Canada welcomes international students to come and study at one of the many fine educational institutions around the country. There are several colleges and universities to choose from in Vancouver. College, by the way, in Canada, is community college or junior college in the U.S., while university is everything above that level. The University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) are the three major publicly-funded universities in Vancouver. BCIT is not strictly a university as it is not a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges, but it is considered the premier institute of technology in the country. If accepted to one of these or other schools (a list can be found here: http://www.learnlivebc.ca/map.htm#57), you can apply for a study permit which entitles you to legally stay in Canada for the duration of your studies. If you find that your study permit is about to expire and you have not yet completed your course of study, you can apply for an extension (but make sure to do so before it expires).
In order to apply for a study permit, you must meet certain criteria:
- You must be able to prove that you have adequate funds to support yourself (and your dependents, if applicable) without working for at least one year, and also be able to cover your tuition costs.
- You must show proof that you have the necessary funds to pay for your return trip once your course of study is finished.
- You must also meet all the general criteria for coming to Canada (mentioned in the “You want to go on reconnaissance” section).
Once you are ready to apply, you can either download the forms from the CIC website, complete and print, or, if you are already in Canada, you can apply for your study permit online. You can access the forms and online link here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-how-documents.asp.
Once your application is approved (for students from outside the U.S.), a confirmation letter will be mailed to you. You will need to bring this letter with you to your point of entry. If necessary, you will also be issued a Temporary Resident Visa at this time. You won’t need to submit a separate application ahead of time or pay any additional fees. Citizenship and Immigration Canada recommends applying for your study permit as soon as you receive your official letter of acceptance from the school you will be attending.
There are many reasons to consider studying in British Columbia (BC). The quality of education in BC is high, and schools here are considered among the best in the world. UBC in Vancouver is ranked as the fourth best university in all of North America. And BC is a great place to live! The standard of living is high, especially in Vancouver, and the natural beauty of BC is stunning. British Columbians are very friendly and welcoming, and it’s not hard to meet people and make new friends.