Studying in Canada

Issue 9 / July - Sep, 2012
Aug 13, 2012
Reading time: 8 minutes (805 words)

Canada has recently become a very popular destination for international students looking to study abroad. The cost of education, living and the easy route to citizenship for international students makes Canada a very worthwhile option for higher education. Canada is made up of 9 provinces and 3 territories. The provinces and territories make Canada the second largest country in terms of size. Canada has been consistently ranked in the top 10 countries to live in by the UN.

The relatively lower cost of studying in Canadian colleges and universities has made it a very lucrative option for students looking to study in a Western country. Canadian universities' tuition fees range from $14,000 $20,000 per year. Colleges tend to be cheaper than universities, the tuition fees at colleges are in the range of $11,000 - $13,000. The cost of living in most provinces is also a lot lower than European countries, which makes it a more affordable place to study.

The path to permanent residency (PR) and citizenship in Canada is favoured towards international students who have completed their higher education in the Canadian public university or college system. Although immigration related rules change on a regular basis, the basic path to permanent residency and citizenship is quite simple. Once an international student has completed their degree or diploma at a university or college, they have the option to apply for a post graduate work permit which allows them to work in Canada for 8-36 months, depending on eligibility.

Once the student has worked for more than a year in an eligible job, they have the option to apply for a PR. Once a PR card is issued to the student they have the right to live and work in Canada for as long as the card is valid. The card is renewable in most cases. Citizenship is granted once the student has lived as a permanent resident in Canada for a certain number of years.

The reasons mentioned above are some of the many reasons students from all around the world choose to go to Canada to study.

The education system in Canada differs to the Tanzanian system in many ways. The Canadian High School education ends at Grade 12 after which the student has the option to go on to a university or college of their choice. The Tanzanian system has a Grade 13; this puts Tanzanian students going to Canadian universities at an advantage. Not only are Tanzanian students a year older, they also have a year's worth of extra education when they start university in Canada. Most Canadian universities give out credits to A Level and IB students whose grades meet a certain requirement. These credits count towards the degree program and reduce the total number of courses required to graduate from the degree program. Depending on the choice of degree, grades at high school and choice of university, a student can get up to a whole semester's worth of course credits.

The Canadian University system has 3 and 4 year degree programs at the undergraduate level. The 3 year programs tend to be Bachelors programs while the 4 year programs tend to be Honours and specialized Honours programs. The Honours and specialized Honours programs tend to have higher grade requirements and more course requirements than the Bachelors program. Switching between the Bachelors and Honours program is possible as long as the requirements set out by the university are met.

Most, if not, all universities in Canada have on-campus accommodation for students who wish to live on campus. The cost of on campus accommodation is typically somewhat higher than off campus accommodation but is usually recommended for first year students, especially international students, who are in the country for the first time.

Tanzanian citizens wishing to study in Canada need a study permit; this can be obtained from the Canadian High Commission. The process takes approximately 3 months and is not guaranteed to result in a permit; however there are high chances of acceptance if all conditions and requirements for the study permit are met. Once a study permit has been issued, the student can study in a Canadian university or college for the duration of the permit. Most permits are renewable.

During their studies in Canada, most international students are eligible to work off campus after completion of the first 6 months of classes. This is subject to some restrictions such as minimum course load and maximum work hours. However it does give students an opportunity to gain hands on experience in their field and to build their skill sets.

Studying in Canada is a great option but the most important part is finding a degree program that you will enjoy and a university that is right for you!

Zainab Alidina (

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