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Studying in Canada

Canada scores well on many parameters on a discerning student’s checklist globally recognised courses, a high standard of living and a receptive job market.

education Updated: Jan 25, 2012 11:36 IST
Sparsh Sharma

With post-degree job opportunities on the decline in much of the developed world, comparatively higher costs of education in the USA, visa restrictions in the UK and racist attacks in Australia, Canada is fast emerging as an upcoming destination for many Indian students.

In several United Nations’ surveys, Canada has been rated as one of the best places to live in the world with low crime rates, high life expectancy and better access to education.

Accordingly, the number of international students has increased over the years, a trend that is confirmed by counsellors and universities, especially because a degree/diploma from a Canadian institution is globally recognised.

“Along with Canadian students, our complement of international students has also grown, from 22 countries represented six years ago, to more than 600 students and 75 countries on campus today,” says Paul Marck, media relations coordinator, University of British Columbia, Okanagan.

Even at universities like Thompson Rivers University, situated in Kamloops (an interior area of the British Columbia province), there are international students from more than 80 countries.

Mission admission
Unlike India, Canada doesn’t have a central education system, and hence is under the jurisdiction of each province.

All major universities in Canada are publicly funded whereas the private universities are relatively new and usually offer undergraduate courses.

There are approximately 92 universities and 175 community colleges in Canada and the fees ranges from CAD$6,000 to CAD$30,000 per year (approximately Rs 3,12,000
to Rs 15,50,000).

Many Canadian universities and community colleges accept applications on a rolling basis. This means that the admissions committee continues to make offers of admission to qualified applicants until a particular intake reaches its enrollment capacity.

However, international students are advised to apply early as admissions and scholarships grow more competitive around the second or third deadline dates. The application deadline for programmes starting in September (fall) starts from the first week of February or earlier.

For instance, you can apply to the Thompson Rivers University from mid-May for the September intake, while Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, offers an India MBA programme that starts in January, and has a November application deadline.

“All Canadian universities/ community colleges have intakes in August/September. Some also provide January/February or May intakes.

Some colleges have three to four intakes in a year. The certificates are usually categorised into diploma, advanced diploma, bachelor’s degree, postgraduate diploma, postgraduate certificates, master’s degree and PhD.

Some of the prominent courses at the graduate level are MBA, PGD in management, MS and LLB while at the undergraduate level, it is the bachelor of administrative studies or bachelor of engineering,” says Jugnu Dutta, an international education consultant.

Student life
As Canada is one of the most multicultural and diverse countries in the world, international students are able to acclimatise well in Canada, says, Imran Kanga, associate director, student services and international relations, Schulich School of Business.

Sharath Janakiraman, an MBA student at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, says, “Despite the rigour of an MBA education, it is not ‘all work and no play’ in Canada. Social events, exhilarating post-exam celebration parties and various sports activities have enhanced my MBA experience.”

Warning: Most parts of Canada experience harsh winters, so don’t forget to lug your woollens along.

Job Jamboree
For students “International students in Canada are permitted to work part-time for 20 hours per week (first six months in campus and off campus thereafter). During vacations, international students can work up to 40 hours and the average pay is CAD$7 to CAD$10 per hour (Rs 370 to Rs 520 per hour),” says Dutta.

Besides part-time jobs, many universities offer paid or unpaid internships for a few months during the length of the course, especially in post-graduate programmes like MBA.

Sheldon Dookeran, assistant director, full-time MBA admissions, Rotman School of Management, says, “There are 31 student groups and clubs on our campus. Rotman’s strategic location in Toronto and recruiter reputation contributes to its 88% internship rate and 85% employment rate within three months of graduation.”

For graduates “Students who complete a full-time programme longer than eight months and less than two years can receive a work permit lasting as long as the programme.

Better yet, students who complete a programme of two years or more, can receive a three-year work permit, within which time, they can apply for permanent residency, if they choose to stay longer,” says Dookeran.

“Unlike the UK and USA, Canada welcomes students from all over the world, as is evident by the work permit incentive that is given to students post their graduation. The Canadian economy is stable which means that students aren’t struggling to find work, as the market is receptive. This enables them to work and pay back their loans faster,” says Kanga.