Living in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces
and three territories. Located in the northern part of the
continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the
Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It
is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's
common border with the United States to the south and northwest is
the longest in the world.
In its short history, Canada has grown into a knowledge-based
nation with world-class governance, corporations, culture and
lifestyle. Canada prides itself on its stunning natural attractions
and vast open spaces. Committed to education, the environment and
health care for all, Canadians look to the future with confidence
Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three
territories. In turn, these may be grouped into regions: Western
Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada (the
latter made up of the three territories: Yukon, Northwest
Territories, and Nunavut). Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada
and Atlantic Canada together. Provinces have more autonomy than
Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed
a first-rate education system with high standards. The country
spends more on education (as a percentage of GDP) compared to the
OECD average, and is the second highest among G-8 countries.
Canada has ranked as one of the top ten places to live in the
world since 1994 according to the United Nations (UN) and the
Economist Intelligence Unit. In the UN survey Canada earned
particularly high marks for its access to education, high life
expectancy (due to universal health care system); and low crime and
violence rates. In addition, Canada's largest cities -- Vancouver,
Toronto and Montreal -- have been recognized as world class cities
in which to live and work, for their cleanliness and safety and for
their cultural activities and attractive lifestyles.
Canada has traditionally been a country of immigrants and has a
policy of encouraging multicultural diversity. In this vibrant
setting, different perspectives are respected and learning together
is encouraged. Almost all of the world's ethnic groups are
represented in Canada. As a result, most ethnic foods and
recreational activities associated with specific cultures are
available in Canada. Clubs, informal clubs and associations
representing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds are also easily
accessible. International student advisors at schools can help
students get in touch with such groups. Canada's two official
languages are English and French.
All major urban centers have a variety of shopping malls,
restaurants, theatres, art galleries and museums. Canadian cities
provide numerous parks, gardens and beaches for public use, as well
as excellent sports and recreation facilities.
Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. There
are currently 42 national parks and national park reserves in
Canada. National parks are located in every province and territory,
and some have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each
province and territory has also designated areas as provincial
parks, wilderness areas, ecological and nature reserves. There are
over 2000 of these designated areas across the country.*
Students who come to Canada will witness one of the most
beautiful, natural environments in the world. Canada is also a
country of diverse geography, and there is much to experience in
its great outdoors: from the lush coastline of British Columbia,
the majestic Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the big skies of the
prairies, to the 'maple sugar country' in the Great Lakes and St.
Lawrence and the rugged hills and picturesque coastline of the
Canada is a stimulating environment in which to do business and
to learn, thanks to the contributions of many bright and talented
scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs. The country is an
international leader in computer and information technologies and
has a reputation for excellence in such sectors as
telecommunications, transportation and engineering; and
specifically, aerospace, urban transport, microelectronics, medical
devices, advanced software, hydroelectric and nuclear power, lasers
and opto-electronics, biotechnology, food and beverage processing,
geometrics; and ocean and environmental industries.
High points in Canada's telecommunications industry include
Teleglobe's CANTAT 3 cable, which is the first of its kind in the
world, and which supports high-speed and high-capacity delivery of
transoceanic, multimedia transmission. The Stentor Alliance of
telephone companies invested $8 billion to provide the latest in
broadband technology to 80 per cent of Canadian households. Canada
was also among the first in the world to recognize the need to
connect schools and libraries to the Internet, and its SchoolNet
program is being copied around the world. Industry Canada's
SchoolNet has successfully made Canada the first nation in the
world to connect its schools and libraries to the Information
Studying in Canada
Canada has a large selection of universities and university
colleges located in both urban and rural settings in every region
of the country. Universities are internationally known for the
quality of teaching and research. Degrees from Canadian
universities are considered to be equivalent to those from American
and other Commonwealth universities. Canadian universities are
largely publicly funded; as a result they are of a consistently
high quality, regardless of location or area of study. As well,
they all retain a high degree of academic autonomy.
Full-time student enrolments at individual universities range
from over 35,000 to less than 1,000. In addition, most universities
have a large number of part-time or continuing education students.
They offer a broad range of courses and a full range of degrees
from undergraduate to doctorates, and can also offer certificates
and professional degrees. Fees for universities differ depending on
the province, institution and program of study.
The university year usually runs from September to May. Some
universities are on a semester or trimester system, with all
courses available even in the summer. There is no Canada-wide
entrance test: each university sets its own admission standards and
assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually. In a
majority of instances, Canadian universities share the same outlook
as US universities.
As Canada has two official languages - English and French - an
international student can take a degree either at an English
language or French language institution. Some universities offer
instruction in both languages. However, students do not have to be
fluent in both languages to attend a Canadian university.
To qualify for a degree program at most English-speaking
universities, students for whom English is not a first language
must have passed an English examination test. The TOEFL is commonly
accepted but Canadian universities often have their own tests for
students or may accept other English examination tests such as the
Lawand Education Counselors should be able to provide valuable
information on English examination tests acceptable to Canadian
universities. Counselors can also advise students on whether they
may qualify for an exemption from English examinations. In
addition, Counselors should have extensive materials on Canadian
schools and can also provide counseling to students on finding the
appropriate institution and applying for study in Canada.
If applicants are interested in studying at a French language
institution, it is good to note there is no standardized French
language test that international students are required to pass in
order to qualify for a degree program. French universities,
however, will determine the level of a student's French language
skills on a case-by-case basis, and may choose to administer their
own written tests if language skills are in question.
There are more than 150,000 international students who
go to Canada every year to study.
- Canadian universities and colleges are respected worldwide for
their high quality of education.
- Tuition fees for international students in Canada, and the cost
of living, are among the lowest in the world.
- Eligible students can gain valuable Canadian work experience
through off campus employment.
- Canada ranks among the most multicultural nations in the world.
Regardless of ethnic origin, students feel at home in our diverse
communities and campuses.
- According to the United Nations, Canada offers one of the
highest standards for quality of life in the world.
Courses & Universities
The education system in Canada encompasses both publicly-funded
and private schools, including: community colleges/ technical
institutes, career colleges, language schools, secondary schools,
summer camps, universities and university colleges.
Education is a provincial responsibility under the Canadian
constitution, which means there are significant differences between
the education systems of the different provinces. However,
education is important to Canadians, and standards across the
country are uniformly high.
The 89 Universities that are members of the Association of
Universities and Colleges of Canada are located across the country,
with institutions in every Canadian province. Taken together, they
offer a wide range of courses.
In addition to universities, Canada's postsecondary system
includes 175 community colleges, which respond to the training
needs of business, industry and the public service, as well as the
educational needs of vocationally oriented secondary school
graduates. These colleges, also known as institutes of technology,
university colleges or CEGEPS, historically offered diplomas and
certificates rather than degrees.
Canadian universities provide a full spectrum of undergraduate
and graduate degree programs, with faculty undertaking research of
national and international importance.Most of the graduate degrees
are research programs rather than course work. So the possibility
to get graduate (Master) offer is difficult like PhD.