Canada is one of the best countries in the world for students to study, it is a wonderful place for international students to consider when choosing universities for their studies. Aside from the great quality of education, the country is also known for its openness to foreigners. There are over 96 universities and colleges, with undergraduate and graduate programs for every practical skill set imaginable, ranging from science to technology, media, fashion, and agriculture.
The nation’s fresh selection of schools, accessible student visas, and competitive immigration policies are also an attractive draw for international students who make up an estimated 500,000 of the 1.8 million students enrolled in post-secondary programs this year. Choosing where to live or study can be a very tasking decision for both domestic and international students.
To be successful in your educational endeavors, choosing the right program is necessary, but you must also opt for the best and cheapest city to live in.
10 Cheapest Cities in Canada for International Students
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With six universities and 12 junior colleges within an eight-kilometer radius on the island of Montreal, this city is known for having the highest density of post-secondary students in North America. Aside from the wide range of institutions available, this is one of the most notable cities for international students due to the diverse neighborhoods filled with art, culture, and dining options.
Montreal also boasts of the most affordable student rent in any city in Canadian, with the average bachelor unit at $641, and the lowest transport costs at $85. According to reports, dining out and gym costs were also among the lowest on the list at $120, and $51. Some of the most popular neighborhoods in the city for students include the Plateau, The Village, Côte-des-Neiges, and Downtown.
International students coming to Canada tend to fall within two categories — those who prefer the bright lights of big cities and those who want a smaller school with a tight-knit community. Kingston, the home of Queen’s University, Royal Military College of Canada, and St. Lawrence University, is situated in Eastern Ontario, about 200km from Ottawa, and features the definitive air of a student town.
This city has an active pedestrian city center and is very convenient for modern life; the campuses are small enough that you can easily stroll anywhere you want to, and student life is quite enjoyable. Note that the social life and the student community create an instant at-home feeling.
Canada’s northernmost major metropolis, this city has numerous excellent educational institutions, coupled with a very affordable cost of living when compared to the rest of the nation. Aside from being a very popular destination for students, renters in the city are known to enjoy a much more relaxed market than in other cities with a vacancy rate of 5.3%, which keeps the average bachelor’s rent under $1,000 at $862. You can get around the city for less than $100, with monthly passes priced at $97.
Although the cost of dining out can be on the high side at $134 monthly, have it in mind that students can work out for quite cheap, at around $44 for a monthly membership. This city is home to the University of Alberta, in addition to MacEwan University, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
This is another top city in Quebec to consider as an intentional student moving to Canada. It has a low unemployment rate and numerous job opportunities with high income, good access to public transportation, and affordable rent in modern apartment buildings. This city is noted as one of the best places for international students to enjoy quality living. In terms of attractions and fun activities, the city has it all; shopping malls, historic sites and bridges, cultural events to sky hills, ferries, and also lively restaurants with diverse cuisine.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie Ontario is renowned to have some of the most expensive cities in Canada, but it is also home to some of the most affordable cities. This is more or less the third-largest city in Ontario and it has a significant number of jobs in all industries, where you can find rent for about $1000 per month. A good number of international students live in this city basically for the favorable work-life balance it offers.
Situated in the nation’s capital, Ottawa schools are well known for their political science, business, and journalism programs, with popular institutions including the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Saint Paul University, and La CitéCollégiale.
Also note that close student neighborhoods include Old Ottawa South, where magnificent homes have been separated into apartments, as well as Centretown/Little Italy/Chinatown, where units are affordable, with close access to transit and good walkability. Transportation will most often cost students $118 per month while dining out will cost around $175, and gym memberships at $51.
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Abbotsford is considered the cheapest city in British Columbia. This is one of the best options for international students desiring to live in Canada. Note that job opportunities are easy to find in various sectors in the city; such as trade, construction, aerospace, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation.
Rent prices usually vary, depending on if you are living in the city or not, and can cost you around $600 to $1200 per month. This city is close to the international border and can take about an hour’s drive to a city like Vancouver or Richmond.
It is really impossible not to love Abbotsford when you get to sunbathe by the ocean during hot summers and go skiing or hiking during the cold season. Aside from that, you also get to do your grocery shopping at the local farmers’ market and enjoy very fresh produce, even when you go out to eat.
St. Catharine is considered the best city, and also the most affordable place to live in Canada. It has a vast range of job opportunities to select from. Also note that this city has its own attractions and year-round events that will leave you entertained for a while, such as art exhibits, festivals, theatre performances, historical museums, great shopping opportunities, a fast-expanding number of local craft breweries, and some of the most alluring natural sights you’ve ever seen.
Timmins is one of the most affordable cities in Canada, it is a dream city for international students who love the feel of nature. While a good number of jobs are in mining or foresting, there are also more job opportunities in retail, communications, engineering, and IT each year. This is where modernization meets nature, and Ontario is a hidden natural gem. You can rent an apartment for about $700 per month in this city, and have the great outdoors right on your back porch.
People who stay or live in Rimouski are considered some of the happiest people in Quebec. This is because of its natural setting and location on the shores of the biggest estuary in the world, and it also offers a great natural environment that can be explored via hiking trails, sea kayaking, bird watching, and marine science.
This city encourages academic success and work-study balance and is renowned for having some of the best jobs for women in science and engineering. Have in mind that with its steady income and affordable rent of about $800 per month, Rimouski remains one of the most affordable cities in Canada for international students.