Reading this means that you are clearly looking to make Canada your destination for higher studies. And you should! Pakistanis are one of THE largest student communities in Canada!
Once you go there, you will want to call it your home like the thousands of Pakistanis you will meet there inshaAllah.
Best places for International Students
Canada has 10 provinces. You will find the best colleges in cities like Ottawa, Toronto, British Columbia, and Montreal. If you are looking for a high quality of life and lower tuition fees, Ottawa should be your destination. You will feel at ease while applying and getting into these colleges as English is the official language. Besides all this, the most exciting part is that many colleges offer financial assistance and scholarships to international students.
Here are the most popular courses in Canada for Pakistani students:
- Business Management
- Computer Science
What type of degree programs are there?
Bachelor Programs are BA, BSc, BS, BCom, BBA, as we commonly know in Pakistan.
These programs are called 'undergraduate' programs in Canada and other Western countries.
The country offers 3-year Bachelor's programs if you have done O-Levels. However, suppose you have done Matric, which is 12 years of education. In that case, you may have to spend 1 additional year to complete your undergraduate.
This is because the O-Levels program is 3 years long, whereas Matric is 2 years.
Masters Programs are MA, MSc, MS, MCom, MBA, as we commonly known in Pakistan.
These programs are called 'postgraduate' programs in Canada and other Western countries.
Masters programs here can be 1 year or 2 years long, depending on the university.
(A Canadian Master's degree in 1 year? WOW)
Wait till I tell you how fantastic the 2-year package is!
If you opt for a 2 year Masters, you will spend 1 year studying the course and 1 year doing a project, thesis, or even an internship!
Hint: if you perform well, internships lead to full-time jobs as well!
If your inner devil is telling you something like 'Nah...I don't think I'll be able to perform so well….'
Well, listen to me: The internship is your FIRST way to network in your field!
This list below is for the nerds and study freaks (and career freaks, and succ1eed-in-life freaks!) SO THIS SHOULD BE RELEVANT TO EVERYONE!
The University of Toronto, University of Alberta, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and McMaster University are among the highest-ranked universities in the world.
These universities invest A LOT in research. For example, remember the research regarding the end of diabetes in 2020 that Dawn News published?
That was a Canadian University leading the world and making it a better place for everyone.
Now think about the student team behind that research.
What do you think they will do by the time they graduate?
They will have high-paying job offers even before they graduate! That is why employment offers for graduates BEFORE they even attend their graduation ceremony from these universities is more than 85% (crazy!)
Google, Microsoft, Facebook are all hungry for them. And starting salary is easily $50,000.
But here's the catch:
These universities are
- Difficult to get into because of the competition
- Very expensive
However, if you have
- A+ grades
- Have excellent English language skills
- Outstanding SAT/GRE results
- And a dream to change the world
THEN APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!
These universities give $10 Billion worth of scholarships EVERY YEAR.
Now, if they invest all their money in research, where do they get scholarship money from?
Well, top-ranking universities all over the world have millionaire graduates who give back to their university as a thank-you for making them successful people and an ASSET for the world!
One day, you two will be giving back to your university to pay for meritorious and needy students. Because you will be in a successful position.
I WANT you to be in that position. Claim your position.
Wondering which university is right for you based on your budget, grades, and field of study?
Here is our 1-minute quiz to find out the right university for you in Canada!
TAKE THE QUIZ: Which International University is Right for You?
Now, let's get deeper into costs...
Budgeting for Your Studies
Education is an investment into your future. With high-quality education comes a higher price tag.
Like I said above, these universities invest millions of dollars into research. This research makes advancements in science and human civilization. So when you are investing in international education, you are not just investing in yourself but in a better future for yourself, your children, and the planet.
As a Pakistani national, you will want to know the average cost of studying in Canada. It is about 27,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD) per year.
This includes an average of CAD 17,000 in tuition fees.
And CAD 10,000 in living expenses.
What is the tuition fee?
Tuition is the cost of your degree that the university charges you.
What are Living Expenses?
Living costs are everyday expenses, like food, rent, transportation, etc.
These costs vary from city to city and province to province, just like Pakistan, where the cost of living in Islamabad is way higher than in Karachi.
The cost also varies if you study in an urban or a rural area. Universities in rural areas are far cheaper.
WORRIED ABOUT THE COSTS?
We have good news! You can earn while on a student visa. Work part-time for 20 hours a week, and it should cover your living costs! Once done with your degree, Post Study Work Permit allows you to find full-time employment.
Which Canadian city is the cheapest for students?
I get this question often. My answer is: anywhere that is close to a big city is a great idea.
For example, Hamilton, located 70 km from Toronto, is the cheapest option. It is a student city and home to McMaster University, which is also among the top 10 best Canadian Universities.
I could choose to give you the name of XYZ university in any remote region in Canada, but I didn't.
Because I know that you want:
- To be near large cities like Toronto and Calgary
- To be able to travel frequently to tourist spots
- low transportation costs and travel time
- Low rent
- To experience Canada (that's your goal! You can't forget that)
- Public vs. Private Universities
Public universities are always more affordable than private ones. But does that mean that private universities are better in quality? NO!
The cost of the degree has no relation to the quality of education.
Public universities receive funding from the government that is why the cost of education is cheaper. It simply lessens the burden on the students.
Canadian universities are CRAZY about research and innovation! Whether you go to a public or a private university, you will receive first-hand knowledge of the latest developments in your field.
So the investment is totally worth it!
What if I Still Cannot Afford It?
Look for scholarships! In Canada, scholarships can range from 10-100%. However, these are mostly merit-based. If you have:
- A+ grades
- Good English language skills
- And a dream to change the world
Then I am going to literally push you to apply to the following Canadian government scholarships:
- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
- Canada Graduate Scholarships
- International Council for Canadian Studies
- Humber College Scholarships for International Students
- International Major Entrance Scholarship (IMES)
- McMaster University Entrance Awards
Eligibility for International Students
The documents required for any degree program vary from university to university.
In general, you will need:
- Completed and signed application form
- All previous certificates and mark sheets
- A Statement of Purpose (SOP) stating why you are the right candidate for this program
- Letters of Recommendation (LOR) from professors who have taught you
- English proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL (more on that below)
For scholarships, you may be required to submit additional documents.
IMPORTANT: In Canada, only the institutes with permission from the Government to host international students can offer admission to you, which are called Designated Learning Institutes (DLIs).
Can I study in Canada without IELTS?
Some universities waive IELTS/ TOEFL requirements for students whose medium of instruction in the previous school was English. However, at the stage of visa application, a language test result is mandatory. Otherwise, your visa will be incomplete or rejected.
Are there any other exams required for Canada?
- GMAT - The Graduate Management Aptitude Test
GMAT is a standardized test for admission into MBA programs.
- GRE - The Graduate Record Examination
GRE scores are required for most Master's degree programs in Canada. However, some programs that do not cover mathematics (like arts, humanities, and social science programs) may not require GRE scores.
- LSAT - The Law School Admission Test
- SAT - The Scholastic Assessment Test
SAT is for students who are applying to Bachelors's Programs. Generally, SAT is a test of Math and English. SAT II is required for Engineering and STEM degrees and includes tests of other subjects like Physics.
Canada Visa: Complete Guide
The "Student Visa" process is slightly different here. In Canada, international students are given a 'Study Permit' upon entering Canada. Before that, you first apply for a Temporary Resident Visa with the following documents:
- A letter of acceptance from a Canadian university.
- A valid Pakistani passport
- A proof of funding: you have enough money to pay your tuition fee.
How can you show available funds? A bank statement is your best option. That statement should show at least 11-12K Canadian Dollars (CAD) to cover your expenses for your first year in Canada.
You can bring a family member with you too. In that case, you will need to show that you can support them financially during their stay.
- Arrange a police certificate to prove that you have no criminal record back at home. (only if they ask you to).
- You should be medically fit, or they may require you to take a medical examination.
Cost and Processing Time for the Canada Student Visa
The fee for a Canada Student Visa is $150.
It is best to apply at least 4-6 months in advance before your study program starts and wait for 28 days to get a response.
DON'T REPEAT THIS MISTAKE
During the visa interview, the visa officer will ask you questions to check your intentions for the future. You MUST convince them that you will leave Canada after your studies.
Even if your next goal is to get a job there, the officer wants to be sure that you are serious about your studies. Education is what you are going for RIGHT NOW. Correct?
Then focus on that.
You are in front of the officer. Answer only about your educational goal.
Getting the Canadian Study Permit
You have boarded your flight and landed in Canadian Immigration. Congratulations!
Upon your arrival, the Border Service Agency will check the following documents:
- Your Complete Study Permit Application. Applying online makes the process faster.
- Your Valid Passport. Make sure it is not near to expiry.
- Acceptance letter from a DLI (Discussed in Step 1).
Yay! He will hand you the Study Permit and Entry Permit.
You are overwhelmed by reading all that you need to get a visa and a study permit. Yeah, it can get challenging as, after all, Canada is one of the best countries to visit, live, work and build your future. Hang in there. It's worth it.
What to expect: Weather, Safety, and Lifestyle
One thing should be clear by now: studying abroad is THE BEST time of your life!
In Canada, enjoy all shades of the weather! Spring is most beautiful, but winters can be harsh (except in Vancouver, which is moderate Murree-like all year round 😉 ).
You will get plenty of stuff to keep you warm during winters from Canada. I would suggest not buying things from Pakistan as they won't be sufficient to be worn in the winters of Canada. If you are worried about safety, then relax; Canada is one of the safest countries in the World with the lowest crime rates.
You will find people very friendly and cooperative. Be ready to earn some lifetime friends. Canadians will not discriminate against you for being Pakistani. They mostly speak English, but accents vary from province to province. You will get the hang of it after a while. Don't rush into asking a personal question and show respect to everyone. If you have committed to a meeting, then be on time as they appreciate punctuality.
Here are a few tips for you:
- Be friendly (make a lot of friends)
- Respect everyone, even if their religion or practices are different from you
- Be courteous
- Say 'please' and 'thank you.'
- Be an active participant
- Show gratitude over small gestures
- Appreciate others around you
You will have two options for housing:
ü University-managed dorms or rooms
ü Private accommodation (with a landlord)
The Accommodation Office of your University will help you in this regard. They will provide you with a list of properties to choose from if you opt for a private residence. The university-managed accommodation has further options which you may select as per your preference and budget.
Make sure that you are in Canada to attend the orientation week of your college or university. All new students must participate in these activities. Keep yourself abreast by reading the guides provided to you by your university. Who knows! You might come across another new Pakistani student just like you, thanks to this orientation!
Hey! Have fun!
It's finally vacation, and you are done with your semester exams.
Take a boat cruise, a balloon, or a helicopter ride and fly over the most famous tourist attraction, Niagara Falls. Yay, it's Canada! The country is full of awe-inspiring and breathtaking views along with vibrant cities. You will never forget your visit to The Rockies.
Jobs and Internships
Students come flocking to us with this question – ‘what kind of jobs can I get there?’
That’s great because, with a job in hand, you will be able to manage your everyday expenses!
There are two types of jobs you can go for while you study in Canada.
- On-campus jobs
- Off-campus jobs
On-campus jobs are those in which you work with a department in your university. For example, working in the library as a Library Assistant. One more option popular among international students is working as Teaching Assistant (TA) and Research Assistant (RA) for a professor in your department. You could work as a Peer Tutor and a Writing Tutor to get paid for helping other students in your extra hours.
Off-campus jobs are only allowed if you have a special permit from the government. Otherwise, it is illegal for students to work outside their university while being full-time students. If you get the permit, the following options are open to you:
call center phone operator
retail staff at the store
Remember, you can only work 20 hours a week while you study. Of course, by the time you graduate, you will be able to find full-time jobs and avail the Post-Study Work Permit. This permit allows you to extend your stay and
Some courses have a module of internship integrated with the length of the program. So you will have to show your internship certificate, and only then will they give you your degree!
Even if your program is entirely theoretical, you will want to start a career abroad. An internship is the first step towards that goal. You will
- Get international practical experience in your field
- Get industry exposure and network opportunities (I cannot emphasize how important this is!)
You can go for internships offered during vacations like summer and Winter Breaks. Your university may have internship openings, so look out for job boards!
If you don’t want to wait for term breaks, you can go for co-ops. Co-ops take place while you study. You can adjust your work timetable according to your class sheet. This way, you will gain valuable work experience AND get your degree.
Post Study Work
You study in Canada to be able to work there as well. But what nobody tells you is that only graduates from certain institutions are eligible for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP)!
As discussed above, you can only go to Designated Learning Institutions (DLI’s), which are institutions with permission to host international students.
Otherwise, your visa will be rejected.
BUT even in those DLI’s, not ALL of them make you eligible for the post-study work visa. You must meet the following criteria to work in Canada after graduating:
- Have completed your degree/ diploma/ or certificate program
- Your program was at a DLI
- The program was at least 8 months long (programs less than 8 months long are NOT eligible for PGWP).
Otherwise, you will not be able to work. Sad, right?
Well, I have news for you!
I have compiled a list of Canadian Universities that make you eligible for PGWP! Download the list here.
Popular Job Sectors
Are you excited about working in Canada? So are we telling you this! You are finally done with your studies and now want to make some money! And we know the next step – applying for Permanent Residence!
For PR purposes, you need a strong profile. What is a strong profile? Well, if your degree is from one of the following sectors which are in demand in Canada, you will get your PR sooner.
While there is a place for everyone, no matter which degree you choose to go for – healthcare, education, and IT are booming! Below is a list of the hotspots for the next 10 YEARS:
Medical professionals are not just needed all the time but are also very well paid in Canada. Pakistanis have always been very excited about pursuing healthcare courses abroad as they are recognized all around the world. Some great courses you can take up are:
- registered nurse
- elderly care
- public health
Here’s great news for aspiring teachers! The post-secondary system is getting revamped in the country. So if you are looking to study any of the following in Canada, then go for it!
-research and innovation in higher education,
You can pursue BEd, MEd, and similar courses without worry about your future!
- Software Engineering
It’s the era of digitization, and businesses are crazy about entering the digital world! Have you heard about Fintech? That is a mix of ‘finance’ and ‘technology.’ More and more financial organizations like banks are hunting for software engineers to develop user-friendly technologies!
If you are looking to pursue your degree in Software Engineering in Canada, then wonderful! Don’t doubt it!
Other than these, there are electrical engineering, HR, and financial advisory fields that are also in great demand!
By now, you are probably wondering which university to go to.
Enter your course, grades, and budget in this 1-minute quiz and find out the right university for you in Canada!
So nice to see you! We are Rija & Moizza, two scholarship winners who studied abroad in the US. Now we mentor others on studying and starting a career abroad!
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