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How to Move to Montreal as an International Student

A cosmopolitan city with a vibrant cultural scene, Montreal is the best student city in North America. It’s easy to see why, with its energetic festivals, relatively low cost of living and diverse population. You’ve made the right choice to study in Canada – but you may be wondering how to move to Montreal as an international student. 

Every year, Concordia welcomes thousands of international students through its doors. Our International Students Office is here to ensure you have a smooth transition to Montreal. You’re going through some exciting changes, and we’re here to help you with the big move.  

Before your departure 

Make sure you have all your required immigration documents, along with your valid passport. It is your responsibility to make sure you have all the legal documents needed to study in Quebec. 

You’ll want to consult the ISO’s pre-departure checklist to confirm that you’ve completed all the necessary steps before boarding the plane. This includes booking temporary accommodation for when you land in Montreal, if you will be looking for an apartment to rent.

Arriving at the airport in Montreal

You’ll want to arrive in Montreal at least two weeks before classes begin, so you’ll have time to get settled. When you arrive, have the address of your accommodation on hand. A taxi from the airport to downtown is about $41, but Uber may have different prices. Bus 747 is $10 and will take you downtown to Berri-UQAM metro station.

Set up your Canadian accounts

The advantage of arriving early is that you’ll have time to get yourself sorted—not to mention recovering from jetlag! Getting a Canadian SIM card, opening a bank account, finding a place to live and getting your WiFi set up will take time, but don’t stress! We have a few tips for settling in, which you’ll want to look over after arriving. 

If you’re fresh out of high school, check if you qualify for Concordia’s on-campus housing.  

Get ready for school  

Getting your student ID, registering for classes, sorting out health insurance and paying tuition should all be completed before the term begins. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your pre-term tasks, check out the new student checklist to keep track of what you need to do at the start of your first term. 

Connect with Concordia’s international community

With thousands of international students on campus from over 150 countries, you’ll meet many students who are going through a similar experience. The ISO holds events and workshops for newly arrived international students, so you’ll have many opportunities to meet new friends in your new home. 

Try new things

Montreal was voted the safest city in the world for travelers in 2022. There’s plenty of exciting experiences that await, including trying new foods like poutine, or maybe experiencing your first snowfall. Don’t forget to snap some photos for your friends and family back home—they’ll want to see your new life!


If at any time you’re feeling confused about applying to Concordia and moving to Montreal, reach out! Our Office of Student Recruitment can answer your questions about admissions, and the International Students Office can answer your questions about the immigration process. 

Top 5 Student-Friendly Cities in The World

You’ve chosen the subject you want to pursue. You have a good idea of what job title you want to nail after graduation. You’ve always dreamed of living and learning in a different country. All that’s left now is to pick the city you want to study next.

Here’s a list of the top 5 student-friendly cities in the world. Each can offer you valuable study opportunities, career options and unforgettable life experiences.

1. London, UK

Why study in London?

In London, you’ll find some of the best universities and colleges in the world, with Imperial College London and University College London ranked in the world’s top 10 (QS Top Universities 2021). When you’re not busy studying and you want to unwind during term time, you can explore London’s top attractions such as the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard’s observation deck and discover London’s history at the London Dungeons. 

2. Montréal, Canada

Why study in Montréal?

As soon as you arrive, friendly locals will greet you with warmth all year-round – yes, even if it’s winter! Regardless of the climate you’ve been used to in your home country, Montréal will open a whole new world for you, where the beauty of winter will be the main character. No matter if you travel to Canada for a one-month study abroad experience or to study for a three-year Bachelor’s degree, you must definitely try out ice skating at least once and all the festive markets held in Vieux-Montréal.

3. Berlin, Germany

Why study in Berlin?

Regarded as one of the coolest urban hubs of Europe, Berlin promises students an unforgettable living and learning experience at decent prices. The low cost of living combined with a colourful nightlife transforms Berlin into one of the most welcoming cities for international students. It offers endless travelling opportunities in every direction. So, why not wake up early on a Saturday, rent a car and drive around Europe with your new uni friends.

4. Sydney, Australia

Why study in Sydney?

With exhaustive English-language programmes for non-English speakers and home to some of the best universities in Australia, Sydney is the dream city for every international student. The best part of coming here is that with the student visa, you are also granted permission to work up to 40 hours every two weeks. And that applies throughout your whole academic year! With an amazing climate, iconic landscapes and, not to mention, Sydney’s Taronga Zoo daily Koala Encounter sessions, Sydney will quickly become a holiday resort for your studies.

5. Seoul, South Korea

Why study in Seoul?

Who could say no to a global city with a 24/7 vibe, ranked one of the best in the world for employer activity? Plus, the quality of education in Seoul is beyond exceptional. This comes at a very decent price since everything from accommodation to food is very cheap. The modern skyscrapers, Buddhist temples and countless food markets prove that Seoul is a must-see city. And what better way of discovering it if not by living and studying there? Visit The Trickeye Museum, Lotte World, and Everland (South Korea’s largest outdoor theme park).

So, where are you heading to next?

How to Apply to Study in Canada

Canada is a fantastic place to study. Home to some of the world’s top universities, it remains a firm favourite with international students from all over the world. In this article, we’ll explain the Canadian education system, what’s required for your application and the application process.

The Canadian Education System

The education system in Canada is very similar to the system in the U.S. There are publicly-funded and private schools, including community and technical colleges, language and secondary schools, universities and summer schools. This means you’ll have lots of choice when it comes to finding the right institution for you. Like most other countries, universities in Canada offer Bachelors degrees (typically 4-year courses), Masters degrees (an additional 1-2 years), Diplomas, PhDs (of approx. 3 years) and a variety of short courses.

Like the USA, Canada is home to some of the top universities in the world. Canada has 27 universities in the top 1,000 best places to study, with ten ranking in the top 25% (QS World University Rankings 2022).

According to QS 2022, the 10 best universities in Canada are:

    1. University of Toronto, Toronto
    2. McGill University, Montreal
    3. University of British Columbia, Vancouver
    4. Université de Montréal, Montreal
    5. University of Alberta
    6. McMaster University, Hamilton
    7. University of Waterloo, Waterloo
    8. Western University, London, Canada
    9. University of Ottawa, Ottawa
    10. University of Calgary, Calgary

Canada is also home to a range of Community Colleges and Technical Colleges (very similar to university colleges), which provide an alternative route to university. These colleges offer a range of qualifications, from two-year associates degrees to four-year bachelors degrees and a range of diplomas and certificates. While each college will differ, Community and Technical Colleges tend to offer a more ‘hands on’ approach to learning, with more technical courses and smaller class sizes than universities. 

The skills and qualifications learnt in an associates degree may also transfer into points that can count towards a university degree. This allows international students to start off their education at a smaller community college and ‘transfer’ to a 4-year university after two years. This is a popular route for international students as it boasts lower fees and less stringent entry requirements.

Career colleges, on the other hand, are privately owned institutions offering training programmes designed to provide students with practical training for the world of employment. They have short-term courses to provide students with the skills needed for the workplace, such as computer and secretarial skills. Although the institutions are private, they are approved and regulated by the province to ensure a high-quality standard.

Admission Requirements, Deadlines And… Fees!

To apply for an international degree in Canada, you must tick off two very crucial requirements:

  1. Language proficiency;
  2. Necessary funds to cover your living expenses and tuition fees.

Entry requirements will vary depending on your home country, the course you’re applying for and your chosen institution(s). It’s best to contact your institution directly to find out their specific entry requirements. You may need to prove that your qualifications are comparable in quality to Canadian education, therefore your qualifications might be assessed (there are various agencies that can do this for you – see the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website for more information on this subject).

Language Proficiency

Depending on the course you choose to go for, you’ll need to submit a proof of proficiency in either French or English. Remember that in Quebec, French is the official language, and the majority of Canadian universities offer courses in both languages. 

Institutions will normally have their own requirements for language proficiency in French or English. If neither of these is your first language, you will normally be required to prove your ability through achievement of a certain level in a recognised language test (such as IELTS or TOEFL exams or Cambridge English: Advanced – CAE).

Tuition Fees and Deadlines

It is only natural to assume that international students have to pay higher fees than domestic students. You can find graduate programs at around CAD$6,000, all the way up to CAD$35,000, but there are plenty of opportunities for exceptional learners who can obtain scholarships, grants, bursary options. For more information, check out our article on how much it costs to study in Canada.

In most cases, you will need to apply to an institution directly, either by downloading or requesting an application form, and submitting it with the relevant documents online or via post. Contact your chosen institution directly or visit their website for information about how to apply. 

You may have to pay an application fee, depending on the university and program. In Ontario however, you may apply to as many institutions as you like. There is a base application fee of CAD$156 for the first 3 university/program choices, plus CAD$10 for the international service fee. For each additional program choice beyond these, you’ll need to pay CAD$50 per choice. It’s important to know that fees for withdrawn university choices won’t be refunded.

It is advisable to start preparing your application at least a year in advance, though you should ask institutions for their specific application deadlines, as these may vary. For Ontario applications, there is no deadline, but you should apply as soon as it is open in October. Whilst there is no specific deadline, applications received before the ‘Equal Consideration Date’ (usually in February) must be given equal consideration so it is advisable to apply before this date.

Living Expenses

Living expenses can start from 10,000 Canadian Dollars per year study year, even more when applying to study in Quebec – note that this in on top of the tuition fees. Unfortunately, in Canada, you can rely much on what you might gain from working while studying because you’re only allowed to up to 20 hours per week of working (although full-time jobs are permitted during summer breaks).

Staying in Canada after Graduation: Opportunities

If you want to stay in Canada after graduation to live and work, you’ll need to apply for a post-graduation work permit. This will allow you to stay in Canada for up to three years and will make you exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirements. This means it’ll be easier for employers to hire you. There is a high interest for skilled professionals in all sorts of industries (engineering, graphic design, HR, natural sciences – just to name a few) in Canada, so as long as you keep to your studies and plan to polish your talent within the country.

Good to Know

For any information at all, check constantly the Citizenship and Immigration Canada page to find a Canadian school that can host international students. Also, stay connected to the Universities Canada website to get the most updated statistics on Canadian universities. The legislation, deadlines and fees might change yearly, so keep an eye on these websites before applying. And more importantly, good luck!

How Much Does It Cost to Study in Canada?

For many international students, money is a major factor when deciding where they want to study abroad. And more often than not, finding out how much studying in a different country actually costs isn’t that easy. Let’s take a look into how much it costs to study at university or college in Canada.

When choosing a specific college or university to attend, there are a number of factors you need to consider. These can include things like safety, geographical location, the size of the institution, the quality of the teaching, the number of international students studying there already and the international reputation of the university. However, if the cost of the course is unaffordable then all of these other factors will play a secondary role.

Your starting point is your course content. First, find a course at a university that you like the look of and find out how much the course fees are. This will either be listed as a total cost for the whole of the course (usually lasting three or four years of study), or the fees will be listed per semester.

Tuition fees by university

UnivCan.ca is an online resource providing information about Canada’s higher education institutions. They break down the basic costs of study for both domestic and international (marked as ‘foreign’) students. You can filter these results by institution, cost per year and province.

These figures do not take into consideration funding options, such as scholarships, grants, students loans which may be used to fund international study at each institution, so they should only be used as a benchmark figure to give an approximate idea of study costs without financial aid.

Certain courses will also incur higher fees so always check with an institution for the most up to date tuition fees for each course. For specific information about study scholarships available in Canada, you should check on specific institutions’ websites, as well as scholarship sites such as TopUniversities and Scholars4dev.

Other costs to consider

When it comes to studying overseas, the costs don’t stop at tuition fees. Here’s a list of other costs that you’ll need to consider when studying in Canada.

  • International travel and flight costs
  • Student visas
  • Accommodation and housing costs
  • Additional course costs – textbooks, uniform etc.
  • Living costs – food, daily travel, socialising other living expenses
  • Health insurance
  • Bills such as your phone bill, internet, Netflix etc.

Top 10 Most Popular Countries for International Students 2020

So you want to go to university, but you’re not sure where. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. You’ll be pleased to know that living and learning in a different country can bring SO many benefits, personal and professional. According to Statista, these are the top study destinations for international students in 2020. Are any of these on your list?

1. United States – 1,075,496 International Students

From New York to LA, Florida to Seattle, America is one of the most expansive and diverse countries in the entire world. It is home to some of the very best universities. Though the cost of studying and living in America can be tear-jerkingly high, the freedom to explore and the sheer quality of the courses is surely worth it.

2. United Kingdom – 551,495 International Students

The United Kingdom is known for having some of the best universities in the world and boasts a strong employability rate. Though tuition fees are high, the courses are only three years (as opposed to four like the USA). The UK has a fantastically rich history and is one of the most diverse countries in the whole of the world. Plus, it is the home of the English language, giving you the perfect opportunity to hone your language skills.

3. Canada – 503,270 International Students

In Canada, you can polish up your English skills as well as your French, as these are the two leading languages. Canada is often voted as one of the top countries for the quality of life and happiness of its citizens and it also has a low crime rate. It proudly boasts some of the very best Universities in the world.

4. Australia – 463,643 International Students

Australia is always one of the top destinations for International Students. It has low living and tuition costs, and Australian universities often offer scholarships that help to lower prices even further. They also allow students to work up to 40 hours a week with their student visas. Australia has beautiful landscapes, great weather, lovely beaches and big party culture. It is always very popular with students.

5. France – 358,000 International Students

France is one of those countries where you can go skiing in the morning, and then have a vineyard tour at sunset. It is so vast and has so many fantastic regions, each with its own identity and culture. The education costs are very reasonable compared to other top destinations, and it is the home of some of the world’s largest corporate brands.

6. Russia – 353,331 International Students

Russia values education very highly, and around 54% of its population have or are studying degrees. The country is so large that there is so much to explore. One half of Russia is very European, whilst the other has strong Asian influences. Russia is a very modern country, however, its values are traditional and so this mix is otherworldly. It is becoming more and more popular over the years and is definitely one to consider.

7. Germany – 302,157 International Students

Germany has a wide selection of highly ranked Universities and promises strong employability. German universities offer a lot of degrees at a low, or sometimes no, cost! It has a long and rich cultural heritage, a fantastic art scene and unmatched nightlife.

8. Japan – 228,403 International Students

Japan has always been a popular destination with students. It is often seen as the epicentre of technological innovation, and so is popular with students interested in science and technology. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the health service is very inexpensive, and so it is pretty safe there. The food is amazing, the culture is so interesting, and the landscape is endless.

9. Spain – 125,675 International Students

Spain is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students to choose to study in for many reasons. One is that the education system is very well-organised and straightforward. Another is that the cost of living in Spain is cheaper than most of its European counterparts. A key reason is also the beautiful year-round weather, which goes perfectly with the gorgeous Spanish beaches. Spain has a lot of rich history to explore, and a huge party culture so there is something there for everyone!

10. Netherlands – 94,236 International Students

Studying in the Netherlands is fast becoming a popular choice with students from all over the world. It boasts a very high standard of education and a lot of degrees are taught 100% in English, making it very popular with students from the UK and USA. The Netherlands is a very safe place to live and learn, with a big international student community and good employability rates.