International Students: Studying in the US or Canada

By Ella Bergquist August 4, 2020 7 min. read
Studying in Canada

Pursing a college or post-graduate degree in a foreign country is an excellent way to expand your horizons. It provides you with a new look at a country and the opportunity for studying at excellent schools. You will demonstrate that you are adaptable and able to thrive in a culture other than your own. This is an invaluable skill in today’s rapidly globalizing society. If you are considering pursuing an academic career overseas, choosing the right educational path for you can seem overwhelming. The United States and Canada both offer programs for international students to enter the country. Both nations follow the same basic educational structure starting with an undergraduate degree followed by a master’s and finally a Ph.D. Each step on the educational rung is an opportunity for a curious student to pursue a degree. Although there are similarities between the two nations, they differ in fundamental ways when it comes to studying there as an international student.

What To Expect When Studying in Canada

In recent years, Canada has seen an upswing in the percentage of international students studying at their universities. There are several factors that come into play with this.

The Caliber of the Universities in Canada

Canada boasts three universities that are ranked among the top 100 in the world: the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University. Degrees from Canadian universities are recognized internationally as being equivalent to degrees earned in the United States. Many of the top schools are located in the county’s thriving cities. Cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Quebec, and Alberta offer students unique access to excellent cultural institutions. This access allows you to supplement your coursework and take a break from studying with art, theater, and music.

Cost of University Education

Canada offers relatively inexpensive tuition compared to the United States. Additionally, the cost of living in many Canadian cities is lower than living in America or the UK. International students also have the ability to apply for financial aid in the forms of scholarships, loans, and bursaries.

Ease of Immigration after Graduation

Canada offers graduates of certain degrees the option to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This work permit allows you to work in Canada after graduation. It also qualifies you for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker program. If you are not eligible for the PGWP, you may still be able to work in Canada using another type of permit after you finish studying.

Work Hour Allowance 

Many international students intend to work while studying in Canada to better support themselves, but there are rules to this. Building a platform and connections through job experience is vital when one enters the workforce. It’s important to know that international students in Canada can work for up to 20 hours per week, and full-time during scheduled breaks, without a work permit. 

Learn more about what international students can do while studying in Canada!

What to Expect When Studying in the United States

The United States has become a popular destination for international students known for its exceptional universities and high levels of education. For this reason, many international students apply each year to study in the US.

The Caliber of the Universities in the US

The United States’ universities are world-renowned. Schools like Columbia, MIT, Stanford, and Harvard bring to mind academic excellence. The U.S. also places an emphasis on a liberal arts education which means that undergraduate students are exposed to other academic areas beyond their chosen major. This flexibility in studying is the main characteristic of the American education system. This training is invaluable in the workplace because it creates well-rounded individuals. Additionally, schools in the United States are located in everything from small towns to big cities. This means there is a school environment for everyone.

Leading Research Universities

Many U.S. universities are research-oriented and provide valuable hands-on learning. Technology schools offer hands-on learning to students and access to cutting edge research. For STEM students, this kind of practical studying can make a huge difference in their employment prospects.

Extracurricular Development

Universities in the U.S. are committed to developing their students outside the classroom. As a result, there are numerous social, academic, sport, and professional organizations on each campus. This helps give students a holistic experience and prepares them to be valuable members of the community.

No Online-Only Course Loads

Due to Coronavirus, many universities and colleges have transitioned to online-only courses which sparked tension when ICE announced this is not an option for international students. As this has always been a policy for international students in the US, many students and colleges were searching for some relief. In conclusion. your can expect many students staying in their home country to attend school online while those already in the US don’t have to worry about deportation.

Learn more about what international students can do while studying in the US!

President Trump and Concern About Changing Immigration Laws

Immigration reform has been a key component of the changes proposed under President Trump’s administration. Recently, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy change that would go into effect on August 9th, 2018. This policy deals with the unlawful presence of students on American soil. After this date, anyone who stays past the date on their visa will immediately begin accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. which could lead to a 10-year re-entry ban. Students must be out of the country the day after their graduation, the day after they leave their course of study or the day after their I-94 expires. Other delinquent activities are working more than 20 hours a week or attending another school, other than the one specified on their visa. STEM students are facing increasing scrutiny as the U.S. government is looking to protect sensitive technological innovations that may have future weapons capabilities. In particular, Chines students may not be able to apply for long-term visas and instead will be forced to apply yearly.

International students in the United States are facing an uncertain immigration situation. They may face difficulty immigrating to the U.S. after graduation which negates some of the benefits of studying there. Additionally, there is no guarantee that this immigration upheaval will settle in the near future.

FAQ – United States

Can I hold a job while studying in the United States? 

Yes, however, the process of finding work while a student can be challenging. F-1 students are not allowed to work off-campus during their first academic year. After the first year, F-1 students may work off-campus. M-1 students may only work in practical training positions after they graduate. Additionally, employers may not have a firm understanding of your visa requirements or the challenges that come from being an international student. Find out more about how to find a job as an international student.

What are the types of student visas for studying in the United States?

The U.S. offers two types of student visas: the F-1 student visa and the M-1 student visa. Find out more about the M-1 and F-1 visas.

FAQ – Canada

What happens if my student visa for studying in Canada is denied in 2018?

If you are refused a visa, the case officer will include a detailed letter explaining the reasoning behind the refusal.  You must carefully review this information and determine the ways that you can improve your application. It might be beneficial to consult an immigration lawyer while completing revisions to your application. Find out more about Canada visa refusals.

What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Student Permit?

The SDS is replacing the Student Partners Programme (SPP) and aims to shorten the processing time for student visa applications. Additionally, it seeks to allow more students from India, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines to study in Canada. Find out if you are eligible for the SDS program.

Which schools are considered Designated Learning Institutions for studying in Canada?
In order to study in Canada as an international student, you must attend a designated learning institution. Find out which schools are DLS.

How do I determine the cost of studying in Canada?

Determining the cost of tuition and living is an important aspect of choosing your program. Use the Step 1-2-3 tool on EduCanada to determine your educational costs.

Are You Interested in Studying in Canada or the US?

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

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