stay warm. However, Canada can also get really toasty around the summer season. If you plan to stay during the warmer seasons, prepare yourself for many humid 25°C+ days. Moreover, if you plan to arrive in August to start school in September, don’t assume it’s going to be chilly. There’s a good chance it will still be relatively warm.
In summary, layers are important when packing for Canada. Some mornings will be chilly, urging you to wear a sweater and light jacket, but by the afternoon, you will have taken off those layers to be in a t-shirt. It’s important to bring some warmer clothing options, but also ensure you have something for when it gets hot.
3. You don’t need to speak french, but it’s helpful if you do
Canada has two official languages, French and English. However, French isn’t widely spoken outside of Quebec and New Brunswick. In fact, no more than five percent of each Canadian province population speaks French. Even if you plan to study abroad in Montreal (which is in Quebec), you can easily get around without speaking French.
That said, there are many French words and names in Canadian English so it is beneficial to be even slightly familiar with the language. It can also help you connect with a broader range of people.
4. Tips are (mostly) mandatory
In many countries, tipping your wait staff in restaurants is only required if service is especially good. However, in Canada, similar to the USA, service staff are typically paid minimum wage. This means a wage that, in most provinces, is actually lower than the standard minimum wage. As a result of this, tipping is essential for service staff to make a decent living. The standard assumption is 15 to 20 percent. If service is especially good or especially bad, you may choose to add or deduct from this number, respectively. This information is also worth knowing if you plan to work in the service industry while studying in Canada.
5. There are many scholarships available to students
The process of studying abroad can be very costly. For this reason, the Canadian government and many post-secondary institutions offer various scholarship awards, grants or bursaries to assist with student finances. Additionally, there many scholarships created exclusively for international students. For instance, Yorkville University created an exclusive scholarship for international students applying to study abroad through ApplyBoard. The best part about scholarships is that unlike a bank loan, you don’t have to pay the money back. Be proactive, save yourself some financial stress, and apply for scholarships well ahead of time!