Life in Canada as an International Student


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Apr 13, 2023 11:47 AM IST

International student life in Canada entails much more than the academic curriculum and offers multicultural diversity, vibrant cities, and a high standard of living. Read on to know all about life in Canada for Indian students.

Life in Canada as an International Student

Canada is regarded as one of the top-rated countries as study destinations for Indian students. Even international students enjoy almost every aspect of life in the country. From cultural diversity to hustling modernity, it is one of the dream destinations for students to study abroad.

The country has a list of the world's best universities that offer world-class education. It also provides reasonable accommodation and transport facilities, which is why many international students prefer Canada as a study destination. International student life in Canada is as exciting as can be expected. Students learn to adapt to an entirely different environment and people and experience cultural diversity.

The reasons that a huge influx of international students come to Canada for higher education each year include vibrant cities, improved career prospects, intercultural diversity, and excellent quality of life. The lifestyle in Canada is stimulating and gratifying for international students due to the low cost of living when compared to various other nations.

To keep international students engaged with Canadian culture, Canadian colleges and universities are brimming with top-notch resources for sports, extracurricular activities, and cultural programming.

The quality of education, food, tuition fees, accommodation costs, city and social life, culture and languages are all important factors in international student life in Canada. This article is a thorough reference for learning everything about what life in Canada for Indian students looks like.

Cost of Living in Canada as an International Student

International students who are aspiring to study in Canada must also remain aware of the cost of living in the country. For Indian students, Canada can give them a more home-country-like feeling. Apart from providing quality education, Canada is known for its cheaper cost of living compared to other countries. To live a student life in Canada, students may need between CAD 15,000 to CAD 30,000 yearly.

Check out the table below for a breakdown of different kinds of expenses while studying in Canada:


Annual Cost (in CAD)



Travel Costs


Health Insurance






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Scholarship or Financial Support for Canada

International students are eligible to apply for Canadian scholarships or financial aid. However, the funding is not guaranteed. Each university or college has its own scholarship eligibility requirements. Mostly, scholarships are merit-based and financial aids are very few. Merit-based scholarships are usually for applicants with outstanding academic achievements and honours. To determine this, universities can ask for standardised exam scores as well.

Apart from this, students can opt for global or private scholarships which are disbursed by specific institutions. International applicants can also check the respective country's government websites for government-sponsored scholarships.

Various programmes offer funding packages that include scholarships or bursaries for graduate candidates studying in a Canadian university. Students can also contact their respective school's financial aid offices to know more about scholarships and financial aid requirements.

Study Permit for Canada

For a Canadian study permit, students require a letter of acceptance from a designated Canadian college or university. An applicant may get interviewed by a consular in their respective country or may need to get a medical exam or police certificate. To get approved to get a study permit in the country, the applicant needs to show proof of adequate funds to support them in Canada. He or she is required to have at least CAD 12,5859, apart from the tuition fees.

Candidates can open an account at a Canadian bank in their respective names, and show proof of funds. Proof of funds can be shown by submitting any of these documents:

  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

  • Acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

  • Loan documents, if any

  • Bank statements

  • Sponsorship letters

How to get a Study Permit in Canada?

A study permit should be requested before travelling to Canada. Before applying, make sure you have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian institution of higher learning. Whether you are outside of Canada or are already in Canada, you should submit an online application for a study permit. Follow these quick steps to apply for a Canada study permit:

Step 1: Check the eligibility requirement

The first and foremost step is to check the eligibility requirement for a Canadian study permit. You will be required to have all the documents aforementioned to remain eligible for the permit.

Step 2: Prepare the application

Gather all the details and documents required to fill out the Canadian visa application. The immigration officer has the full right to refuse study permits so make sure you have all the required documents with you.

Step 3: Submit the application

You can either submit an electronic application or a paper-based application. If you are submitting a paper-based application, then you have to mail it to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) attaching all documents. For electronic applications, you need to create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and submit via the site.

Now all you have to do is to wait for the response. If your study permit gets approved you can freely come to Canada.

Related Reads:

Life in the USA as an International Student

Life in Germany as an International Student

Student Life in UK for Indian Students

Life in Australia as an International Student

Discover Canadian Culture and Leisure Activities

There are over 7 million people living in Canada who were born elsewhere in the world, which means they cover 22% of Canada's population itself. Canada is similar to India where the country values all cultures, ages, religions, abilities and talents. The country has two official languages - English and French, but over 200 languages are spoken here, including 60 Indigenous languages.

Talking about the food and cuisine, then you will get much more than just what you had thought - maple syrup and poutine. The aroma of meats, bagels, and tarts is going to make your mood happy all day long.

In terms of weather conditions, Canada is famous for its unimaginable visuals of white snow-covered areas during the winter season (November to March), though the biting cold also turns out to be a major problem for Indian students.

Canada is a popular destination in terms of leisure activities like bicycling, curling, reading, horseback riding, bowling, golfing, walking, skating, hiking, cooking, skiing, and swimming. The natives are far away from restricting themselves within the four bars. The localities are cheerful and fun-loving by nature, also manage money and never let their leisure activities get affected by anything. Some of them are fond of books, dining, weekends, movies, and exercise. International students can find a lot of things to explore while studying there.

International student life in Canada is much more than the academic curriculum. Know all about what life in Canada for students is like by watching the following video:

Finding Accommodation in Canada as an International Student

An important part of international student life in Canada is your peer group and the people you meet. Thus, choosing the right student accommodation in Canada is also crucial to your life. Many colleges offer to stay to international students in their hostel, however, if the institute has no such facility or if you do not prefer to stay at a hostel or dormitory, it is advisable to ask your institute's international student office or look for rooms to rent via advertisement or local people.

There are different types of accommodation available for international students in Canada:

  • Dormitories and Condominiums: It is a residence offered by the university itself with several bunk beds. While condominiums have over six single accommodation rooms with a kitchen and living room.

  • Shared apartments: This is an off-campus facility, where students can stay alone or with roommates. The universities in Canada can help find off-campus housing accommodations.

  • Homestay: This is a concept where students prefer to live with family. They are offered three meals a day along with an individual room. This can be treated as a far safer and better option for Indian students.

The cost of a room or apartment can range from CAD 5,000 to CAD 10,000 per year. This also depends on the facilities and the residence type. The cost of rent may get higher if you are planning to stay in Toronto and Montreal.

Accessing Healthcare in Canada as an International Student

Did you know that some Canadian provinces cover the medical costs of international students? Yes, you read that right. Some Canadian provinces have their own provincial health insurance plans for international students. However, some may also ask them to purchase health insurance.

There are several colleges and universities that offer international students their own mandatory insurance coverage. Though you may choose to reject it if proof of private health coverage is shown. The respective institute's authority will help the students to know about the process.

Students can also purchase private insurance from an insurance company. If they are working alongside their studies, then they may get insurance from their employer, or the best option would be to register themselves via your college for health insurance.

People who are in Canada without permanent residency or citizenship status will be needed to pay from their pocket if they fail to have insurance. There are also various immigration programmes that require temporary residents to have private health insurance till the time they are in Canada. Thus, one can easily say that setting up health insurance is one of the most important aspects of international student life in Canada.

Work While Studying in Canada as an International Student

We have often heard that native students in different countries earn side-by-side to manage pocket money or to afford utility bills. But it is a question, of whether international students can do the same while studying in other countries. The answer is yes, but with restrictions.

Generally, international students are allowed to work alongside studying within the campus only if their study permit allows them to work. It must be noted that international students can look for Part-Time Job Options in Canada only after their programme has started. The student's employer can be the respective school, a student organisation, or a private contractor that offers on-campus services.

International students can also run their businesses within the campus and can do more than one job. They are also allowed to work as many hours as they can, but before that, they have to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). During vacations or breaks like summer and winter holidays, or during reading week, the students can work full-time off-campus.

To remain eligible to work in Canada, candidates are required to have a valid work permit. They should be enrolled in a full-time course at a Canadian university, additionally, they also must have enrolled themselves in academic or professional programmes with a duration of over six months. A student can also work without a work permit, however, only during their winter or summer vacation and on or off-campus employment system.

Students who wish to work after completing their education in Canada, require a post-graduate work permit, also known as PGWP in Canada.

Apart from this, Indian graduates are favoured by Canadian firms especially is certain industries like cryptocurrency, Gaming, Technology and more. Check out this article on Top 5 Fastest Growing Industries in Canada for Indian Graduates for more details.

Travelling within Canada as an International Student

In terms of transport facilities, Canada has a high-capacity multimodal transportation system. The country's transportation consists of public transportation facilities such as cars, buses, subways, streetcars, metro, Link Train, and light rail trains.

These facilities connect cities in Canada and they are way too affordable compared to other foreign countries. As per research, a monthly transport pass costs around CAD 190.24, Bus tickets, single-use cost CAD 4.09, and taxi tariffs, 1 km cost around CAD 2.52. The country has three rapid trains that are operated on a daily basis. They are the Montreal metro, Vancouver sky train, and Toronto Subway.

Benefits of Becoming an International Student in Canada

Being an international student in Canada has many perks, from the various on-campus programmes for integrating students to the immigration programmes aimed at assisting with applications for permanent residency. It is also impossible to dispute Canada's reputation for high-quality education!

Governments and educational institutions are implementing various strategies to strengthen the student experience as the number of international students in Canada soars. These initiatives aim to make it simpler for interested international students to live and work in the nation after completing their academic programmes.

Assisted English as a Second Language (ESL) is among the many programmes that most universities and colleges provide to help international students fit into various campus communities. For those foreign students who exhibit strong academic performance, many schools additionally provide some competitive financial help.

The Canadian federal and provincial governments both provide a variety of immigration programmes to support international students in making the transition from the temporary residence after graduation to permanent residence. These programmes are in addition to those intended to help students in school.

In the end, the Canadian lifestyle is no wonder enriching. International students may get things and stuff quickly settled with the availability of almost every essential service in the country. The living costs are also in a decent range. Canadian universities and colleges are focused on world-class facilities and activities like sports, extracurricular activities, and cultural programs to keep international students intrigued by Canadian culture.

Overall, international student life in Canada is full of opportunities and learning. Not only do students learn individualism but also the benefits of networking. Canadians are generally friendly people, so it is quite easy for international students to settle and mingle with Canadian culture and activities.

Confused about what international student life in Canada entails? Or, got doubts to ask our study abroad experts? Write to us at to get your questions answered as soon as possible!

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Is Canada safe for Indian students?

Absolutely, Canada is safe for Indian students as well as every international student studying at Canadian universities. In terms of safety for living and studying abroad, Canada ranks sixth on the Global Peace Index 2018. To manage the safety of foreign students, these universities have established international and security departments.

Is life in Canada for international students good?

Yes, life in Canada for international students is considered good. International students can enjoy quality education in this friendly nation. In terms of providing top-notch education and enhancing student life in Canada, Canadian institutions consistently rank among the finest in the world. All of these benefits make Canada an attractive choice for international students, along with a high standard of living.

What problems do international students face in Canada?

After graduating, the majority of overseas students choose to seek permanent residency (PR) in Canada. Lack of understanding of the local labour market and trouble locating jobs more suited to their subject of study are two prevalent problems, though. As per a study, more than 56% of international students struggle with job search issues, and 70% of foreign job searchers fail to land a position in their field of study.

Which part-time jobs pay the most in Canada?

There are three types of jobs that pay the most in Canada: On-campus jobs, off-campus jobs, and co-op placements or internships. The following are the part-time jobs that pay the most in Canada:

  • Administrative Office

  • Babysitter

  • Bookstore

  • Cafeteria

  • Campus Guide

  • Cashier

  • Customer service

  • Dog walker

  • Driver

  • Freelancer

  • Library

  • Personal Tutor

  • Server/ Bartender at restaurants

  • Teaching Assistant

  • Tech Support

  • Translator

For more information, check out the Highest Paying Jobs in Canada for International Students.

Which city is best for Indian students to live in Canada?

Canada being one of the most welcoming countries for international students has different cities providing a good quality of life. Four Canadian cities have been listed within the top 100 by QS Best Student Cities 2022. Not just in Canada but also in North America, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa are at the top of the list of the best cities for Indian students to live in Canada.

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