Canada is a country of incredible physical beauty. It possesses rich and diverse cultural heritage. Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. Students who come to Canada will witness one of the most beautiful, natural environments in the world.
Canada is also a country of diverse geography, and there is much to experience in its great outdoors: from the lush coastline, the majestic Rocky Mountains, the big skies of the prairies, to the 'maple sugar country' in the Great Lakes and rugged hills. Canada's safe, clean, cosmopolitan cities sit adjacent to spectacular mountains, oceans and lakes. Almost 25% of the world's fresh water is in Canada. Canadians enjoy 4 distinct climatic seasons, particularly in the more populated regions along the USA border. Daytime summer temperatures can rise to 35° C and higher, while winters can get as low as -25° C. Spring and fall seasons have more moderate temperatures. World-class theater, music, restaurants, cultural and sporting events (including cricket) can be enjoyed here year-round. Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages, English and French. Internationally, it is estimated that some 800 million people speak English and 250 million speak French.
Canada was ranked for nine consecutive years by the United Nations to be among the top 3 countries in the world in which to live and study out of 174 countries. Also, the Human Development Index survey consistently ranked Canada number one for a variety of reasons including its excellent education systems, high quality health care, low incidence of crime and clean environment
Hostelling is a temporary and inexpensive way to stay in major cities. Accommodation is basic but economical, and primary facilities (toilets, baths and kitchens) are shared. Rates are calculated daily, and costs are less than other accommodation choices.
Average cost of a room in a hostel: $10 - $20 CDN per night.
The YWCA/YMCA hotels are also inexpensive, clean, safe and comfortable. Many of these establishments also have pools and fitness centres. Keep in mind, though, that hostels and YWCA/YMCAs fill up quickly during the summer months, so you should plan ahead. Average cost of a room in a YWCA/YMCA: $24 - $45 CDN per night.
Many schools have accommodation conveniently located on or near their campus. Rooms can vary in size and in quality, and many dormitories have shared kitchens, toilets, showers and laundry facilities. There is usually an option of having either a shared or private room, and dormitories are usually separated by gender. In some cases, there are cafeterias and meal plans that can be included in the cost of the room. Most dormitories come furnished, and are an ideal way to become involved in campus activities and meet other students.
Average cost of residence/dormitory rooms: $3,000 - $7,500 CDN per school year. For more information, contact the school you will be attending.
Many Canadian families welcome international students. This may be an effective way for you learn about daily life in Canada, and meet new, friendly people. Home stays also offer a more stable and secure environment for younger people coming to study in Canada. Typically, a home stay consists of a Canadian family hosting a student in their home while the student attends classes in Canada. Meals and a private, furnished room are provided in the home, and the host family welcomes and encourages participation in family and community activities.
Average cost of home stay accommodation: $400 - $800 CDN per month.
Renting is an option open to students, but price, quality and availability vary greatly. Rents are often quite high in the major cities, and places are not always available. Many students share accommodation to keep costs down and usually find places to meet their needs and preferences. Many schools offer an off-campus housing service, which can provide affordable listings that are near the campus. At this service centre, those seeking shared accommodations can also find roommates. Once on campus, you will often find a variety of postings throughout the campus advertising nearby housing, but it is always best to make arrangements before coming to Canada.
There are different types of places you can rent as an international student. A house is usually too expensive for one student to rent, but many students share or rent suites (a self-contained unit with a kitchen, toilet, bath and bedroom) within a larger home. Apartments are another option, where one has a kitchen, toilet, bath, and one or two bedrooms. Most rental apartments do not include furniture or meals. Some, however, include the cost of heat and/or electricity in the rent.
Listings of available apartments or homes are published in local newspapers. It is the responsibility of the student to determine suitability as schools do not inspect these places nor can they make any other arrangements. Most landlords require a damage deposit and rent is paid on a monthly basis in cash or by Cheque.
Public education in Canada is provided free to all Canadians who meet various age and residence requirements. Each province and territory has one or two departments/ministries responsible for education, headed by a minister who is almost always an elected member of the legislature and appointed to the position by the government leader of the jurisdiction.
According to Statistics Canada data, there are approximately 15,500 schools in Canada:
Canada has 163 recognized public and private universities (including theological schools) and 183 recognized public colleges and institutes, including those granting applied and bachelor's degrees. In addition to the recognized institutions, there are 68 university-level institutions and 51 college-level ones operating as authorized institutions, at which only selected programs are approved under provincially established quality assurance programs.
Publicly funded universities are largely autonomous; they set their own admissions standards and degree requirements and have considerable flexibility in the management of their financial affairs and program offerings. Government intervention is generally limited to funding, fee structures, and the introduction of new programs. Most Canadian universities have a two-tiered system of governance that includes a board of governors and a senate. Boards are generally charged with overall financial and policy concerns. Academic senates are responsible for programs, courses, admission requirements, qualifications for degrees, and academic planning. Their decisions are subject to board approval. Students are often represented on both bodies, as are alumni and representatives from the community at large.