Student Life in Canada
What is student life like at Canadian universities?
While Canadian public institutions are well-known for their top quality of academics, much of the university experience - and the learning - takes place outside of the classroom.
Residence life: we strongly recommend first-year students stay on campus. It is a much easier adjustment and an amazing opportunity to make friends with Canadians and new students from all over the world.
Student Societies/Clubs: There is a wide variety of clubs and societies to join, e.g Model United Nations, debate club, future Doctors, Engineers without Borders, and so many more.
Sports: Many institutions offer sports at various levels from highly competitive with matches against other institutions, to casual (called intramural) where the focus is on fun and campus opportunities:.
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What is the weather like? Will I freeze?
Canada has four seasons in all parts of the country, with varying duration of summers and winters. Most Canadians live in the southern part of Canada bordering on the U.S.A. Many zones in Canada (e.g. southern Ontario, southern B.C.) have milder winters than many zones in the USA (e.g. Minnesota, North Dakota). So, hey! Winter is just one of four beautiful seasons that we have!
With proper clothing, cold weather is easier to manage than extremely hot weather. Outdoors, one can always add another layer of clothing to feel warmer, but if it’s too hot we cannot do anything.
Indoors, everywhere in Canada has climate controls: shopping malls, public transportation and so on. Newer cars now have technology to start them to warm up before entering them and many come with heated seats.
The temperature indoors is usually set to about 21 or 22 C degrees. As Canadian homes and offices have central heating and air-conditioning, in any home, families can adjust the temperature to the setting they most prefer at any time.
Can I bring my partner and children to Canada? What rights will they have?
Any student may be accompanied by a spouse, including a same-sex spouse, and also by children. As almost all Canadians study free of cost in a public kindergarten to grade 12 (or in Québec, kindergarten to CEGEP) system, usually the children of an international student will also be permitted to study free of cost.
However, if a student is going to be accompanied by a spouse or also children, then the Canadian government will expect stronger proof of savings. This is because, although a spouse of an international student can usually get a work permit, the Canadian government has no guarantee that the spouse will work and earn income.
What are the differences between studying and living in big cities, compared to smaller cities? Is the immigration process different ?
Some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, where Halifax is located, or sections of certain provinces have extra immigration opportunities. This is because the Canadian government is trying to encourage more population movement to these regions.
The main differences between big cities and smaller cities relate to personal preferences in terms of living standards: the quality of housing, food and general essential services.
Big cities may have certain specialized entertainment like professional sports teams, and big centres for theatre or film.
Smaller cities often have important advantages such as being able to live on or near the campus, cheaper living costs, friendlier communities, and more focus on campus life.
CUAC counsellors look to get to know the student to determine not only what are suitable program and institution choices but also a suitable centre for study.