How To Survive As An International Student In Canada

Oftentimes, I read where prospective students ask the question; “How To Survive As An International Student In Canada”  on the Internet which was what prompted me to write this article.

Canada is a dream destination for international students who hope to study and live in the country. It offers permanent citizenship and has been ranked to be one of the top ten places to live in the world for more than twenty years with the best education system.


The country is an increasingly popular choice for students who seek an affordable alternative to studying internationally in the US. Canadian universities provide equally prestigious degrees as those in the US with greater importance on learning.

The standard of education in Canada is uniformly high, with almost 100 universities in Canada, five of which including the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, Université de Montréal, and University of Alberta are ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Canada is an immense country, extremely varied in its people, landscape, climate, and culture.

Canadians share important values like pride, belief in equality, diversity, and respect for all individuals. International students considering to study in Canada will have to familiarize themselves with the customs of the people and country they expect to experience.

Canada is widely regarded as one of the safest places in the world to live as a foreigner, refugee or student. However, it is important to follow the same safety precautions in Canada that you would anywhere else in the world. The decision to pursue your educational studies in Canada is an important one. The quest of venturing to a foreign country abroad can be overwhelming and exciting.

Irrespective of the level of your planning for your travel to Canada, not all situations are predictable. Aside from obtaining the right documentation, the process of settling in Canada also involves learning to adapt to their cultural and social environments.

Choosing to study in Canada grants you the opportunity to encounter different cultural and natural experiences – from the ski slopes of British Columbia to the prairie province of Manitoba, with the big cities like Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Quebec renowned for their friendly, and tolerant neighborhood.

Canada is located north of North America known for its natural beauty with wealth of forests, lakes and mountains. The country is officially bilingual with both English and French used concurrently in government and official documents. Canada has a sparse population smaller than California, despite being the world’s second-largest country.

How do one Survive in Canada as an International Student?

After you must have spent a whole lot of money to pay your tuition fee and also process your documents to Canada, you are now battling to survive with the little cash at hand. This article will serve as a guide on how you can survive in Canada as an international student

Finding Accommodation

There are numerous accommodation options available to students, however its best to research available places prior to your arrival in Canada. Student housings are often grouped into two categories; on-campus housing and off-campus housing.

On-campus housing, also referred to as student residence or dorms can be booked through the academic institution’s website. Living on-campus is quite convenient with most of the amenities within close proximity. It also helps you connect with other students through on-campus events and other social clubs.

Depending on the location, off-campus housing could be a more affordable option. You can get immersed in the city’s local culture by choosing to live independently off-campus, you may be able to be more independent. Although living off-campus doesn’t have to be a solitary experience, you could search for a roommate online.

Another available option is living with a host family through homestay arrangements. It is the most inexpensive ways to live in Canada as an international student. You could search for homestays on online, through an agency, or by requesting a homestay program through your university’s student services office. Homestays enhance a sense of family.


Finding Work

Looking For A Job?

With your Canadian study permit, you may be eligible to work on or off-campus while completing your studies. An international student is eligible to work up to 20 hours a week off-campus during an academic session and full-time hours during scheduled study breaks like winter and summer holiday or spring break.

This opportunity is a great way to cover living costs and build professional networks in the local labour market. In order to work in Canada with a study permit holder, it is important to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from the Service Canada.

This gives you access to benefits from the government program services. To apply for a SIN, your study permit must have the following conditions printed on it:

“May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies. May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.”

If you meet the criteria required to work in Canada as a study permit holder, it can be added to your permit at no extra cost. If your study program requires work experience as part of the curriculum, you will have to apply for an intern work permit in addition to your study permit.

An application may be submitted at the same time as a study permit, or later during your study program before the commencement of the placement.

Cost of Living

Canada’s provinces offers international students numerous options to pursue higher education in universities, colleges, and technical or research institutes. Knowing the cost of living in each province can help you when planning your study and work schedule. When applying for a study permit, an international student must show a financial capacity to cover living costs, tuition and other expenses.

Basic Necessities

Most academic institutions in Canada have a student welcome center for international students to help you find the best deals available. You have to set up a bank account, phone plan, public transportation pass, and register for a student ID card. Bank accounts, phone plans, and internet contracts are offered through different providers with varying conditions. Be sure to sort out your health insurance in at your Canadian province.

Adjustment and Planning Ahead

In order to survive in Canada as an international student, you need to give yourself time to adjust, especially if it is your first time in a new country. You may experience “Culture Shock” during the honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, or acceptance phase. The best way to overcome culture shock is by getting involved, and building a support network of individuals going through a similar experience. If you plan to settle in Canada permanently, ensure you plan ahead.

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