Canada Home to Three of the Best Cities in the World for Students
Montreal, home to more than 30 universities and colleges, has been identified by QS Rankings as the best city in the world for students in 2017. Two of Canada’s other popular destinations for international students, Vancouver and Toronto, also place highly at number 10 and 11 respectively, with Toronto sharing 11th place with Hong Kong.
The ranking is based on a range of factors including surveys of students, quality of universities and facilities, employment opportunities, cost of living, and the level of a country’s openness and tolerance. Australia is the only other country worldwide to have three cities featuring in the top 20, though Canada’s cities rank higher than Australia’s. Canada’s uniquely strong showing in the table is a testament to its worldwide recognition as a top destination for international students. More than 350,000 international students are studying in Canada at any one time, attracted by the country’s renowned institutions, comparatively low tuition fees and cost of living, and its open, welcoming attitude.
Canada has significantly improved its performance on this ranking scale over the past few years. In 2016, Montreal held 7th place while Toronto and Vancouver were tied at 13. All three cities have featured in the top 20 since 2015.
Suzanne Fortier, Principal, and Vice-Chancellor at McGill University commented on Montreal’s achievement. “This ranking is a reflection of how highly our students, and the global workplace, value Montreal’s universities.
“It is also a validation of the city’s welcoming spirit and exciting creativity. Montreal is a place of coming together: different languages and cultures, the arts and commerce, deep history and a visionary future. Our hometown is a special city, and students want to live and study here.”
Montreal named best student city
The top spot globally was formerly held by Paris for four years, and it is hard to miss the fact that another French-speaking city is now on top. International students are frequently drawn to cities that foster linguistic diversity while offering the opportunity for immersion in another language. Montreal’s bilingual spirit is a major lure for international students, and this is not limited to those who wish to pursue language studies in the city. Many international students note that the intermingling of Anglophone and Francophone language and culture gives the city its flair. Montreal is often described as a playground, with year-round festivals and cultural events, in addition to lively music, theater, and food scenes.
However, in addition to its plentiful opportunities for relaxation and cultural enjoyment, Montreal also takes its education seriously. With 11 universities and many more colleges, Montreal’s student population is considerable. The city hosts two of Canada’s top English-language universities, McGill University and Concordia University, as well as excellent French-language universities such as the University de Montréal, the University du Québec à Montréal, and a number of specialised institutions including École Polytechnique (the engineering school/faculty affiliated with the University de Montréal) and HEC Montréal (the business school affiliated with the University de Montréal).
Vancouver advances up the table
Hugging the western coastline of Canada is Vancouver, home to top institutions including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Columbia College, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and more. It is particularly popular with international students for its language schools and academic preparation programs. British Columbia has a well-developed and flexible transfer system, so that students may begin their studies at a smaller college, before transitioning to a more advanced study program at a larger university. Many international students find that this system helps them settle in Canada and save money, assisting in the process of acclimatizing to a new country and culture.
Vancouver has a mild coastal climate that encourages an active lifestyle year-round, with stunning scenery and a thriving restaurant scene. It is also one of Canada’s most diverse cities and is well-connected by air to cities around the world.
Toronto continues as a powerhouse
Canada’s largest city is undeniably one of the country’s most desirable education destinations. Toronto’s universities are renowned worldwide, and employment opportunities after graduation are plentiful. The University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University, and some of the province’s top community colleges lure students from around the world. Toronto is known as the most diverse city in Canada — more than half of its residents were born outside of Canada — and this characteristic helps the sprawling metropolis feel like home to the thousands of international students pursuing their studies here.
In the late 1960s, the province of Ontario set out to radically overhaul the post-secondary education scene by establishing a number of vocational trades and technical colleges. These colleges offer a range and quality of education that is, in many cases, as well-regarded as a university degree. Of this network, Toronto is home to Seneca, George Brown, Humber, and Centennial, to name a few. International students seeking a hands-on training with opportunities for career placement and advancement, often through shorter study programs of one or two years, may wish to consider an Ontario college.
Moreover, Ontario recently reopened two of its popular immigration streams for international graduates. The International Masters Graduate Stream and the International Ph.D. Graduate Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (#OINP) offer a route to Canadian permanent resident status for eligible candidates who have studied in Ontario.