Canada is one of the best places in the world to pursue higher education or to perfect your English at one of the many international languages schools. Why, you may ask?
• International reputation of its educational institutions
• Low cost of living and education fees compares with U.K., Australia, or New York / L.A.
• Major cities in Canada are very safe and have some of the lowest crime rate in the world.
• Great quality of life with many international restaurants, bars, pubs, amazing shopping malls
• Friendly people and diverse ethnicity
While winters can be cold and long they offer a unique experience for anyone who never experienced the Canadian winter and the many outdoor activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, or just tobogganing down the slopes…
Because of the long winter Canadians love to be in the outdoors during the summer months whether biking on the numerous city trails, taking part in the many International festivals, or just hanging out at the beautiful green parks.
OK, you sold me on Canada. What should I do next?
Well here are some links (Google the terms) to government agencies web sites where you can find great information on obtaining a study permit and the procedure to follow:
Citizenship and immigration Canada. Immigration (Quebec)
In order to obtain a student visa you must have been accepted at a recognised school, University, or College in Canada.
Now if you are only planning to take a language course for a short period of time, of less than six months, you do NOT need a study permit. You can always apply for student permit at a later date by travelling outside Canada to the US, or any other Canadian Embassy in the world.
How do I find the right school?
This is a great web site providing a list of schools in Canada (The schools at the top of the list are sponsors and are not any better than any other schools.) studyincanada dot com.
Look at every school’s web site. Read what programs they offer, what set them apart, and what are the acceptance requirements for each program. Ask your friends or anyone you know that studied in Canada.
How do I find the right language school?
There are many languages schools in Canada to choose from. They all offer great English language programs and provide a wonderful experience. First choose the city you will like to study in. Vancouver’s winter weather is less harsh however cost of living is high. Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and has a major airport hub. City offers a large selection of schools, and students from major international cities will feel at home. Montreal offers a unique experience of a bilingual city and an opportunity to learn some French and English. Cost of living in Montreal is among the lowest in North America and consequently a very fun city to live in.
In most cases, language schools are privately funded schools though some publicly-funded colleges and universities run their own language schools. Compare the cost of every school, check if they offer any English exams preparation courses. Check if they are located in or close to the city center (downtown)
International students in Canada must purchase private medical insurance to cover for unexpected illness or emergency hospital expenses. Most colleges and languages schools will sell student medical insurance at an extra cost. Another option is to purchase medical insurance directly from a travel insurance broker in Canada such as this one.
Some schools offer homestay or short-term residences. Now homestay can be a great experience if you are lucky enough to stay with a nice family which is not always the case and you are not guaranteed to be staying in the downtown area. You can always find short-term or long-term accommodations on Craigslist or you can go with the ones recommended by the schools or people you know.
For transportation from and to the airport, it is recommended to visit the airport web site and search for additional information. Off course taxis are always available at every major airport. Public transportation such as buses or trains can take you downtown or to some specific hotels from where you can take a taxi to your specific address and save some money.
The author Dror Amar is a financial advisor with over 20 years of experience at GCA Financial Services [http://www.iassurancevie.com] an independent life, disability, critical illness, and travel insurance broker.