Is it safe to study in Canada?

Study in Canada

Canada, the second largest country in the world in terms of area, knows how to inspire in many ways. Most of the almost 10 million square kilometers of land between the Atlantic and Pacific is still uninhabited. The untouched nature ranges from the mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains, over countless rivers and lakes to wide tundra and prairie landscapes. The land of the maple is a popular study destination, especially for nature lovers. However, studying in Canada requires overcoming some bureaucratic obstacles first. That is why we have put together all the relevant information for you below.

Canada's society

In the hit series How I Met Your Mother, the Canadian Robin Scherbatsky is constantly bullied because of her origins. This is mainly due to the fact that their people show benevolence that is incomprehensible to Americans in every situation. In addition to nature, however, it is precisely this warmth that makes the country so charming.

Canada is only populated in a belt about 150 square kilometers wide, which also includes the cosmopolitan cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec and the capital Ottawa. The country has around 35 million inhabitants. The multicultural population consists mainly of European and Asian immigrant tribes. The Canadian government strives to preserve the diverse cultures of the immigrants. That is why a wide variety of festivals are celebrated together practically all year round.

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Due to Canada's immigration history, two national languages ​​have become established - French and English. The former is mainly spoken in the province of Quebec. Over 80 percent of the inhabitants there are of French origin.
This bilingualism is also reflected in Canada's education system. Studying in Canada is therefore possible in two languages!

Canada's higher education landscape

Canada's higher education landscape is similar to its population - colorful. This is primarily due to the fact that there is no higher education ministry. Instead, education is regulated by the ten provinces and three territories of Canada.

However, when it comes to tuition fees, courses and admission requirements, the individual universities have the final say. It is therefore difficult to make a general statement. You should therefore clarify these points with the respective educational institute.

Quality of education

Due to the different responsibilities, one could think that studying in Canada would be subject to strong quality fluctuations depending on the university. In fact, these are far lower than those of its southern neighbor, the USA.

One of the reasons for this is that Canada invests a lot of money in education compared to other OECD countries. At the same time, the educational institutions are in ever more intense competition with one another. Just to stay competitive, they have to offer a high quality study program. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) also regularly reviews the quality of the universities.

University types

Studying in Canada is generally possible at universities and colleges. The academic degrees Bachelor (undergratuate area), Master and Ph.D. (both graduate areas) can be obtained at universities. Colleges, on the other hand, mainly offer preparatory or job-related training courses. These conclude with a certificate or diploma. In the meantime, however, more and more academic courses are emerging at colleges. These are primarily bachelor's degree programs that are identified by the addition of “Bachelor of Applied Sicence / Business”.

Important:For these degrees, graduates should find out whether they are sufficient to start a master’s degree and whether they are recognized in Germany.

Duration of study

Studying in Canada has some differences compared to studying at a German university. A Bachelor's degree in Canada usually takes three to four years. A year is divided into either two semesters or three trimesters. The first semesters / trimesters represent a kind of Studium Generale, in which a deepening of the general education and preparation for the actual subject takes place. Only after this introductory period do the students specialize in their major, also known as a major.

A Bachelor of Honors is required for a Master’s degree in Canada. An honors degree is awarded to graduates of a three-year bachelor's degree after a further, fourth year of study. If the course is scheduled for four years in advance, an additional thesis is required for the honors degree.

Similar to Germany, a master’s degree in Canada takes one to two years. However, a distinction is made between two basic forms, the Master of Research and the Master of Coursework. In a Master of Coursework, students attend lectures and write exams and theses - similar to the bachelor's degree. The Master of Research, on the other hand, is based on largely independent research work.

After completing their master’s degree, students can acquire the highest academic degree, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). These doctorial studies are similar to the German doctoral program and last three years.

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Study in Canada: Study Alternatives

Maybe you don't want to do a full study abroad program in Canada. If your stay is to be short-lived, the following alternatives might be of interest to you.

Summer sessions

Many universities offer short-term study programs such as the so-called summer sessions. These take place from May to September. The Summer Sessions are intensive courses in which a complete semester at bachelor level is completed in just five to ten weeks.

A complete semester abroad can be completed during the semester break in this country.

Visiting student program

If you only want to study in Canada for one or two semesters, you can do so without being enrolled in a specific course. This type of semester abroad is called the visiting student program. You can use it to put together a timetable from the entire range of offers at the university and adapt it to the curriculum at your home university or explore other subject areas.

Studying in Canada: requirements

Usually, studying in Canada for a Bachelor's degree requires a general higher education entrance qualification. In some cases, however, the German technical diploma is sufficient. At colleges, the secondary school leaving certificate with completed vocational training is sometimes sufficient.

A master’s degree requires a previous bachelor’s degree. Since the honors degree is only achieved after four years, a German bachelor's degree may be rejected by the Canadian university. These admission requirements are usually checked individually by the universities. In addition, an academic admission test such as GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) may be required.

By the way: Masters and Diploma degrees are usually sufficient to be admitted to a Masters degree in Canada.

Your final grades are decisive for admission, but you must also prove that you have sufficient language skills. Since Canada has two official languages, you can study either in English, French or, in a few exceptions, bilingual depending on the university. English-speaking universities are clearly in the majority.

Proof of your English skills can be provided through a standardized test such as IELTS or TOEFL. French, on the other hand, is often tested in individual tests.

Is studying in Canada also recognized in Germany?

To put it soberly: it depends. With a classic bachelor's or master's degree at a Canadian university, recognition is unproblematic. However, this does not apply to postgraduate courses offered by Canadian universities that end with a post-degree diploma or a post-degree certificate.

Recognizing college degrees isn't easy either. These are vocational training courses that are more similar to German vocational training than to German university studies.

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Do I need a visa to study in Canada?

Whether or not studying in Canada requires a visa depends on the length of your stay. If you only want to complete a semester abroad and stay in the country for less than six months, no visa is required. However, a so-called eTA (electronic travel authorization) has been required since March 15, 2016.

A study permit is required for longer stays. You have to apply for this at the Visa Application Center (VAC) in Düsseldorf.

What does it cost to study in Canada?

As already mentioned, tuition fees in Canada vary greatly depending on the province and university. Nevertheless, some studies are significantly cheaper than in the USA. Local students benefit from the fact that their study places are subsidized by taxpayers' money. Unfortunately, this does not apply to foreign students.

Therefore, the following costs apply to international students:

• CAD $ 5,000-30,000 per year of Bachelor's degree
• CAD $ 8,000-34,000 per year of study in the Masters
• CAD $ 6,000-9,000 for visiting student programs or summer sessions
• Approximately CAD $ 1,000 monthly living expenses

Study in Canada: Funding Options

So that the costs of studying in Canada do not stand in your way or even become an insurmountable hurdle, there are a few options that you can consider.

DAAD scholarship

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awards numerous scholarships to students abroad in order to strengthen the German language overseas. The range of scholarships is broad and varies depending on the course and subject area. The joint establishment of German universities and student bodies, for example, rewards particularly high-performing students with annual scholarships. In addition, postgraduate students and doctoral students are also supported.

Foreign BAföG

The second way to master the costs of studying in Canada is with BAföG abroad. Outside the EU, and therefore also in Canada, funding is only possible for a maximum of one year.

The monthly funding rates are identical to those in Germany (maximum rate currently: 735 euros). In addition, tuition fees of a maximum of EUR 4,600 per year and a return trip up to a maximum of EUR 250 are covered.

Note:Even if you do not receive BAföG funding in Germany because you do not meet certain criteria, you may still be able to apply for BAföG abroad - the guidelines are not the same!

Part-time job

Of course, there is also the option in Canada of contributing to a living yourself. The best way to do this is with a part-time job. With your study permit you are entitled to work 20 hours per week during the current semester. You can also be employed full-time during the semester break.

Attractions in Canada

Studying in Canada, if you have made this decision, it is certainly not just because of the education. It is the beauty of the country that casts a spell over you. In the following we have listed some places and sights that you have to see during your stay.

Niagara Falls

It's easy for us to get started on this list, because Niagara Falls are THE must-see attraction in Canada! A little more than an hour's drive from Toronto, the water of the eponymous river plunges 57 meters into the depth. Both the falls and the adjacent Niagara Gorge attract millions of tourists every year. Over the centuries there have been particularly daring visitors among them.

Between the 19th and 20th centuries, attempts were made to cross the river with barrels or homemade boats. Tightrope walkers and other acrobats even made the nearby town of Niagara Falls look a bit carnival-like. An atmosphere that continues today.

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Signal Hill (St. John's)

At the next attraction there is a risk of confusion, because Cape Town in South Africa also has a Signal Hill. However, we should be interested in one of the most historic hills in Canada!

Signal Hill at the port of St. John's in the province of Newfoundland is not only the most easterly point in North America. Due to its location, it was also of strategic importance: The last battle of the Seven Years' War, in which France lost the territory to Great Britain, was fought in St. John's.

A real milestone in telecommunications can also be associated with Signal Hill. In 1901 the first transatlantic news signal was received here in the Carbot Tower. It was sent from Poldhu in England, 2,700 kilometers away.

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Churchill was once a major trading post on Hudson Bay. Today the name hides a small town with barely more than 800 inhabitants. The journey to the tranquil town in the province of Manitoba is arduous and only possible by bush plane or a two-day train ride, but it's worth it. The area is world-famous for the numerous polar bears that migrate from the interior to the coast in autumn. They are waiting for the sea to freeze over and go seal hunting!

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Lunenburg (Nova Scotia)

When we're talking about small towns, we shouldn't forget one of the most famous of them - Lunenburg. With its brightly colored houses, Lunenburg has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

First it was the Scots, then the French, later the English and finally the Germans who breathed life into the colorful city. The traditions of all these peoples can be found in Lunenburg.

By the way: Even today, around 80,000 people living in the province of Nova Scotia are Germans. So if you should ever feel homesick during your stay, the region around Lunenburg can certainly alleviate the pain a little!

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It would often be presumptuous to call an entire city a sight. This is not the case with Québec in the province of the same name.

The French heart of Canada is only a two and a half hour drive from Toronto and can be explored in a day trip. Québec on the St. Lawrence River is the oldest settlement in North America. Narrow streets and picturesque neighborhoods bear witness to the 16th century, when the city was founded as a fortress by the French.
The most famous landmarks that you should definitely see are the Place Royale, the Parliament building, the Notre Dame Basilica and the oldest district of the city - the Petit Champlain District.

The region around Québec also has a real natural spectacle to offer: the Montromancy waterfalls. These are perhaps less famous than the former Niagara Falls, but no less impressive! In fact, they're even bigger - where the water of the Montromancy meets the St. Lawrence River, it plunges a whopping 83 meters!

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Rocky Mountaineer

Do you want to relax from studying in Canada, just sit there and let the beauty of nature pass you by? Then a train ride on the Rocky Mountaineer is just the thing for you!

The Vancouver-based railroad company Rocky Mountaineer has been in business since 1990, offering train and package tours through the Rocky Mountains to Alaska on five routes. The panorama trains don't just stalk past the landscape, as you might be used to from fast-paced Europe. The average speed is around 45 kilometers per hour. The trips last two, three, four or nine days depending on the route and lead through the middle of the Rocky Mountains, so that you can admire breathtaking canyons, mountain passes and the national parks of Jasper and Banff.

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Studying in Canada takes a lot of thought. The higher education landscape is not regulated by a higher-level ministry and the recognition of individual degrees is sometimes difficult. But the land of the maple leaf is definitely worth the effort!

Image source: Many thanks to Jürgen Hoinka for the picture (© Jürgen Hoinka /

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