Study abroad: Choosing a University in Canada

What are the best universities in Canada? Learn why Vietnamese choose Canada to study abroad and the pathway to Canada Immigration.

Canada is home to 572,415 study permit holders. There are many reasons to study in Canada such as job opportunities, low costs, and ease of Canadian immigration. Canada is currently ranked as one of the 3 best countries to study abroad by U.S. New World Report. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognizes it as one of the best countries to study.

Every year, thousands of Vietnamese choose Canada to study abroad. Canadian statistics estimate there are 20,000 Vietnamese students currently studying in Canada. Canadians are now recognizing Vietnamese students as one of the fastest growing foreign student groups. With thousands of educational options available including universities, colleges, and language programs, how does one choose which institution is right for them? Here is a guide on choosing where to study in Canada:

Top Canadian Universities to study abroad

Generally speaking, the level of education you receive at the universities in Canada is standardized and regulated in each province. So, you can expect a similar level of quality education across the country. That being said, there are a few universities that stand out as being exceptional and globally recognized. According to the 2019 QS World University Rankings, Canada has 3 of the top 50 world’s best universities. They are: the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia.

Study abroad at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is currently the top ranked universities in Canada
The University of Toronto

Prestigious Programs: Research and innovation

The University of Toronto is currently the top ranked universities in Canada. Located in Canada’s largest city, the university has a strong focus on research and innovation. For example, the University of Toronto is the birthplace of stem cell research, insulin, and the electron microscope. Students have the opportunity to learn from and work with leaders in their fields. They can also access a global network of teachers, researchers, and alumni. Degrees from the University of Toronto are highly regarded by employers. Employment surveys rank the University of Toronto among the world’s best, which means great job prospects after graduation.

Study abroad at the McGill University

McGill University is ranked second in Canada
McGill University

Prestigious Programs: Engineering, Medicine, and Sciences

Ranked second in Canada is McGill University. Based in Montreal, Canada’s second biggest city, McGill is very popular among international students. Thousands of foreign students attend every year. Employers consider a degree from McGill extremely valuable. They have a high education to employment turnover rate. It’s mainly because of their well-respected faculties of engineering, medicine and sciences. Montreal is also a great destination for students and ranked #1 as “Best Student Cities” in the world by QS World University Rankings, primarily because of its diversity in culture, safety and affordability.

Study abroad at the University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is ranked third in Canada
University of British Columbia

Prestigious Programs: Geography, Engineering, and Kinesiology

Finally there’s the University of British Columbia. Among the universities in Canada, this school also has a great reputation with employers across the country. Their most recognized faculties include: geography, mineral and mining engineering, and sports-related subjects. The University of British Columbia is one of the best schools in Canada, and in the world. Its two campuses are located in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. The first campus is located in Vancouver, one of Canada’s most culturally diverse and beautiful cities. The second campus is located in Okanagan, which lies in the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range. The University of British Columbia includes state-of-the-art facilities such as their art, science and research facilities, as well as an Olympic ice hockey venue.

There are many more University options to study abroad. In 2019 there are 96 universities in Canada, all of which ensure a high standard of educational quality. Here is a list of all Canadian university options to help you in your research.

University Cost

Foreign students must pay “international fees” to study in Canada. However, even after considering international fees and cost of living, Canada has the lowest overall cost among developed countries. On average, international tuition plus fees for an undergraduate program is $20,000-30,000 CAD per year and $10,000-20,000 per year for post-graduate studies. Major factors in cost will be the location of the school or the field of study. Studying in larger metropolitan areas like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver will substantially increase your cost of living. Medicine and dentistry is also more expensive.

College Programs

Colleges are different than universities in Canada in a few important ways. Firstly, their programs are more practical, with work-study options being a common component. Typically, college programs are tied to the workforce needs of a particular region. This is great for students who want to gain practical work experience so that they can quickly enter the workforce.

Secondly, programs are generally short, which means a student will be work-ready in 1 or 2 years. Also, Canadian college programs are widely recognized by Canadian universities, meaning that credits can be easily transferred if someone decides they want to complete a full degree later on.

Other benefits of Canadian colleges include smaller class sizes, cheaper tuition than universities, and more language learning opportunities for newcomers. All of this makes colleges in Canada a very attractive choice for Vietnamese who want to study in Canada. Colleges in Canada are registered and searchable, which makes choosing and getting specific information easy.

Colleges are very popular among international students. For example, New Brunswick Community College’s (NBCC) international student enrollment has increased by 60% in the last 10 years with students coming from over 30 countries. Locally trained and work-ready, 88% of their graduates find jobs within one year. It’s yet another reason many Vietnamese choose Canada to study abroad.

Colleges are very popular among international students
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What About English

Most universities in Canada and colleges have a minimum language requirement for admission. Typically they require a score of at least 6.5 from The International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Others may only mandate a 5.5. In some cases, students can submit proof of previous English education instead of test results. Each school in Canada has its own rules and programs.

Luckily, since Canadian immigration is an important part of the economy, most colleges and universities offer some sort of language bridging program. Institutions offer English preparation courses for newcomers as a groundwork that is specific to their actual studies. The program at the University of New Brunswick is a great example. There are also a number of dedicated English fluency programs, which can be found at the college level by searching by “English” or “language” on the Colleges and Institutes Canada website. Many universities also offer English as a Second Language training. These are great options for those specifically looking to study English in Canada.

Many Choices to study abroad

Selecting a school in Canada is not an easy task. In fact, there are many factors to consider such as language levels, regions in Canada, types of programs, costs, job opportunities, and a school’s reputation. While Canada is a great place to learn, it requires a little research on the part of the applicant to figure out where to study. Education remains a great pathway to Canadian Immigration.