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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.

How to work while studying in Canada

How to work while studying in Canada

 

Canada is a country full of world class academic institutions, but it also has tremendous economic potential. As such, working while attending university is feasible and ultimately beneficial. However, it can be difficult to understand how to work while studying in Canada from a visa perspective, and also from a work/school/life balance perspective.

 

Visa Requirements

You might be wondering, does my study visa prevent me from working while studying in Canada? The answer is: mostly no. You don’t need a work permit to work on or off campus if you are enrolled full-time at a recognized institution. However, if you have a mandatory work placement or co-op through the program, you will indeed need a work permit.

 

You can consult our Visa consultant on more details on how to get either a study permit or a work permit.

 

Another restriction is, if you get your study permit after June 1st, it will indicate whether or not you’re eligible to work off campus. If you’re eligible, you’re limited to working 20 hours a week while your program is in session, or full-time during the breaks in the academic year.

For more information on applying for a study permit, please consult this website. Additionally, we strongly recommend consulting our Visa consultant at info@overseasgateway.com.

 

Managing life/work while studying in Canada

Now, if you’re eligible to work in Canada while studying, then you need to know how to work while studying in Canada on top of maintaining your grades.

Here are a few tips on how to balance it all.

 

Use a calendar tool

Whether it’s Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar, use something where you keep track of all your time. This might be the simplest and most important thing to help you work while studying in Canada. As uncool as it may seem, we also recommend including all your personal appointments in the calendar. This ensures you never double book yourself. While some people may prefer a paper agenda, we suggest the electronic version for a few reasons:

  • If you lose a hard copy, it’s the end of the world.
  • E-version can be synced across numerous devices (phone, tablet, computer, etc.).
  • You receive alerts across all those devices.

 

Take a job with defined hours

As nice as it is to have flexible work hours, they often make it more of a challenge to commit to certain plans. With set hours, you know what you’ll be working on and when, and therefore minimize surprises. Sometimes flexibility can be your worst nightmare. In addition, try to secure a job that doesn’t require you to “bring your work home with you.” This ensures your time is fully segmented which allows your mind to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to juggle work and school within the same time frame.

 

Plan for leisure

Sometimes when you are juggling work and school, leisure and fun are an aftereffect. The problem with that is leisure is required for good mental health. Therefore, even if it will take up some time, it will result in better work products and a healthier mind. As such, make sure you schedule in your leisure time otherwise your calendar will likely keep getting booked up.

 

Plan for study

Similarly, use your calendar tool to ensure you schedule in some study time because otherwise, that leisure time might also begin to interrupt your study time. Remember: the calendar is your buddy.

 

Monitor your stress levels

It’s possible due to work and school you get too stressed out. Monitor that and push back on your work hours if you have to. Keep in mind you are there to study first, and work second. Unless there is a financial imperative, make sure your studies come first, and offload some hours if you can.

 

Plan for your career

This is easier said than done, but don’t get a job simply for the sake of getting a job. Try to get a job that will not only give you money today, but will help give you money in the future by developing a strong resume now. This isn’t always possible but sometimes it’s worth taking a financial hit to get a better job. Again, unless there is a financial imperative, this is probably the most important consideration with regards to work while studying in Canada.

Student Visa Canada: How to write a study plan for Canada

When applying for a student visa in Canada, you’re required to submit a study plan. A study plan gives Visa Officers an explanation as to why you want to study in Canada and how it fits with your future objectives. With this being said, you want to ensure you make it good!

It’s important to be very clear and concise, but to also be specific. It isn’t necessary to explain your entire life history. Rather, focus on how pursuing education in Canada will help your current academic studies and career experiences.

Before we get into the types of questions you must answer when writing your study plan, here are a few quick tips.

 

#1: Do not exceed one (1) page.

#2: Your study plan should be factual.

#3: Be direct. Do not write paragraphs on why you dream of studying in Canada. Instead, write about how studying in Canada will advance your career in a way your country of residence won’t.

#4: Have someone with strong English written skills edit your study plan.

 

Study plan questions

 

1. Why do you wish to study in Canada in the program for which you have been accepted?

This is your opportunity to describe the reasons behind why you want to study in Canada. Is it because of its quality education system? The multicultural society? Why is Canada your preferred destination for international studies.

 

2. What is your overall educational goal?

Go into greater depth and describe what your goal is. Is it to continue your education directly after secondary school? Perhaps it’s to expand your knowledge by achieving a master’s or postgraduate degree. You may support your answer by discussing the field of study you’re interested in and how this particular route will further your career goals.

You may even consider doing research into the type of industry you want to work in and what the general requirements are. This helps you better understand if your educational plans align with your overall career goals.

 

3. Why are you not pursuing a similar program in your country of residence/citizenship?

Canada is well-known for its quality education system which is recognized globally. This alone may be the reason as to why you chose to pursue a program in Canada over your country. It’s possible Canada has a certain institution with the exact course or program you want to study in. One that may not be available in your country. This is reason enough to want to pursue education elsewhere.

 

4. What research have you done into studies in your country of residence/citizenship?

Don’t limit your research. Take this opportunity to discuss the options your home country gives you in regards to schools and programs. There’s a chance your country will in fact have the same program you’re hoping to pursue in Canada. You’ll want to explain why you prefer the Canadian school or program over your own. You may even choose to discuss the differences in education overall between your home country and Canada.

 

5. How will this program enhance your employment opportunities in your country of residence/citizenship? What are the job outlooks for the program?

At this time, you can discuss the various job positions you have looked into in your country. It’s possible you found a desirable job in your country, but unfortunately lack the appropriate education needed to apply for it. In this case, you can discuss how continuing your education in Canada will help prepare you for this role in your home country.

 

6. What ties do you have to your country of residence/citizenship?

For this particular question, you must state whether or not you have family in your country. This may include children, parents, a spouse or a partner.

 

7. What is your parents or guardians immigration status in their current country of residence? What are the financial assets owned by your parents?

In your study plan, be sure to include your parents or guardians immigration status. In addition to this, you must include their bank balance certificate, bank statements, investments, property, and any other documents that represent the financial assets owned by your parents or guardians.

 

8. Do you have a travel history? Please mention about your previous travels. In the case that you do not have the same, please share your parents or siblings travel history.

If you have travelled in the past, ensure you list the places you have travelled to. In the case you haven’t, it’s important to list your parents or siblings travel history. Doing so increases your chances of approval.

 

9. Who is sponsoring your education and why are they sponsoring your education?

You must list who is sponsoring your education. It may be your family, host school or an organization. Most importantly, you must explain why it is they’re sponsoring your education.

 

10. Provide details of your education history – dates when the course started and ended, the name and address of the school.

In this section, you must provide details of all the schools you have attended to date. Details include the start and end dates, full institution name(s), and address(s). You must also state the programs completed if you’ve attended college or university.

Finally, share your work history in this section. This includes any jobs or volunteer positions you’ve held, and how they may help with your studies and overall goals.

 

To complete your study plan, summarize your educational goals and the reasons behind why you want to study in Canada. In addition, it’s common courtesy to thank the person you’re writing to.

 

For further guidance, please visit the Government of Canada site.

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.

Why and how to study in Ontario

Why and how to study in Ontario

 

Canada is full of terrific provinces and territories to study in. British Columbia offers beautiful weather and scenery, Nova Scotia has a unique charm, and Saskatchewan provides a cost effective education. While these are only three of the Canadian provinces, these are some of the many reasons why students should study in Canada. However, Ontario specifically has huge economic potential and a diverse range of institutions. These institutions accommodate the various needs and interests of incoming international students. If you’re on the fence of whether or not you should choose Ontario as your destination, here’s why you should. Further, if you already have your sights set, here is how to study in Ontario!

 

University of Toronto

 

Why Ontario?

 

Cities and economy

Ontario is the largest province in Canada with almost 14 million residents who represent over a third of the country’s population. It’s two largest cities are Toronto and Ottawa. Toronto is the capital of Ontario and also the largest city in Canada, whereas Ottawa is the country’s capital. These two markets alone represent most major employers in Canada outside the oil and gas industry. Toronto specifically hosts many technology and retail companies, along with most major banks. Moreover, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is home to many other businesses headquartered in cities such as Mississauga, Hamilton and Oakville. Ottawa, on the other hand, is home to many government jobs. However it too has a technology hub located in the west-end of the city.

As it shows, the labour market for educated students is very healthy. Ontario also has the third lowest unemployment rate of any province in Canada. In fact, the central province has one of the lowest income tax rates in all of Canada!

 

Institutions

Ontario has a large range of institutions. Students can find intimate universities like Nipissing University, medium institutions like Queen’s University, large ones like Western University, and huge ones like University of Toronto. Not only is there a wide variety to accommodate different interests, Ontario also has some of the best institutions in the entire world, not just in the country.

University of Toronto and University of Waterloo are consistently ranked very highly for a number of programs such as engineering and architecture. Conversely, McMaster University has one of the best Health Science programs in North America. Some students may even consider University of Ottawa as it’s the largest English/French bilingual university in the world. These are just some examples of the wonderful institutions Ontario has to offer, and why students should study in the province.

 

How to study in Ontario

If you’re convinced Ontario is the right Canadian province for you, here’s how to study in Ontario.

 

University of Ottawa

 

Applying

To apply to study in Ontario, students can register with Overseas Gateway and apply to multiple schools directly with a just a single application. Different requirements are necessary for schools in Ontario depending on where you are travelling from and what school you’re applying to. It’s also important to consider the type of program you are applying for as this too may affect your requirements. Programs with specific guidelines may include medicine, law, teacher’s college or rehab sciences.

 

Student visa

If you are an international student, it’s necessary to apply for a student visa. This allows you to enter Canada as a student, and must be obtained prior to your travels. You must be a full-time student at a recognized institution in Canada. To find out if your institution is recognized, please refer to IRCC’s Designated Learning Institution(DLI) list. When applying for the student visa, it’s important to submit a study plan. This gives the Visa Officer who is reviewing your application an understanding as to why you’d like to pursue your education in Canada. For helpful tips and tricks on how to write an strong study plan, read this blog post. Finally, it’s important to recognize not all student visa applications receive the shiny approval stamp. While you prepare your application, it’s we encourage you to familiarize yourself with common reasons behind Canadian visa rejections.

Please contact our visa consultant for more information on how to study in Ontario.

Living in Canada

As an international student, you may face a number of challenges. You’ll have to learn to adjust to the Canadian lifestyle, you’ll have to find a place to live, and you’ll have to make new friends. The good thing is, you aren’t doing this alone. All international students face similar challenges and adjust quickly. It’s an exciting experience and truly gives you a new outlook on life.