Education in Canada is different in a way as most of the students opt for postgraduate diploma courses, in other words, vocational courses. These courses are popular as most students have employment in mind.
Maria Mathias, director, Canadian Education Centre, says that these vocational courses are highly specialised in nature. Pointing to the prospectus of a top college in Canada, she says that there are specialisations such as Networking and Business. “In India while there are many vocational colleges and institutes offering good courses, few Indian students apply to these courses. This is because in India vocational study is looked down upon, when in fact, it is one of the most job-oriented and useful education that parents can encourage their children to opt for.”
Doctoral studies on a rise
“At the same time, there’s a slight rise in the number of students applying for postgraduate degrees,” says Mathai. Most of the applications are for engineering or MBA, hospitality and animation. And now the Canadian government wants to make research attractive. “You see not many are aware that Blackberry and Maple are inventions from Canada!”
The Canadian Government has recently introduced The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) programme to attract and retain world class doctoral students, offering them a significant financial award during their studies at Canadian universities.
"The United Nations has rated Canada as one of the best places on the globe to live,” says Mathai. “And a degree or a diploma from a Canadian Education Institution is universally recognized for its high academic standard.”
Cost of living and part-time jobs
The expenses depend on the region; however, in big cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver it could go up to 9,000 to 10,000 Canadian dollars. Therefore, keep a budget of 500-900 dollars a month if you are planning to take private accommodation like many students do by renting a house close to the campus.
There are plenty of on-campus and off-campus jobs available in restaurants, shops and libraries. Students are allowed to work 20 hours per week and full-time during vacation. Minimum wage is 8 dollars/hour. Therefore, if you work 20 hours you could earn 160 dollars a week. This can easily take care of food, travel and the rent. And even a visit to the local restaurant once a week! And this is non-taxable income.
New work visa policies
Students in their final semesters should start looking out for a job as the postgraduate work visa takes 90 days to process. However, now with two years of degree programme, the student can obtain three years of work permit to work anywhere in Canada, irrespective of the province.
Most Canadian institutions offer mandatory health insurance which is inclusive in the fee structure outlined at the time of admission. However, if a student has not taken a medical insurance from his/her institution, it is advisable to get one before boarding the flight to Canada. Some insurance providers cover both travel insurance and medical insurance as part of their policies and are very advantageous for students travelling abroad. Students may also opt to get a Canadian Health Insurance upon arrival in Canada if he/she so desires.
Advice to Indian students
Don’t carry books. There are six-floor libraries there. Carry daily wear such as jeans and T-shirts and light woollens but do not buy heavy woollens from India. The Canadian winter is different from India’s. So save money to buy winter wear from Canada. However, socks, caps, gloves can be bought from India as they are much cheaper.
Dry food items are allowed but do not carry them in your hand-baggage, put them into your check-in baggage. You wouldn’t want sniffer dogs chasing you and the whole airport looking at you only to discover that there’s cracker peanuts in your hand baggage.
Write down the important dates on a calendar. This will take care of any unnecessary stress down the line. Use study and research skills workshops, advisors, tutors and course unions.
Talk to your professor when you have questions about course material or assignments. This can save you time and frustration. Learn the basics of academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. Go to the library!