Canada is a popular destination for international students looking to pursue their higher education. With its world-renowned universities, quality education system, and diverse culture, Canada offers a unique experience for students from all over the world. However, studying in Canada can be expensive for many international students. This is where study and work programs come into play.
Study and work programs in Canada allow international students to work while they study. This not only helps them finance their education but also provides them with valuable work experience and exposure to the Canadian job market. These programs are designed to provide an opportunity for international students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study while pursuing their education.
Types of Study and Work Programs
1. Co-op or Internship Programs:
Co-operative education (co-op) or internship programs are popular among international students as they provide hands-on practical experience in a professional setting. Under these programs, students can alternate between periods of academic study and paid work terms related to their field of study. Co-op/internship placements can range from 4-16 months depending on the program and institution. These opportunities not only allow students to earn money but also gain relevant industry experience which can be beneficial for future job prospects.
2. Work-Study Programs:
Work-study programs offer part-time employment opportunities within the university campus itself. This allows students to balance their studies with part-time jobs without having to leave campus premises. The availability of such positions may vary depending on the institution, but they typically include roles like library assistants, research assistants, or administrative support staff.
3. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP):
The PGWP is a popular option for international graduates who wish to gain Canadian work experience after completing their studies. This permit allows eligible graduates from participating Canadian institutions to remain in Canada and work for up to three years, depending on the length of their program. This is a valuable opportunity for international students to gain work experience and potentially qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class immigration program.
4. Working Holiday Programs:
Canada has reciprocal agreements with several countries that allow young people (usually between 18-35 years old) to obtain a working holiday visa. This visa allows individuals to live and work in Canada for up to one year, with the option to extend it for an additional year. The primary purpose of this program is cultural exchange, but participants can also use this opportunity to earn money and gain work experience in Canada.
5. Student Ambassador Programs:
Student ambassador programs are offered by some Canadian institutions as part of their student services or international student support initiatives. These programs provide current students with opportunities to represent their institution at events, participate in marketing activities, and assist new international students with their transition into Canada. In some cases, these positions may also come with financial compensation or other benefits, such as free accommodation or meal plans.
6. Professional Development Programs:
Some institutions offer professional development programs for international students in certain fields such as business, technology, or healthcare. These programs are designed to provide specialized training and practical experience in a specific industry, allowing students to develop their skills and increase their employability in Canada.
7. Study and Work Abroad Programs:
Study and work abroad programs allow Canadian students to study at a partner institution overseas while also gaining valuable international work experience. Similarly, international students can participate in these programs and study at a Canadian institution while working part-time or completing an internship in their field of study. These programs provide opportunities for cultural exchange, networking, and developing global perspectives.
8. Volunteering Programs:
Volunteering is an excellent way for international students to gain valuable work experience while giving back to the community. Many organizations in Canada offer volunteer opportunities in various fields such as social services, environmental conservation, and education. These experiences can enhance a student’s resume and also provide them with the opportunity to network with professionals in their field of interest.
Benefits of Studying and Working in Canada for International Students
- Access to World-Class Education
- Opportunities for Career Growth
- Affordable Education
- Safe and Welcoming Environment
- Opportunity for Permanent Residency
- Cultural Exposure
Eligibility Requirements for Study and Work Programs
1. General Eligibility Requirements
In order to participate in a study and work program in Canada, international students must meet certain general eligibility requirements. These requirements are set by the Canadian government and aim to ensure that students have the necessary resources and qualifications to successfully complete their studies and contribute to the Canadian workforce.
To be eligible for a study and work program, students must:
- Be enrolled as a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.
- Hold a valid study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- Have sufficient financial resources to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.
- Meet the language proficiency requirements for their chosen program of study.
- Have no criminal record or serious health issues.
- Plan to leave Canada upon completion of their studies.
It is important to note that each province may have additional eligibility criteria, so it is recommended for students to research the specific requirements of their desired location before applying for a study and work program.
2. Program-Specific Eligibility Requirements
In addition to the general eligibility requirements mentioned above, there may also be specific criteria that international students need to meet in order to be eligible for certain study and work programs. These requirements vary depending on the program level (undergraduate or graduate) as well as the field of study.
For undergraduate programs, students must typically have completed secondary education equivalent to Canadian high school with good grades. Some programs may also require specific subjects or courses as prerequisites.
For graduate programs, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with good grades and may also need to provide evidence of relevant work experience or research skills.
Some programs, such as those in the healthcare field, may have additional requirements such as specific certifications or licenses. It is important for students to thoroughly research the eligibility requirements for their desired program before applying.
3. Work Permit Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible for a work permit under a study and work program, international students must meet the following requirements:
- Have a valid study permit.
- Be enrolled full-time at a designated learning institution.
- Study in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least 6 months in duration.
- Have completed at least 6 months of studies in Canada.
- Maintain satisfactory academic standing during their studies.
- Have no serious violations of immigration regulations.
- Plan to leave Canada upon completion of their studies.
Additionally, some study and work programs may require students to obtain a Co-op work permit in order to participate in paid work placements as part of their program. Students will need to obtain this permit before starting any kind of paid employment.
It is important for international students to carefully review the specific eligibility requirements for both their study permit and work permit, as these may vary depending on the program and location.
Popular Universities and Colleges Offering Study and Work Programs
1. University of Toronto:
The University of Toronto is one of the top public research universities in Canada, renowned for its academic excellence and diverse student community. It offers various undergraduate and graduate degree programs across three campuses St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. The university has a strong reputation for its co-op program which allows students to alternate between periods of full-time studies and paid work terms related to their field of study.
2. University of British Columbia (UBC):
Located in Vancouver, UBC is another highly ranked research-intensive university offering a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. The university provides multiple options for international students looking to gain practical experience while studying through co-op placements or internships with industry partners.
3. Humber College:
Humber College is one of the largest publicly-funded colleges in Canada with four main campuses situated in Toronto. It offers over 180 programs in various fields, including business, technology, health sciences, and media studies. Humber College’s Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program provides students with opportunities for on-the-job training, internships, and co-op placements to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field.
4. Seneca College:
Located in Toronto, Seneca College is a leading applied arts and technology institution offering over 300 full-time programs at the certificate, diploma, degree, and graduate levels. The college has strong partnerships with industry partners that provide students with opportunities for experiential learning through co-op placements and internships.
5. Centennial College:
Centennial College is another popular college located in Toronto that offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in areas such as business, engineering technology, health sciences, hospitality management, and more. The college’s Co-operative Education program allows students to gain practical experience by alternating between periods of academic study and work terms related to their program.
6. University of Waterloo:
The University of Waterloo is a renowned public research university located in Ontario that is known for its innovative approach to higher education. It offers study and work opportunities through its co-op program which has over 100 areas of study available, including engineering, science, arts, and business.
7. Simon Fraser University (SFU):
Located in Burnaby, British Columbia, SFU is a top-ranked university known for its strong programs in business and technology. The university offers a Co-operative Education program that integrates academic studies with work terms to provide students with hands-on experience and professional development opportunities.
8. Algonquin College:
Algonquin College is a public college located in Ottawa that offers over 185 programs across various fields such as business, health sciences, media studies, and more. The college’s Co-operative Education program allows students to gain practical experience through paid work placements with industry partners.
9. Sheridan College:
Sheridan College is an internationally recognized institution located in Ontario that offers over 120 diploma, degree, and graduate certificate programs. The college’s Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program provides students with opportunities for internships and co-op placements to gain real-world experience in their chosen field.
10. George Brown College:
George Brown College is a publicly-funded college located in Toronto that offers over 150 programs in areas such as construction management, hospitality management, health sciences, and more. The college’s Work-Integrated Learning program provides students with opportunities for on-the-job training, internships, and co-op placements to gain practical experience in their field of study.
Types of Jobs Available for International Students
1. Types of Part-time Jobs:
Part-time jobs are a popular option for international students in Canada as they offer a flexible work schedule that allows students to balance their studies and earn some extra income. The most common types of part-time jobs available for international students include:
a. On-campus jobs: Many Canadian universities and colleges offer various on-campus job opportunities such as working at the library, cafeteria, bookstore, or administrative offices. These jobs usually pay minimum wage and provide a convenient location for students to work.
b. Off-campus jobs: International students are also allowed to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during breaks. These jobs can be found in retail stores, restaurants, call centers, or other industries depending on the student’s skills and experience.
c. Internships/Co-op placements: Another option for international students is to participate in internships or co-op placements related to their field of study. These opportunities not only provide valuable work experience but also help enhance their resume and increase job prospects after graduation.
2. Types of Full-time Jobs:
While pursuing their studies in Canada, international students may also have the opportunity to work full-time during scheduled breaks like summer or winter vacations. Some of the full-time job options available for these students include:
a. Seasonal Work: During peak tourist seasons, there is an increased demand for temporary workers in industries such as hospitality, tourism, or agriculture. International students with relevant skills can take advantage of these opportunities to earn a higher income.
b. Freelancing: With the rise of the gig economy, freelancing has become a popular option for students to work on their own terms and schedule. Students can offer services such as graphic designing, writing, or web development and find clients through online platforms.
c. Teaching/Tutoring: International students with strong academic backgrounds can offer tutoring services in subjects they excel in. They can also apply for teaching assistant positions at their university or college if they meet the requirements.
3. Types of Jobs after Graduation:
After completing their studies, international students have the opportunity to stay and work in Canada through various programs such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program or permanent residency pathways. Some of the job options available for international graduates include:
a. Entry-level jobs: Many international graduates start their career in Canada by taking up entry-level jobs in their field of study. These jobs may not be directly related to their degree but provide valuable work experience and help them network with professionals in their industry.
b. Skilled Worker Programs: International students who wish to stay and work in Canada permanently can apply for permanent residency through skilled worker programs such as Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program (PN P). These programs require applicants to have work experience and skills in high-demand occupations.
c. Entrepreneurship: Some international students may choose to start their own business in Canada after graduation. The country has a thriving startup ecosystem, and there are various supports available for entrepreneurs, such as startup incubators and funding programs.
How to Apply for Study and Work Programs in Canada
1. Research your options: The first step in applying for a study and work program in Canada is to research your options. Take some time to explore different universities, colleges, and programs offered by them. Consider factors like location, cost of living, program duration, job opportunities after graduation, etc. Make sure to choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals.
2. Meet the eligibility requirements: Each university or college may have its own set of eligibility requirements for international students. These may include academic qualifications, English language proficiency tests (such as IELTS or TOEFL), standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT), transcripts from previous education institutions, letters of recommendation, etc. It is important to carefully review these requirements before applying to ensure that you meet all criteria.
3. Prepare necessary documents: Once you have identified the programs you want to apply for and checked their eligibility requirements, it’s time to start preparing your application documents. These typically include academic transcripts from high school or previous education institutions, English language proficiency test results if required, letters of recommendation from teachers or employers if required by the university/college/program, and a personal statement or essay. Make sure to gather all necessary documents and have them translated into English or French, if required.
4. Apply for a study permit: As an international student, you will need a study permit to be able to study in Canada. You can apply for a study permit online through the Government of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. The application process may differ depending on your country of residence, so make sure to check the specific requirements for your country.
5. Apply to universities/colleges: After obtaining your study permit, you can start the application process for the universities or colleges you have chosen. Most institutions have an online application process that includes submitting your personal information, academic qualifications, and any supporting documents required by the university/college/program.
6. Pay application fees: Along with your application, you will also be required to pay an application fee for each program you are applying to. These fees may vary depending on the institution and program, so make sure to check with each university or college beforehand.
7. Wait for acceptance letters: Once you have submitted your applications and paid the fees, you will need to wait for acceptance letters from the institutions you applied to.
8. Accept an offer and pay tuition fees: If you receive an acceptance letter from one or more institutions, you will need to choose the one you want to attend and accept their offer. You will also be required to pay a deposit or full tuition fees, depending on the institution’s policies.
9. Apply for a work permit: With a study permit, international students are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks. To work in Canada, you will also need to apply for a work permit through IRCC.
10. Prepare for your move: Once all of the above steps are completed, it’s time to prepare for your move to Canada! This may include obtaining health insurance, finding accommodation, and arranging transportation.
Cost of Living as an International Student in Canada
1. Accommodation: The cost of accommodation varies depending on the location and type of housing chosen by the student. On-campus residence halls are usually more expensive than off-campus options such as renting a room or apartment. Students can expect to pay around $600-$1000 per month for shared accommodations and around $1000-$1500 for single rooms or apartments.
2. Food: The average monthly food expenses for an international student can range from $200-$400, depending on personal preferences and dietary restrictions. Cooking meals at home can help save money compared to eating out frequently.
3. Transportation: The transportation costs in Canada vary depending on the city and mode of transport used by the student. Public transportation is generally cheaper than owning a car, with monthly passes ranging from $80-$120 in most cities.
4. Health Insurance: All international students in Canada are required to have health insurance coverage during their stay. The cost of health insurance varies depending on the province but typically ranges from $300-$600 per year.
5. Tuition Fees: Tuition fees for international students in Canada vary significantly based on the program, institution, and level of study (undergraduate or graduate). Undergraduate tuition fees can range from $15,000-$30,000 per year, while graduate tuition fees can range from $20,000-$35,000 per year.
6. Personal Expenses: This includes expenses for entertainment, clothing, personal care products, and other miscellaneous items. The average monthly cost for personal expenses can range from $100-$300.
7. Phone and Internet: These are essential expenses for students to stay connected with their families and friends back home. The average monthly cost for a phone and internet plan can range from $50-$100.
Overall, the cost of living as an international student in Canada can range from $8000-$18,000 per year depending on the location and lifestyle of the student. It is important to carefully budget and plan for these expenses before arriving in Canada to ensure a comfortable living experience during your studies. Additionally, students can also look into scholarships, bursaries or part-time jobs to help cover some of these costs.
Tips for Balancing Studies and Work in Canada
- Create a schedule and stick to it
- Prioritize tasks
- Utilize breaks efficiently
- Communicate openly with employers
- Take advantage of online learning opportunities
- Seek support from friends and family
- Stay organized
- Take care of yourself
- Don’t overcommit
- Remember the big picture