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Life as an International Student in Canada: Beyond the Classroom

Canada has always been a popular destination among students who wish to pursue higher education. Every year thousands of international students come to Canada for studies in search of a better future. In 2023, 900000 students have already come to Canada, and in 2022, Canada welcomed 551,405 international students from 184 countries. International students contribute around CAD$22.3 billion to the Canadian economy. The revenue generated from the study permits exceeds the revenue generated from some of the key industries in Canada. These international students not only bring money with them but also provide labor to Canadian industries, which are always facing labor shortages in terms of part-time employment.

Some of the international students came to Canada to take refuge, but most of them came here for a better future. Students have to go through extreme challenges to continue their studies. As they have to do the work to manage their expenses and gain experience. They are paying 3x the tuition fee compared to the domestic students and most of them take heavy loans from the banks to sponsor their studies and repay it by working along their studies. Last year IRCC lifted the 20-hour work cap for international students and they are allowed to work full time this privilege ends on December 31, 2023.  

It was difficult because they had to cook, work, and focus on their studies as well. It sounds easy now but it isn’t:

1. Homesickness

Many international students face isolation and loneliness because they are far away from their families and friends. They face significant pressure because there is no one to support them and they have to manage everything themselves. the sudden change in the environment, lifestyle, food, and community support make them feel lonely. 

Cultural differences can make it more difficult to adjust and can cause a lack of interest in the surroundings. Moreover, there is a language barrier. No matter how good you score in the IELTS there is always a language barrier when you are moving to a new country. Speaking in English makes some people shy and nervous as a result they are afraid to interact with people.

Common symptoms of Homesickness:

Loss of interest

Productivity has suffered.


Feelings of Isolation

Low self-esteem

Nervousness,  despair

2. Weather 

The cold weather and lack of sunlight during the winter season can be gloomy. Because of the weather, people are less inclined to be outside and more likely to stay indoors, which can worsen feelings of loneliness. According to the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, it is extremely usual for newcomers to Canada to experience “a decline in their mental health” during the winter.

3. Difficulty in Adapting

It may be tough for some of us to adjust to new changes in our lifestyle. Even when we are required to adjust to new changes, we may tend to stay in our previous habits. I had a difficult time adjusting to the new time zone. I used to go to class in the morning, sleep all day, and then wake up around midnight. I passed up numerous opportunities to socialize and tour the city. Such habits can cause us to feel lonely and homesick. I eventually adjusted to the new time zone, got my groove, and began engaging more.

4. Learn to do household chores.

Students have to manage everything themselves. They have to do all the household chores like cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. According to the Varsity, rising housing, food, and transit costs are causing major hardship for Toronto students. To make ends meet, many students work longer hours, leaving little time for learning. This produces tension and anxiety, affecting students’ mental health and academic performance. They have to work a lot on time management and don’t have the time for themselves.

5. Financial Burden

The cost of living in Canada can be substantial, and tuition rates for international students are often much more than those for native students. International students may also have trouble finding part-time work to support themselves, since employers may be unwilling to recruit persons who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

International students who have financial difficulties might look into scholarships and bursaries offered by their universities or external organizations. They can also look for part-time work on campus or in their local community. International students can also develop a budget and prioritize their spending to ensure that they are living within their means.

6.  Academic Pressure

When studying in Canada, international students may encounter academic pressure. Academic standards in Canada may differ from those in their home country, and overseas students may struggle to keep up with the workload or understand their teachers’ expectations. Furthermore, international students may experience homesickness or culture shock, which can have an impact on their academic performance.

International students might seek help from their professors, teaching assistants, or academic advisors to overcome academic pressure. They can also join study groups or academic help programs offered by their university. Furthermore, overseas students can emphasize their mental and physical health by taking breaks as needed, obtaining counseling services, and leading a healthy lifestyle. International students can succeed by balancing their academic and personal obligations.

7. Difficulty with Health Care

International students in Canada may also face difficulties in obtaining health care. While many colleges provide health insurance to overseas students, the costs might be exorbitant and the coverage may be limited. Furthermore, international students may be unfamiliar with the Canadian healthcare system, making it harder for them to obtain the necessary care.

To overcome healthcare issues, international students should become acquainted with the Canadian healthcare system as well as their university’s health insurance policy.
Overall, studying in Canada may be a great experience for international students, but it is not without its obstacles. Language hurdles, culture shock, financial obligations, accommodation, and health care are just a few of the challenges that international students may experience when they come to Canada. However, with careful planning, knowledge, and preparation, international students may overcome these obstacles. To know more about the job opportunities available immigration consultants in Canada can help you know the particular immigration programs.

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