5 Steps to Canada

Find funding for your education

Canada requires all international applicants to have at least $20,000 CAD available to be eligible for a study permit, but this sum alone won't cover the entirety of your program fees and living expenses. So, you'll need other strategies to cover your costs.

Here are a few of the most common ways to fund your Canadian studies as an international student:

Scholarships and Bursaries

Scholarships are awarded for academic or community achievement, while bursaries are awarded based on financial need. You don't have to pay this money back, making scholarships and bursaries popular for students.

Scholarships and bursaries are typically offered by your school of study, but external organizations, companies, and governments offer them as well.

As an international student, you'll face a lot of competition for scholarships and bursaries, so put time in to research your options.

All registered users of StudyinCanada.com also have full access to ScholarshipsCanada.com, our sister site dedicated to scholarships and bursaries. Get a head start with this link to thousands of awards aimed at international students.

You'll also find advice and guidance on applying for these opportunities, so be sure to explore ScholarshipsCanada.com.

Loans for students

Another option for international students, especially at the graduate level, is taking on a private loan. In simple terms, a loan requires you to pay the money back, plus a little extra, referred to as interest.

Some companies exist to furnish international students with loans, like MPOWER Financing, for example. Though you'll have to repay the funds, a loan can be a good way to get the funding you need in the short term, so you can repay after starting your career.

Be aware that international students are not able to apply for Canadian student loans like OSAP or StudentAidBC.

Lines of Credit

A student line of credit is a type of loan with more favourable repayment terms. When you open a line of credit, you get approved for a certain amount, and can withdraw as much money as required up to that limit.

Some Canadian banks offer lines of credit to international students — see our article here for full details — and banks in your home country may also have similar programs to support students going abroad.

Working in Canada

As an international student in Canada, you'll be eligible to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and any number of hours while school is out — for summer breaks, winter holidays, and so on. This cap rises to 24 hours per week during the school year as of September 2024.

Canadian colleges and universities have career development offices to help you find work while you study, and after you graduate. These offices can often place you in a part-time job on campus, or help you find work locally.

Some programs have a "co-op," "internship," or “work-integrated learning” placement as part of the curriculum. These placements often pay students. You could also explore working as a research assistant, especially at research-intensive institutions.

Next Steps

You'll want to focus on saving up the $20,000 required to be eligible for a Canadian study permit first. Then, start searching for scholarship and bursary opportunities from the school(s) that interest you, and explore their co-op, internship, or on-campus work options. If required, research loans or lines of credit for international students, from Canadian banks or your home country.

Once you feel comfortable that you have the funds required to study and live in Canada, you're ready for the next step: securing your study permit.

 4: Secure your study permit