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What to expect when adjusting to student life in Canada

What to expect when adjusting to student life in Canada 

 

While choosing Canada as a destination to complete your international studies in is exciting, it presents a variety of challenges you must learn to adjust to. Depending where you’re travelling from, Canada’s culture may be quite different from your own. These differences can range from cultural and social, to academic differences. It’s important to remember adjusting to a new culture is a very gradual process, and is something each student experiences. You’ll find Canada has different values, beliefs, traditions and customs than those in your home country. The buildings may look different, people may act and dress differently, no one speaks your language, the list goes on. Adjusting to the way of life in Canada will take some time, however embrace the ups and downs in the process. You will learn a lot about yourself and your new home.

This blog post is intended to help you understand what to expect when adjusting to student life in Canada.

 

Canadian Culture

Let’s quickly start by defining culture. As defined by Cristina De Rossi in Live Science, “culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we greet visitors, and a million other things.”

All this being said, Canada is a wonderful country to study in with diversity playing a large role in its history. Though there are two official languages including French and English, the country boasts itself for its mosaic of people who come from different backgrounds, creating one of the most multicultural countries in the world. The wonderful thing is, Canada encourages all people living in the country to embrace their backgrounds, traditions and culture, as it aims to protect multiculturalism. Canada features a variety of values including diversity, inclusion and fairness amongst many others. The country is recognized as one that offers a warm welcome to all visitors and new permanent residents, and as a land of opportunity.

 

Stages of transition

You will go through a number of stages before you’re comfortably settled into your new home. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this. It’s very normal to experience a variety of emotions, such as the ones listed below. However, do your best to stay open-minded, positive, strong and curious — this will help you transition.

Honeymoon

The very first stage in your transition period, the honeymoon stage, may last for a few weeks or a few months. Everything is new and you feel a sense of excitement mixed in with some nervousness and anticipation. Even before your flight, adrenaline rushes through your body and you have no time to feel your nerves. The good part is, you don’t necessarily feel the initial “shock” period of change because of this. The locals are friendly and keen on assisting you with your transition.

Hostility

Once the adrenaline wears off, you begin to experience some hostility. You realize you’re in a different country trying to adapt the new culture. Perhaps you’re having difficulties communicating with others or you’re frustrated with setting up your new phone services. You miss the ease of being at home, but remember, these feelings will wear off quickly. It’s something you must experience as you transition into your new environment.

Acceptance

At this time, you begin to accept your situation and realize what a wonderful opportunity it is. Despite challenges, you begin to accept certain situations and no longer experience hostility and frustration, but rather appreciation. You release the feeling of wanting to return home, and begin to enjoy your time as you adjust.

Adaptation

You begin to feel comfortable and more “at home” in your new environment. Things feel natural, and you both understand and enjoy the processes in the country you’re in.

 

Canadian Climate

This may be your first time experiencing diverse weather. Perhaps you’re from Brazil or India where it’s constantly hot, in which case surely you’ve never seen snow. It’s exciting to see the changes in weather throughout the year however you must be sure to pack accordingly. It also is a big adjustment! Here’s some information about the different seasons you’ll experience while studying in Canada.


Fall Season

Fall

At the start of September, the cool air starts to move in and the warm summer weather starts to move out. Perhaps the most colourful season of the year, leaves begin to change different colours from green to bright orange, fiery red and golden yellow. You can get by with a light jacket or vest, but this won’t last too long as the nights begin to get colder. This is the ideal season to go on hikes, canoe trips, bike rides and road trips.

 

 


Winter Season

Winter

The coldest season, especially in Canada. Winter begins in December and can last through to March. The season isn’t consistent every year, but you’re sure to experience a snowfall at least once. During this time, many Canadians bundle up in their winter gear and skate, toboggan, ski and snowboard outdoors. For many Canadians, this is also the time of year to cheer on our favourite ice hockey teams.

 

 

 


Spring Season

Spring

It may be a bit rainy, but spring is the season we finally begin to get over the cold winter weather. The snow begins to melt in April and May, the grass starts to regain its bright green colour and the trees and flowers blossom.

 

 

 


Summer Season

Summer

June, July and August tend to be sunny, hot and in some cities, humid. Many like the chance to get away from the city and sit by the lake up north or on a beach. Others partake in water sports such as kayaking, swimming, paddle boarding and more.

 

 

University Resources

Each school has different resources available to their student body. From assisting student transitions, offering guidance for particular courses and navigating student jobs – universities cater to all students’ needs. Be sure to visit your host school’s website to learn more about this.

 

Adjusting to a new culture will be the most interesting, challenging and exciting time of your life. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Be curious, positive, open-minded, humorous and strong. You’ll want to embrace every minute of it.

6 Jobs in demand in Canada

Canada is one of the top countries to live and work in. In fact, it’s ranked second to Germany for entrepreneurship, career opportunities, economic growth, sustainability, and overall quality of life for those who live there. If you plan to move to or expand your career in Canada, it’s worth knowing which occupations are growing in popularity. So we’ve put together a list of jobs in demand in Canada for 2018.

Before we get into it, you may wonder if you can work while studying in Canada. Read our blog “How to work while studying in Canada” to find out!

 

1. Engineering Project Managers

With Canada’s growing population—partly due to the increasing amount of new immigrants and international students—the need for infrastructure is much greater than it was in the past. Engineering project managers have become more prominent within 2018 to help plan and manage infrastructure within major cities, as they expand to accommodate the increased populations and tourism.

 

2. Software Developers

As Canada becomes a prominent figure in the tech industry, the needs for techies is at an all time high. The popularity of these positions is mainly due to the growing amount of startups, the move for major technology companies taking residency in Canada, and the creation of Quantum Valley, Canada’s “Silicon Valley.” To support this booming industry, positions such as IT project manager, software developer, and software engineer are some of the most desirable roles this industry can’t get enough of.

 

3. Doctors and Medical Professionals

Doctors of all kinds are always in-demand in Canada. Registered nurses, family physicians and pharmacists top the list of positions increasingly looking for new applicants. The best part is, as the population within Canada’s communities grows, so does the need for hospitals and clinics. Not to mention, Canada’s large group of aging Baby Boomers who are now starting to have special medical needs.

 

Read about how international studies can boost your resume and help you get your dream job here!

 

4. Marketing and Public Relations Managers

Not everyone is skilled in math or science, which is where jobs in marketing and public relations come in handy. According to Canadian Business magazine, as Canada becomes a world leader for entrepreneurship and business, the need for specialists to represent these companies is imminent. So much, that there are 49 percent more people working in these fields last year than there was five years prior in 2012.

 

5. Business Analysts

According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, Canada’s economy was so strong it lowered the unemployment rate to 5.7 percent, the lowest it has been within the last 41 years. Much of this was due to booming industries and hiring more professionals to help manage growth at all levels continuously. Additionally, financial managers are part of the 15 most in-demand jobs in Canada, according to reports from Workopolis.

 

6. Accountants

In 2018, it’s a great time to be looking for work as a business analyst or an accountant, as these are among the leading careers expanding their roles in Canada. If you like crunching numbers by helping others manage their finances, these types of jobs may be perfect for you. Additionally, come tax season, banks need all hands on deck as there’s high demand for help with filing annual taxes.

Northern College: All new study permits must defer to Jan/May 2019

 

The following message came from Northern College’s India Office, which means it applies to students from India only.

Please be advised that Northern College will not accepting any new student permits for their September 2018 intake. They are at maximum capacity for every program, so they will be defering all new study permits to January or May 2019.

Why you should study at a Canadian high school

Within Canada, high school has become a place where students can reach their full potential and explore the kind of person they want to be. With an excellent quality of life, and an exceptional education system, for students looking for the best education they can possibly get, Canada is the ideal choice for secondary studies. Overall, here are six reasons why international students should consider choosing Canada to start or continue their high school education.

 

1. A modern classroom

ApplyBoard - A modern classroom

In a world that is constantly changing, those who fall behind are often left struggling to find work or keeping up with modern demands. Within Canada, the well-funded, public education system allows for a quality learning environment no matter what school a student is placed in. As a result, Canadian high schools take note of the changing needs of the outside world and fund initiatives that allow them to keep up with the game. For example, within Ontario, there are many schools that have the “Chromebook One to One” initiative in which incoming students are given a chromebook that they can keep for the rest of their high school careers. With an increased access to technology, students are regularly practicing the digital literacy skills essential for the workplace and their post-secondary studies. Canadian secondary education is one of the few education systems in the world that has the capacity and ability to implement solutions that keep learners focusing on relevant skills and ideas that will truly help them succeed.

 

2. Relevant and engaging coursework

ApplyBoard - Relevant and engaging coursework

One of the main issues within education is that students feel that they are not learning what they want to in high school. From course availability to the curriculum, there are many factors that can impact a student’s desire to study passionately during their secondary education. Within Canada, each province offers a relevant, engaging curriculum with a wide variety of choices for students to select across all disciplines. Not only are students studying for what will prepare them for post-secondary studies, they are also able to take unique courses that will give them the ability to succeed in whatever field they choose to. Each school and school board has a set of programs that are designed to meet varying student interests. While some schools may focus mainly on Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering classes, there are many Arts focused programs that include the opportunity for students to take dance, graphic design, or even theatre.

A central part of the Canadian curriculum is that students are challenged to address real world issues regardless of what pathway they are going into (college, university, apprenticeship or the workplace). Each course addresses and builds upon skills that allows them to critically think about current events, and form their own educated opinions. With every lesson carefully planned out, the content and ideas learned from Canadian courses prepares them significantly for their future career. For example, some schools may focus solely on Canadian and international issues and integrate this into every course. In biology, they may analyze the ethical issues related to stem cell research while in economics, they may view the same issue from a market-based perspective. By being able to think in different ways, students will become valuable employees as they can solve problems more effectively and creatively.

 

3. Cooperative education and internship programs

ApplyBoard - Cooperative education and internship programs

In addition to a challenging and engaging curriculum, students have the opportunity to supplement their studies with real world work experience. Although the structure of cooperative education varies from province to province, students are able to volunteer or work within the community for high school credit across Canada. In participating in the school’s cooperative education program, students are able to shadow future careers that they want to have, and test out whether they are confident in pursuing that occupation in the future. Internships are a great way to practice one’s skills in an applied setting where theory is not the main focus of learning. From research assistant to construction worker, there are thousands of opportunities for students to explore their future job!

 

4. Exceptional and highly qualified staff

ApplyBoard - Exceptional and highly qualified staff

As an overall profession, teachers are highly regulated by each province and are only able to teach within the areas they are qualified for through their post-secondary education. What this means is that in Canada, students will not be getting a English teacher teaching mathematics at the secondary level. A vast majority of the teachers that teach in Canada genuinely care about their students and will do everything they can to support their students’ learning. This may include spending that extra hour to get a student resources to succeed or giving up a lunch to help a student understand how to do a problem.

In addition to the amazing teachers available, schools have support staff that can help students beyond their academics. While many teachers available to talk about personal concerns, there are professionals that can get students the help they need and connect them with the community. From child and youth care workers to special education staff, Canadian schools are there to accommodate students the best way they can.

Furthermore, guidance counsellors are also available in every Canadian high school to help organize their students’ futures. Guidance counsellors are able to but are not limited to provide: course selection advice, career counselling, scholarship research, and much more! Need to organize your entire life out? Guidance counsellors are the most valuable resource for learning success in one’s secondary studies.

 

5. An optimized learning environment

ApplyBoard - An optimized learning environment

Unlike many schools internationally, Canadian high schools keep in mind that all students learn differently. As a result, Canadian high schools aim to address different types of learners in a wide variety of ways. Whether it is the structure of the school’s environment or the delivery of the curriculum by the teacher that is modified, the unique approaches to learning allow students to not only learn how they learn best, but practice learning through different methods.

As a general whole, Canadian high schools value questions and inquiries more than the answers they produce. Students are heavily encouraged to investigate what they are learning and question the validity of the information. Since ideas come from a wide variety of sources, learning is approached from many different angles. Students have the chance to put theory to practice, be creative in their ideas, and grow as people. To top it all off – Canadian high schools often have a physical environment that is safe, inclusive, and diverse – ensuring that the only thing that a student has to worry about is their studies.

 

6. Strong, internationally recognized credentials

ApplyBoard - Strong, internationally recognized credentials

A primary issue within international education is that not all secondary diplomas are equal. The value of one nation’s secondary studies is often looked down upon in comparison to another’s. As a result, many schools will require international students to do additional tests or qualifications within their admissions processes. However, in Canada, each diploma, especially the OSSD, is recognized by post-secondary institutions across the world. The education system of each province is praised for their rigorous, quality-based delivery and as a result, their credentials are equally respected.

In addition to their basic high school diplomas, many secondary schools offer localized certificates or international programs that can support a student’s post-secondary application. For example, the International Baccalaureate, is offered across many public and private schools across the nation. This diploma uses a standard system of marks that allow universities and colleges to convert grades into their local systems very easily. Students undergoing this program can also get transfer credits for their higher level subjects that they study.

If you are looking to study in Canada after high school as well, having a Canadian high school diploma will significantly increase your chances for admission in comparison to an international diploma. Since Canadian schools recognize and can easily evaluate the rigor of your education within its own system, this means that your grades will be evaluated at face value rather than being scaled and converted disproportionately.

If you are looking to to study in the USA, Canadian secondary credentials are valued just as much as their own diplomas. There are also many SAT and ACT testing centres that allow you to meet their standardized testing requirements essential for admission into US colleges. With a quality Canadian high school education, the sky is your limit!

A pre-departure guide for international students

Once you’ve received your Letter of Acceptance from your desired school of international studies and have accepted it, you must think about what you need for your pre-departure. Things start to get real! In just a few short months, you’ll be on your way to North America, perhaps for the very first time.

Surely you’ve put a lot of time into gathering required documents to ensure your acceptance, but unfortunately you’re not done just yet. There are still many steps to complete before you can comfortably enjoy your time abroad. We’ve put together a pre-departure guide approved by the Canadian government to assist you!

 

Checklist

  • First and foremost, be sure to accept your offer letter if you haven’t already done so! If you have any questions about this, contact ApplyBoard or your host school.
  • Ensure you have a valid passport. Check to see if it’s valid for a minimum of six months after your return date. If you don’t have a passport, you must apply for one immediately.
  • It’s important to review the documents needed to enter Canada. You may have to present these upon your arrival.
  • Monitor the cost of flights and book the most suitable one. You might consider a travel agent if you’re unsure of how to book a flight yourself. If you are booking a return flight, we recommend the flexible flight ticket as dates may change and you may want to leave at a later or sooner time. This way you will avoid additional fees.
  • Travel insurance is critical should there be any issues during your travel time. This can be purchased separate from your flight ticket, or at the same time.
  • Along with travel insurance, health insurance is extremely important. Your school may insure you, however it is best to confirm.
  • In case you don’t already know, timing for international flights is different from local flights. It’s suggested you arrive for your flight at least three hours before departure to avoid any potential line ups for luggage drop-off and security, or other issues. You will likely be able to check-in for your flight 24 hours beforehand online.
Be aware of the restrictions upon entering Canada

 

  • Certain items are restricted or prohibited to come to Canada such as tobacco, firearms, food, alcohol, animal and plant products, and drugs. Any liquids you may have with you must be in a container of 100 ml or less, and packaged in a plastic bag.
  • Oftentimes, border officers ask about your accommodations. Ensure you know this information including the address, contact name and number.
  • We suggest you have some Canadian money on you for when you land in case you must pay for public transit, a taxi or are simply in need of replenishment.
  • Keep all of your most valuable items and documents on hand and not in your checked luggage in case it is misplaced or lost.

 

We suggest making photocopies of the important documents in the event you misplace them, this way you have a back up

 

  • Important documents include your passport, flight ticket, travel and health insurance, Canadian letter of acceptance, accommodation details, proof of funds, school transcripts, Canadian immigration letter (for some).
  • Consider researching your destination prior to your arrival. This is the exciting part of your pre-departure! Things to do, what the weather may be like, items to pack, etc.
  • If you have some spare time, practice your English communication skills. The more you practice, the better. In most cases, reality is quite different from what you learn in books.