Life as an International Student in Canada: What to Expect?

Canada is one of the top destinations in the world for international students who want to pursue higher education abroad. But what makes it so? Offering a high-quality education no matter which one you choose among the 100+ in the country, a multicultural and welcoming environment, and a variety of opportunities for career and personal growth, life as an international student in Canada can be pretty exciting. Of course, studying in a different country can be a challenge for anyone, even if it’s a place as pristine as Canada.

Thus, in this blog, we will share some insider knowledge from Canada education consultants on what to expect and how to prepare for your Canadian adventure.

Table of Contents

  1. What to Expect as an International Student in Canada
    1. Apply for a Study Permit
    2. Plan your Budget
    3. Prepare for the Weather
    4. Learn About the Culture
  2. What to Do After Arriving in Canada?
    1. Find a Place to Live
    2. Get Health Insurance
    3. Open a Bank Account
    4. Register for Classes
  3. Explore Your Surroundings
  4. FAQs

What to Expect as an International Student in Canada

As an international student in Canada, there will be a lot of activities to look forward to. However, before you get on the plane to Canada, here are some things Canada education consultants want you to know about. Before you go:

Apply for a Study Permit

International students require a valid study permit to study in Canada for over six months. This can be applied for online or through a visa application centre in your country. Check the requirements and processing times on the Government of Canada website and produce the necessary documents depending on your situation:

  • Proof of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Proof of financial support.

Plan your Budget

Studying in Canada can be expensive, as you will need to pay for tuition fees, living expenses, health insurance, books, and other costs. Especially if you are not eligible for scholarships, the average cost of studying in Canada for an international student is around CAD 30,000 per year. Of course, the total estimated costs made by Canada education consultants will vary depending on the province, the institution, and the program. For example, Toronto is the most expensive city in Canada, followed by Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. Similarly, private universities will cost more than public universities, and postgraduate and STEM programs more than regular undergraduate courses.

Prepare for the Weather

Canada is known for its cold and snowy winters, which can last from November to March – some parts of Northern Canada get only 2 months of summer. Fortunately, people mostly live in the south, which is warmer, with summers even getting hot and humid. Canada also experiences frequent rainfall, with an average of 7 days of rain in a month. While this makes for serene weather that attracts many, it can be a bit of a shock for us Indians, which is why Canada education consultants always advise us to pack warm clothes in advance.

Learn About the Culture

Canada is a multicultural country, where people from different ethnic backgrounds, following different religions, speaking different languages, and leading different lifestyles in general, live together in harmony. People are very polite, and take values like tolerance, equality, and human rights very seriously. Both English and French are spoken widely, and so is Hindi, as a large population of Indian immigrants also call Canada their home.

What to Do After Arriving in Canada?

One thing you’ll notice as soon as you arrive in the country is that not even the best study abroad consultants in India can mentally prepare you to live in a foreign country, as listing the challenges that might pop up to dealing with them when they do is a whole other experience.  When you arrive:

Find a Place to Live

Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose either on-campus or off-campus accommodation. Living on-campus in a condominium or a dormitory is preferred by most students, as it saves money while offering access to campus facilities like cafeterias, libraries, gyms, and laundry rooms. The social life and communities that are built on campus are another reason on-campus housing is preferred by Canada education consultants.

Living off-campus usually means renting a shared apartment, though you can even live alone if you want more privacy. Sharing apartments with other students is always the better idea, as you’ll have people to share chores like getting laundry, groceries, etc. The other option is homestay, where you’ll be living with a family and be provided three meals a day, and also your room. According to Canada education consultants, most Canadian universities will help you find off-campus housing.

Get Health Insurance

Health care in Canada is not free for international students. Hence, having health insurance to cover the costs of medical services and treatments in case of illness or injury is advised by the best Canada education consultants in India. Some provinces offer public health insurance plans for international students, while others require you to purchase private health insurance plans from providers like or Ingle International. Check the health insurance options for your province on the Government of Canada website or ask us at TopUniAdmit to find them for you.

Open a Bank Account

Having a local account in Canada will make transactions easier for you, and avoid conversion fees. Also, if you choose to work while studying later on (Canada allows students to work up to 20 hours usually, and up to 40 hours during the holidays), having an account at a Canadian bank will help shorten that process. To open a bank account in Canada, you will need to provide your:

  • Passport
  • Study permit
  • Proof of address (such as a lease agreement or a utility bill), and sometimes
  • Student ID card or letter of acceptance.

Register for Classes

Once you arrive at your institution, register for the courses that you want to take during your academic term from the course catalogue online or consult with an academic advisor to choose the electives that suit your interests or goals. Then, pay the tuition fees by the deadline set by your institution.

Explore Your Surroundings

Finally, after all is said and done, take in your surroundings. Canada is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world for international students, as it remains under layers of white pristine snow for most of the year. Walk to the nearest pub or restaurant, and check out why squeaky cheese is important for good poutine. Or have fresh pancakes or waffles with maple syrup.

Whether you are drawn to the big nature – mountains, lakes, and forests that Canada has plenty to offer, or the city life – Jazz Festival, Curling, music, nightlife, etc., Canada education consultants always say that the country has something to offer for everyone.


1. How is life for Indian students in Canada?

Indian students have a great experience in Canada, as the country allows them to work while studying, saving up money and gaining work experience. There are plenty of Indian people in Canada too, so students can expect cheap homestays and great Indian food.

2. Which city has the highest Indian population in Canada?

Montreal has the highest population of Indians in Canada. If we take into account both students and residents.

3. Is travel expensive in Canada?

Yes, Canada is a vast country, so travel by air can be a bit expensive. However, students can avail of a transportation pass that lets them travel by various modes of public transportation for free to cut down on expenses.

4.  Are there a lot of foreign people in Canada?

Yes, Canada has more than 8.3 million foreign residents, as of 2021.

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