Why Choose Canada?
The combination of Canada's reputation for high-quality education and its globally recognised degrees in addition to its natural and safe environment are just a few of the things that attract tens of thousands of international students to Canada every year. In 2006, over 5400 Indian students enrolled in Canadian educational institutions, mainly post-secondary, and the number is consistently rising. Everyday more and more international students are choosing to study in Canada because of the following reasons-
Canadian degrees and diplomas are recognised throughout the world. Graduates have had strong success in their goals and alumni from Canadian campuses have secured prestigious roles globally and specifically in India. Canadian work experience is highly desirable by multi-national companies who actively recruit on Canadian campuses.
Students coming to Canada have over 90 degree granting universities, 175 community colleges, numerous private language schools and many corporate training facilities to choose from. The Canadian education system includes strong student support services, opportunities for career counselling as well as options to participate in internship or co-op programmes. Small classes, flexibility in programme choices and active campus communities enrich a personalised learning experience. Also, since Canada is officially a bilingual country, students have the option of studying in French or English.
Canada spends more per capita on its education system than any other country in the world. As a result, Canadian universities and colleges offer lower tuition rates for international students than their counterparts in most other countries. The cost of studying in Canada is considerably less than the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom.
A multicultural and welcoming society
Canada's international reputation as a peacekeeping nation extends to its citizens. Canadians comprise of many different cultures, religions and races from around the world. Students coming to Canada will experience a secure, peaceful, multicultural environment in cities and towns. Canadians are friendly people, genuinely interested in learning about other cultures.
Standard of living
In the last decade, Canada has repeatedly been chosen by UN as one of the best places to live in the world. The reasons listed included- high education enrollment levels, high-quality and low cost education, universal healthcare system, an uncompromising respect for fundamental rights and human dignity, clean and safe cities, and multi-ethnic cities with many recreational amenities.
Education system in Canada
In Canada, the federal government does not centrally administer education. Each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories is individually responsible for education matters within its borders. While there are a number of differences in the ways that each one delivers and administers education and training, there are also many similarities, including the high quality of programmes available across the country.
Post-secondary (or tertiary) students can choose to study at a university or college.The term ‘university’ refers to an institution with a mainly academic or research focus. Universities offer bachelor’s, master’s (also called graduate), doctorate and post doctorate (also called postgraduate) degrees, as well as specialised professional training for those who want to become physicians, lawyers, engineers or accountants. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has a searchable database on their website www.aucc.ca of programmes available at all levels at any of the 90 publicly funded universities in Canada.
The term ‘college’ (also called ‘community college’) is used for those institutions that mainly offer vocational or trades-based training. Colleges offer diplomas or certificates in a wide range of fields, including the building trades (carpentry, electrical and plumbing), office administration (computer technician, secretarial and bookkeeping) and services (medical technician, esthetician, hospitality and tourism). Some colleges in Canada have entered into agreements with their provinces or with other universities and are able to offer bachelor degrees in a variety of subjects. The Association of Canadian Community Colleges website at www.accc.ca has information about a number of the publicly funded colleges in Canada. The National Association of Career Colleges www.nacc.ca includes many of the private career colleges in Canada.
The admission standards for admission may differ from institution to institution, because there is no single nation-wide entrance test for international students opting to study in Canada. Each institution sets its own admission standards and assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually. A strong emphasis is placed on a student’s academic record for admission and entrance award purposes, while extracurricular participation and achievement are typically only considered for specific top-level scholarships and limited enrollment programmes.
An international student who wishes to study in Canada for a period of more than six months will need to apply for a study permit, and a student who is a citizen of certain countries, such as India, will also require a visa to enter Canada. For information about study permits and visas, as well as news about work opportunities while studying in Canada, visit www.india.gc.ca
Tuition fees and scholarships
Most universities and colleges in Canada are publicly funded by the government. As a result tuition fees for most courses are considerably lower than those in many other countries. Each institution determines its own tuition fee rates, and there can be a wide range even within the same province. While fees are generally more expensive for non-Canadian students, the levels of government funding make education at lower rates possible for all students. There is also a growing number of private institutes in Canada which are not publicly funded, and which charge the same or similar tuition fee rates for both Canadian and international students. Information about programmes available in Canadian universities and community colleges, including international tuition fees and an estimate of living costs, can be found at www.edu-canada.gc.ca. Interested international students can visit the website to conduct a detailed search to help determine the best institution for them.
There are a limited number of general scholarships available, due to the levels of government subsidisation in the education system. Most of the scholarships available to international students are based on merit and academic standing, not financial need. Many universities offer their own scholarships to international students. At the master’s/ graduate and doctorate/ post doctorate levels a number of universities offer substantial scholarships and teaching/ research assistant positions (which include a salary or stipend) to deserving candidates. Some scholarships, such as the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme, are available for Indian students. For more information visit www.scholarships.gc.ca. The Government of Canada also recently announced the Vanier Scholarships, available for doctoral candidates. More information on these scholarships is forthcoming and will be available on www.edu-canada.gc.ca
Working while studying and work after graduation opportunities
Many post-secondary international students are eligible to work both on and off campus while studying. Recent changes to Canada’s Post Graduation Work Permit Programme allow qualified international students to obtain an open work permit with no restrictions as to the type of job and no requirement for a job offer. These students will be eligible to work for up to three years anywhere in Canada. For more information see www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work.asp
(Content courtesy: Edu-Canada: Education Promotion Division, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada) www.international.gc.ca