Canada is known as one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world, allowing for comparatively easy access to employment, education and permanent settling with citizenship. It also boasts world-class learning environments and educational technology and is home to many higher studies institutions that are one among the global top hundred. It is then no wonder that millions of people apply for Masters Studies in Canada every year. Here are some tips for those planning to prepare to take their masters here:
- Know more about Canada: Higher education abroad is not for the indecisive or those who get cold feet easily. One needs to be clear on what courses and institutions appeal to one’s interest and are also in line with the resources available. But first, it is advisable to do some research on Canada itself- its history, politics and the social conventions followed by communities. This helps one acclimatize to the new geopolitical space, and to cushion the culture shock waiting to happen. Learn about the cuisine and lifestyle of the Canadians, and try to get yourself acquainted with them in practice as well.
It is also crucial to keep track of the current political climate of Canada, especially regarding immigrant welfare and policy. The weather patterns and seasonal changes also may be extremely different from your original environment. Make sure you are prepared with the right kind of clothes since the Canadian winter can be particularly challenging.
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- Which institution and which course? It is especially important to read up on the Canadian university system and what to expect from it. Dig deep into the types of higher education available in the country. Decide on a few institutions, and do thorough research of what they have to offer in terms of placement opportunities and further education, and also the qualifications required for selection and enrollment.
Now, single in on the courses you want to take, reading up on their syllabi and reviews by previous students. Learn everything you possibly can about the application process for these programs. Try to get advice from someone who has experience studying abroad. Finally, choose one among them (or make a plan for how you can do more than one). Make sure that you choose to study from DLIs or Designated Learning Institutions. Only these institutions can take in foreign students, so an institution without this certification might possibly be unreliable or dubious. Contact these institutions and submit the applications way before the deadline.
Another factor that you need to take into consideration is the application fee, which is usually between $100-250.
- Study permit and travel documents: Good planning is essential to make sure that you have good experience in education abroad. It is best to start the process to acquire the study permit at least a year in advance. Collect information from sources that are credible, such as the websites of the Canadian government or affiliated organizations whose legitimacy can be verified. Once you have obtained your study permit, it is time to plan for your travel and stay in Canada.
Make sure all your travel documents are up to date, especially your passport. Follow through every step of the Visa application process. This will require declaring your proficiency in the relevant languages (in Canada’s case, usually English and French) by scoring required grades on proficiency tests, presenting evidence of income and financial background in the case of certain scholarships and also in order to prove that you are able to sustain yourself in the duration of your course. In the midst of this, it will come as good news that it is Indian students who hold the most number of study permits in Canada.
- Proficiency exams: It is important to choose an appropriate test for the course and institution that you are aiming for. Usually, a particular test and a minimum score for it is already a set requirement for most universities/colleges. For English proficiency, you could choose from amongst the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the Cambridge English: Advanced.
For French, you could consider the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française), the DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française), the TCF (Test de Connaissance du français) or the TEF (Test d’évaluation de français). A few of these French exams are unique to Canada.
In addition to these ways to prepare, it would be helpful to see if you are able to get health insurance coverage for the duration of the course as well as a good deal on the rent and other costs you have to pay that may not be covered under the main educational expenses. If you are in it for the long haul, it is an added bonus to choose an institution that provides you study permits for further post-doctoral research or work permits for a guaranteed or scholarship-based placement which will also open doors for permanent settlement.
Overall, a Masters Course in Canada can be a life-changing experience, and it would be wise to follow tried and tested methods to make the best out of it.