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Canada: Destination Guides - Must read

Why is Canada such a popular study destination?

With a high quality of life, prestigious universities and beautiful scenery, it's no surprise that Canada is such a desirable place to study!

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Canada has repeatedly come out on top as one of the most popular countries for international students. In fact, our research here at IDP Connect reveals Canada to be the 3rd most popular country overall. The question is what makes Canada so attractive? In this article we summarize some key findings about international students moving to Canada for their studies, looking at data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).


Top 3 reasons to choose Canada for your studies

In 2018, there were more than 570,000 international students in Canada from 186 nations, reflecting its reputation as a diverse country. The data reveals that there are five primary countries that students originate from namely India (30%), China (25%), South Korea (4%), Vietnam (4%) and France (4%). Since 2010, Canada has also seen an increase of 154% in international student numbers and a 16% increase in 2017-2018.


So why exactly is Canada gaining popularity? One major factor is the opportunity to remain in the country after graduation.

Post study work options

As it stands, international students can apply for a post-graduation work permit which allows for three extra years to stay in the country to find work/further study. Once finishing your course, you are then entitled to six months to apply for the permit either in Canada or from your home country. According to a CBIE International Student Survey, 60% of international students plan to apply for permanent residency in Canada once finishing their studies. In addition, 75% of international students said they were pursuing post-secondary studies in 2017. So, it seems that international students are choosing Canada for their studies for a combination of factors, including the ease of staying after graduation and the quality of life on offer.


Most popular subjects

Below are the three most searched for subjects based on our research over the last year (2018-2019).

Canada is also one of the leading country’s for fields such as high-tech and engineering, with a strong and stable economy. So, if you were planning to stay in the country after your course, you could have the opportunity to work within world-leading and expanding industries. 


Top Canadian institutions

There are three Canadian institutions within the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. They are the University of Toronto (18th), University of British Colombia (34th) and McGill University (42nd). Each of these universities have also risen in the rankings in comparison to the previous year. Canada is also generally more affordable than competitor destinations such as the USA and the UK. On average, international students in Canada can expect to pay USD 20,600 per year for courses, excluding medicine and engineering. Whereas in the US, for example, you can expect to pay an estimated USD 26,290 a year.



Remember, you can also apply for scholarships to help fund your university experience.



As a bilingual country, Canada is an attractive study abroad destination for international students who want to feel part of an accepting and welcoming society. English and French are the two official languages of Canada, so if you speak either, you shouldn’t face too many barriers when it comes to communicating with people. If you are feeling anxious about your language skills, Canada could be the perfect place to study as its so multicultural and accepting, even if you aren’t completely fluent.




Canada is also known for its scenic beauty. Although you’ll need to focus on your studies, there will also be time for road trips and exploring the beautiful landscapes. It’s important to think about the local surroundings of where you’ll be studying because this can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing and experience.


Feeling inspired to study in Canada? Look for courses and institutions today!

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