Canada – The True North strong and free

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Canada, as one of the most Permanent Residence supporting countries, has gained in importance among destinations for international education. Job opportunities, multiculturalism and the high quality of practical education, although a bit on the higher side of the expense chart, have attracted international students to kick start their professional journey in this country.
In Canada, there are two choices: universities and public colleges. Universities offer Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and PhD programmes whereas colleges focus more on job oriented practical knowledge and training via College Diploma and Accelerated programmes. Canada has 10 provinces. Each province has a variety of colleges and universities. Choosing a college or university can be confusing. Well, there are government sites which help you filter the college and university according to your choice of study and specialisation.
Choosing a course is the most critical decision one should make. While the educational consultant at your agency provides you with a list of courses that are popular, one should thoroughly explore one’s options and find a course that suits one’s interest and also the demand in Canada. The official websites such as www.ontariocolleges.ca can help you find courses that are in high demand and their scope. More importantly, when choosing a course in Canada after a Bachelor’s degree, one should make sure it is related to the previous education as course mismatch is one of the main reasons for Visa rejection.
For civil engineers, further study options include environmental engineering, structural engineering, urban and regional planning, cities engineering and management, geotechnical engineering, and so on. Most universities offer Masters of Science and Master of Engineering programmes after Bachelor’s degree whereas the colleges offer graduate diplomas, post-secondary diplomas and accelerated diplomas. Being a holder of engineering degree, one can skip the first year of the course and directly enrol for the second year in most colleges as part of the accelerated or fast track program. Checking the pre-requisites for the programme in university sites can further provide assistance in this subject.
The duration of the course is another important factor to be considered. The stay back period for you in Canada is decided by the duration of the course. As the policies are regularly updated, checking the official website regularly can help in planning. Also, one has to make sure that the visa is extended after study permit when one changes to a work permit. Failing to update the permits may result in deportation.
Unlike in India, where one-hour classes from morning to evening that run continuously for a week, in Canada a student has the option to choose classes he or she wishes to attend and schedule a suitable timetable. Also, the syllabus focuses more on detailed study of a particular subject than just covering all the topics that come under a single subject. My own personal experience was that I got to study the same subjects that I had studied during my civil engineering course, but in much greater detail.
Although one has to do more assignments and tests here, it actually helps us to score well as the examination questions are pretty much direct or of multiple choice variety for most of the subjects. Another thing is the source of study materials, unlike the huge bundles of photostats and notebooks, here all the portions are covered under PowerPoint presentation that are available to us through the college websites. Also, the occasional quizzes that are part of the syllabus also help us to familiarize with the research patterns and resources.
Lastly, the attractive minimum wage and part time opportunities contribute in bringing more students to this country. A student can work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during the study period and 40 hours per week during breaks. One should understand the work permit law clearly. Over working or taking up illegal employment beyond the recommended hours has resulted in many students getting deported. Proper conduct and observance of the local laws will help in providing a smooth transition from student life to professional career in Canada.
To sum up, the country and its beautifully mannered people are more welcoming than one expects, but be sure to layer yourself up as the weather is harsh and completely unwelcoming.