Canada is a great country to settle down and study in. Learn everything you need to know about studying in Canada as an international student—from finding the right school to managing Canadian culture. Read more by following the link in our bio. When deciding where in the world to study, Canada is an incredible option. There is the stereotype that everyone is so friendly and that we say sorry too much, but Canada really is a great place to study abroad. Not sure if you know, but Canada is ranked #1 in the world for quality of life. Whether you choose to study in a large bustling sky scraper city or in a quiet calm serene small town, your experience studying here in Canada will be one that you’ll never forget. It could lead you to incredible career opportunities or in Canada or you can take your skills back home with you. At the very least, you’ll have an incredible experience.
Do you have questions about studying and living in Canada, the culture, immigration documents, or choosing what and where to study? Continue reading where we answer all of your questions and help you prepare for your journey.
Living in Canada
We promise the “friendly Canadian” saying is not just a stereotype. It’s the truth! All in all, Canada is a country that will welcome you in with wide open arms. It’s an incredible country to settle and study in, no matter where you are coming from. Whether you are living in a big city centre to a small farm town, Canada is considered to be one of the safest countries for international students. Take a look below at more information about important things you should know before studying in Canada, like if it really gets to -40 in the winter.
Canada is known for its inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. As a whole, people in Canada work hard to make sure everyone feels welcome. Some other quick facts about Canadian culture:
- Lining up for services is something most Canadians feel very strongly about. They follow the idea that the first person who arrives should be first, and the last should be last.
- Canadians really value their personal space. They typically feel most comfortable if at an arm’s length away when in a conversation.
- While not always necessary, Canadians appreciate a certain level of eye contact during conversation. Eye contact is a sign of honesty and sincerity.
- Most Canadians value their time and expect others to do the same. Whether it’s for a class or for a meeting, it is best to arrive on time or even a few minutes early.
- Canada is a multicultural country with citizens with a variety of different beliefs and backgrounds. As a whole, Canadians try to avoid expressions or actions that can be insulting to others.
For more information about Canadian culture, check out this great resource.
In the first few months as you spend your time getting to know Canada, you may experience culture shock. This is because life in Canada may be very different than from where you call home. You may feel overwhelmed by the change of culture, time zone, language, culture, or many other factors.
5 Tips to Help You Get Settled in Canada as an International Student:
1. Ask questions.
If you are feeling unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help. Canadians are typically very friendly when people come to them with questions. Asking questions right off the bat will help ease your worries. It’ll help you learn quicker, which will help you feel more at home.
2. Get a good night’s sleep.
In the first few days, weeks, or even months living in Canada, it’s essential to get enough rest. Jet lag can really hold you back and can be difficult to recover from. Try to go to sleep and wake up during regular hours in the new time zone you are in – this will help your body adjust to the new environment.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself and give yourself the needed time.
If things you used to do at home are taking longer for you in Canada—that’s okay. Give yourself the time. Life will be less stressful if you allow yourself the needed time to learn the culture.
4. Meet other international students.
This is a big one! You are not alone in this journey. There are many school groups and events that will make this step easier. You may have to go outside of your comfort zone, but it will make everything so much easier to have friends who are going through the same things as you.
5. Try Different Activities.
Join a sports team, a club, or take a cooking class (for example). Trying or participating in something you love is a great way to jump right into the culture.
It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, Canadian winters. Depending on where you are from in the world, Canadian weather may be a bit of a shock. Most provinces in Canada experience all four seasons to the fullest. Meaning, summers can be very hot and winters can be very cold. Canada sees extreme weather – but it shouldn’t scare you off! You can embrace winter and have fun with it. Grab some snow gear and enjoy the weather. You can go skiing, skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, walking down winter paths, and so much more.
The climate will be different depending on which province you choose to live in but below are average temperatures for Winnipeg during the year.
The heat from summer will carry into September, but as October hits, the fall temperatures start to kick in. Sometimes there can be snow on Halloween. Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again. Moving into November, it starts to bring a taste of winter. Oct/Nov is when you can pull out the warmer jackets.
Winters can be very cold, in the minus 15 to 30 range, with regular snowfalls that can bring anywhere from 5 to 20 cm of snow between Dec and Mar. Also, the wind can be quite harsh in the winters. Remember to grab your hats and gloves before leaving the house!
Spring can start off cool, but always tends to get brighter and more mild as April comes around. The days get longer and you can feel summer slowly starting to come.
Summers in Canada are typically very hot and sunny. It depends what province you are in, but prairie summers specifically see a lot of sun. Temperatures can rise above 30. Sunscreen—check!
Studying in Canada
Canada is very popular for international students as it’s known for its vast experiences, opportunities, and affordable tuition. Canada is known for having some of the lowest tuition feeds among English speaking countries. And, on top of that, according to the World University Rankings, Canada has 5 of the top 100 best student cities in the world. You can’t argue with that! Keep reading to learn more about studying in Canada.
Benefits of Studying in Canada
Aside from Canada being an incredible place to live, it’s also a great place to study. Below are some of the benefits for international students to study in Canada.
- There is an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Canadian schools offer support to students for them to succeed. At all levels, Canadian institutions offer counseling and career services.
- All across Canada, no matter which province you choose to study in universities and colleges are committed to providing students and teachers safe working and studying environments. Safety, security, and respect are at the forefront.
- Canadian classrooms have strong values. They value academic freedom, excellence and innovation. As a student in Canada, you will be encouraged and motivated to conduct your own research and work collaboratively with your classmates, peers, and teachers.
- You can discover Canada’s natural beauty while benefiting from a world-class education.
Types of Education in Canada
When it comes to when you should apply, it will all depend on the institution but it’s recommended that international students apply at the earliest time they can. This is usually about 6-9 months before the semester starts.
In Canada, students can choose to study the following programs:
- Certificate or diploma (1-2 years)
- Advanced diploma (2-3 years)
- Undergraduate degree (3-4 years)
- Postgraduate (2 years)
- PhD (4-5 years with dissertation
If you aren’t a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen and intend to study in Canada, you have to have a study permit to study. International students are required to obtain a study permit for engaging in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training that is more than 6 months in duration at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. You must apply for an initial study permit that through the Canadian Visa office outside of Canada or the Visa Application Centre that serves your home country. Most college and university programs require you to include your study permit in your application. The time it will take to process your visa will vary case to case.
The steps below are what the process is for an international student looking to apply at Robertson College.
- Submit your application and application fee to Robertson College
- Application is processed by our International Admission Team
- Admission is offered if you’ve met entrance requirements
- Pay your tuition deposit in order to accept the admission offer
- Receive your letter of acceptance
- Apply for your study permit with the letter of acceptance and other supporting documents required by CIC
Work experience and opportunities in Canada
After you graduate, there are many opportunities to gain work experience. The Canadian government offers a work program to students who receive a diploma from a post-secondary school and are looking to gain experience. This is an incredible option for students who want to work and continue to live in Canada. Find out more about the Government of Canada program here.
Studying at Robertson College
Campuses across Canada
Here at Robertson college we have five campuses, located in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary. All of our campuses offer an admissions department to help you find the right career. International students can study at our Winnipeg campus. We also employ dedicated, professional, experienced instructors committed to helping you learn the skills you need to learn to be successful in your career.
Each of our campuses are conveniently located near public transportation, shopping, entertainment, and restaurants. There’s never a dull moment!
Canadian Classroom Norms
At Robertson College, we help and support international students from the beginning to the end of their journey—graduation and beyond. The students enrolled here are from all over the world and many are experiencing Canadian culture for the very first time. Not only will there be a culture shock, like mentioned above, but the classroom culture may be different too.
Canadian academic norms that may seem foreign to international students:
1. Encouraged to discuss and challenge your instructors
It’s encouraged to have healthy discussions and debates in the classroom, whether it’s with peers or your instructor. This may be challenging for some because in their home countries, challenging professors or upper figures may be considered a sign of disrespect.
2. Hands-on and practical learning techniques
It’s likely that international students may be used to a lecture-style of teaching and lecture-style only. At Robertson, it’s a hands on college, which means it may take some time to get fully accustomed to the difference.
3 Course assessment.
Each course at every institution will be evaluated differently. Some may have a few assessments that occur throughout the program, and some may have one midterm exam and one final exam. If you are struggling with keeping up or any of the assigned course work or lectures, you can speak with an advisor who can help you get back on track.
4. Group work
In many Canadian classrooms, you will be required to work in groups with other students in your class, likely students you don’t get to choose. This is a great way to meet other students in your class. Some of your grade will be measured on your ability to work well together, collaborate, share responsibility and produce good work.
Did you know that in Canada, professors and instructors generally expect eye contact from students? It isn’t much so a sinister glare, but a focused lock onto the eyes of who is speaking. It’s just to show that you are engaged and involved in the classroom. You can also take notes, smile, ask for clarification, asking questions, etc. All of these nonverbal and verbal cues signal to the instructor that you are engaged and paying attention.
We’re here to help you feel at home at Robertson. Navigating a new country is hard. Every place has distinctive characteristics and customs, and adjusting to them can be difficult. That’s why our International Student Services department exists. The supports available to you at Robertson are in place to help you adapt to Canada while you move through your schooling and help you find meaningful work after you graduate.
Your interests, goals, and talents are integral pieces to finding a career path you love. Our career counsellors are ready to provide you with information and guidance to put you on the right track.
Faculty and Academic Advising
Eliminate the difficulty of “figuring it all out.” Our faculty and academic advisors offer expert industry-based advice on all things education-related and assistance with academic challenges.
Get real-world training while building a network. At Robertson, our services department will make sure you get industry-specific practicum experience, equipping you with the skills you need to excel.
Our guidance doesn’t stop once you graduate. We provide professional assistance and feedback throughout your job search as a current student or alumni, which includes resumes, cover letters, and interview prep.
Learn to navigate the Canadian cultural terrain. Work with our personal advisors to learn about everything from getting health insurance and a SIN card to volunteering and doing your Income Tax.
Don’t worry about where to live — you’ve got options. Robertson can point you in the right direction whether you are looking for a Homestay or your own private accommodations.
Start on a high note with our mandatory orientation for new International students. Still have questions? Orientation sets you up for success in your program, and it’s the perfect opportunity to ask them.
Ready to begin your education at Robertson? Speak with someone in our International Student Services department.