5 Tips on being an International Student in Canada: A story of a challenging and rewarding experience

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It has been 4 months since I got back from Canada, and I feel like I’ve lived a quick dream, it doesn’t seem like I spent 16 months living abroad. Time flies by! It may not seem like this, but it is the truth. So, enjoy your time as much as you can while studying overseas. Here are my 5 tips on being an international student in Canada based on my awesome experience studying agriculture at theUniversity of Guelph in Ontario:

1) The winter: How to talk about Canada and not mention the (long) winter?!! For me, it was a great experience! I used to love seeing everything covered by snow, even more when it was those days with a blue sky… such a beautiful view!! By the way, sometimes during the winter you’ll look through the window and think that it’s a sunny and hot day, but don’t trust that, you’ll still need a good pair of winter boots and coat. During the winter, there are some trips to go snowboarding or skiing that you should try, just take care, the first and only time I went snowboarding I fell down and sprained my wrist. Overall, I’m sure you’ll successfully get through the winter, no need to worry!

2) Share your culture: Other than the winter, there is always a warm welcome when we say we are Brazilians. They love us! So, you will no longer feel homesick or alone, you’re going to meet people from all over the world! You’re going to learn so much from them and teach them so much about Brazil! Besides, making friends with people from other cultures is an important way to improve your English.

3) Build your networks: I strongly suggest the importance of making networks. You’ll get an internship and will have classes with fantastic professors, so talk to them and show your interest, show what you’re truly capable of because many doors may open up for you. For instance, I’ve kept in touch with a professor who I did an internship with while studying at the University of Guelphand I met him last week here in Brasilia (he was here for some meetings) to discuss my monograph, which will be based on the data from that internship. How awesome is that?!

4) Try the food: Believe it or not the type of cuisine that I ate a lot in Canada was actually Japanese! OMG!! I used to eat twice a month in “all you can eat” Japanese restaurants. An interesting detail: they use avocado in their sushi; I loved it!

5) Be active: I have a passion for running. There are lots of races in Canada that I wish I could have participated in, especially the “Spartan Race” and the “Terry Fox Run”, this last one is to raise money for the cancer foundation. Being active while you are a student is very important, so whether it is playing a sport you already know, or trying a new Canadian sport, I highly recommend being active – it will help you make friends and can even help your grades by relieving stress!

I could continue to write much more about my Canadian experience. No doubt that this opportunity was the wisest decision I have ever made in my life. The memories from my exchange will always be full of beautiful places, amazing trips, excellent professors, cold winters, and nice people.

Credits to CBIE

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Educating Global Citizens

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International Experience

What are Canadian colleges doing to prepare the next generation of young Canadians to work and prosper in the global economy? Quite a lot, says Paul Brennan, vice president, international partnerships for Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). “We live in a globalized world Canadian colleges are preparing students to be global professionals, entrepreneurs and international citizens in two ways. The first is by inviting foreign students to mix, mingle and learn at institutions here in Canada. The second is by offering Canadian students the opportunity to study and/or work abroad. International study programs help students develop cross-cultural skills and the ability to work in multicultural environments. It’s good for the students, and it’s good for the economy. “Eurowith linked economies, cross-border problems and an increasing number of jobs that take you around the world,” says Mr. Brennan. “At the same time, we have people from abroad coming to Canada to do business. In this global market, international experience and understanding is critical to success.” pean research indicates that students who take part in these programs have better job prospects and move up in organizations faster that those who do not,” he says. Humber College in Toronto has a distinguished history of engaging in international initiatives going back to the 1970s, says Diane Simpson, dean of international. “Humber’s internationalization strategy is very important in a city like Toronto because it’s so globally connected,” she says.

Courtesy of CIC – Colleges and Institutes Canada

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Why Study in Canada?

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After asking 1000 international student what their top reasons for studying in Canada were, we are able to provide some of the most popular answers!

#12 Financial support

Students told us that the cost to study in Canada is low compared with some other countries, and that scholarships from their institutions were really helpful. Search Canadian university and college scholarships here.

#11 Career opportunities

Many students are getting a head start on their careers by working on-campus and off. Students also said that they were able to grow industry contacts in Canada through co-op placements and field trips.

#10 Skills-building

In addition to the knowledge of their field of study, we heard that students are building marketable skills including writing skills, teamwork, critical-thinking, presentation and communication skills.

#9 Hands-on learning

Many students told us that studying in Canada provided them with a unique opportunity to undertake practical learning. This learning is made possible by having access to cutting-edge technology and laboratories on campus, as well as opportunities to interact directly with instructors and participate in research teams and practicums.

#8 Student activities

Outside of class international students told us they can participate in activities and have ample opportunity to learn about and enjoy Canadian culture.

#7 Services and supports

Canadian communities and campuses received rave reviews from students with regard to services and supports such as public transit, healthcare, academic support and more.

#6 English and French

Be it French or English, many students said that they improved their language skills in Canada. Many more told us just how awesome and unique it was to be living in a bilingual country.

#5 Independence, responsibility and self-confidence

For many students, living and studying in Canada is their first time away from home. Students told us that living in a safe and supportive place like Canada has helped them to experience independence for the first time, growing their sense of responsibility and self-confidence in the world.

#4 Canada’s quality of life

Canada has a fantastic environment with clean and safe cities and wilderness. For many students, the quality of life in Canada is what they have enjoyed the most.

#3 Diversity on campus

When you choose to study in Canada, you are choosing one of the most diverse countries in the world. Canada’s universities and colleges are hubs of global learning – students told us that they really enjoy learning about different cultures and international perspectives as they learn.

#2 Warm welcome

Canadians have a reputation for being very polite. In addition to politeness, many students told us that they received a warm welcome from their community in Canada, including neighbours, classmates, instructors, homestay families and even strangers on the street. Some even told us that they felt immediately at home studying in Canada (this is too much!)

#1 Reason to choose Canada: A great education

All of the reasons we were given above contribute to exceptional learning, but students emphasized that their time in class, in the library with their study group, and working on their projects was the most rewarding thing about coming to Canada. Some aspects of Canadian education that students really wanted to highlight was the world-class teaching – interactive, accessible instructors, the prestige of a Canadian degree around the world, and the flexibility of programs which encourage interdisciplinary studies, developing deeper cross-cutting expertise.

Coutesy of CBIE – Canadian Bureau of International Education

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Canada Internationalization

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A significant majority of Canadian universities – 82% – now place internationalization among their top five strategic priorities, says a new survey of Canada’s degree-granting institutions. This represents a 5% increase over a previous survey in 2006, and leads a broad set of findings that all clearly point to an increasing emphasis on international programmes and services among the country’s higher education institutions.

When asked to identify their main reasons for prioritising internationalisation, 53% of Canadian universities say that “preparing internationally knowledgeable and interculturally competent graduates” is their top motivation. The other most-cited reasons are “building strategic alliances and partnerships with key institutions abroad, promoting an internationalised campus, increasing the university’s global profile, and generating revenue.”

The survey was carried out by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) in May 2014 and generated an 80% response rate among the 97 universities and degree-granting colleges within the AUCC membership. AUCC released its detailed findings in December 2014.

“Not since our last survey in 2006 has there been such a comprehensive view of AUCC member institutions’ engagement with the world beyond our borders,” said Paul Davidson, AUCC’s president and CEO. “The responding institutions together represent more than 85% of all Canadian university students and perform roughly 92% of the university research funded by federal research granting agencies.”

The big picture

As the following chart reflects, boosting student mobility – both inbound and outbound – remains the top priority of Canadian institutions. A full 45% of respondents indicated that undergraduate recruitment was their top priority, and a further 7% noted graduate recruitment as their top international goal. While “expanding outbound mobility” was noted as the top priority by only 4% of respondents, a notable 74% of responding institutions also cited it as a top-five priority.

Building international partnerships, whether for joint programmes, collaborative research, or otherwise, is the second broad priority focus of many Canadian institutions. The preceding chart shows a number of different categories of collaborative initiative that, in combination, make up the top priority for 37% of survey respondents.

Internationalisation priorities of Canadian higher education institutions, 2014. Source: AUCC

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Popular Student Destinations

Because of its geographic size and the number of educational institutions, Ontario attracts the largest number of international students amongst all provinces and territories.  It takes almost 40% of all international students in Canada.  Although British Columbia only accounts for about 13% of the national population, it accounts for about 28% of the international students in the country, indicating the popularity of the province as an education destination.

Source : Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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Permanent residency in numbers

In 2012, 7,797 international students from across Canada transitioned to permanent residency (PR). In that same year, over 265,000 international students were present.

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They come… and they stay!

Between 2003 and 2012, the number of students present in Canada grew by 66% from 159,425 to 265,404. This suggests students are staying in Canada for longer periods of time.

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What happens after school?

Graduates may apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit upon completion of a post-secondary degree program which took at least 8 months to complete; graduates whose programs lasted two years or more may qualify for an open work permit for a max of 3 years. This allows graduates to gain the Canadian work experience needed to transition to permanent residence.

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Wheres everyone coming from?!

The top five source countries of international students for Canada in 2012 were China (22%), India (12%), South Korea (8%), France (5%) and the United States (5%). Top countries for BC in 2012 were China (28%), South Korea (13%), Japan (8%), India (7%), and Mexico (5%).

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Canada’s International Student History In Numbers

Shown in the table below we can see how far international studies in Canada has come. Notable mentions would go to University Studies which generally represent half of all International Students. The overall amount of students making Canada their new home has almost doubled in the last 10 years. Finally Other post secondary education as much as tippling in the last decade.

International students stats

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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