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Study abroad : Destination Guides

University culture in Canada vs Australia

Canada or Australia? Where should you choose to study? We look at university culture in both countries to help you make up your mind.

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Are you considering going to university in Canada or Australia? Do you wonder what student life is like there? This article will give a better idea of what to expect. We investigate academic life, campus life and the student culture you can expect.


Academic life


In both Canada and Australia, university students are expected to be independent in life but also when it comes to studying. Students are given a great deal of flexibility in choosing courses and timetables. Academics also give students less individual attention. However, international students do get a lot of support to help them adjust and integrate into university life.


Canadian universities are well-known for their graduates having excellent critical thinking and leadership skills. Tutorials in both countries are used for problem-solving, discussing topics or question and answer sessions. The focus is very much on spoken communication so learning to be an active participant is vital.


An interesting side note is that in Australian culture everyone is viewed on an equal basis. University culture in the country is very relaxed so students call their professors by their first name.


Get more information about the grading system in Canada and Australia.


Campus life


Leisure and university campus life are very closely combined in Canada and Australia.  Campuses are like small towns with many facilities on site. Facilities include cafes, dining halls, pubs and sports facilities and entertainment.


Accommodation in Canada is in halls/dormitories close to campus, where you will share a room with another student and the facilities with a group of students. On-campus accommodation in Australia is not very common, and international students often choose to stay in hostels or guest houses or homestay accommodation.


Many students choose to rent private accommodation with friends which may be cheaper. Most students choose to live off-campus, meaning that the demand for accommodation is high. It is recommended that international students arrive a few weeks before their courses start to find a place to live.


Find out more about some of the top universities in Australia and Canada.




Both countries are incredibly multi-cultural and diverse. More than 20 per cent of the population in Canada is international, and the country has two official languages, namely English and French. Australia also has a large immigrant population and is home to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. It’s therefore important that international students learn to adapt and integrate into such a multicultural environment. Universities can help international students in this area too.


Both countries have amazing landscapes to discover and explore. Canada benefits from very distinct seasons and Australia’s weather is generally either tropical or slightly cooler, depending on where you study. Remember that Canada can get very cold, with snow not uncommon in the winter months. Make sure to pack some warm clothes.


Outdoor leisure activities and sports are important to Canadians and Australians alike. In Canada you could find yourself ice skating, playing baseball, or even ice hockey. In Australia, there is surfing, biking, hiking and even Australian football. Food, fun and entertainment take place outdoors a lot of the time. So, if that’s what you’re used to and it’s what you like, these destinations would be perfect for you.


Despite being in different hemispheres and time zones, university culture in Canada and Australia do have similarities. If you’re still not sure which destination to choose, why not try our course matcher tool to find the right course, you can decide on the destination after that. 

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