It is your choice whether to open a bank account in Canada. If you do, most major banks offer great student accounts and services that can help you save on international transaction charges. A basic bank account costs approximately $5/month and most include personalized cheques that can be used to pay for large amounts like rent and bill payments. Internet banking is also quite common and has become a widely accepted method for bill payments and other transactions.
To find out more about student account options or to open an account, visit any Canadian bank or go to your current bank and inquire about partnerships they may have with those in Canada.
In Canada, each province or territory is in charge of its own healthcare system covering Canadian citizens for hospital and physician care. Virtually all Canadian post-secondary institutions have medical insurance plans available for international students. Contact the Canadian educational institution you plan to attend for information about health insurance coverage for you.
Regardless of whether or not you plan to purchase coverage from a Canadian institution, it is highly recommended that you purchase travel health insurance. For more information on travel health insurance, contact your travel agent.
Canada's climate is characterized by its diversity, both from region to region and from season to season. While extreme northern temperatures climb above only 0°C for a few months every year, most Canadians live within 300 kilometres of the country's southern border, where warm springs, hot summers and pleasantly crisp autumns prevail for at least 7 months. Canada has 4 very distinct seasons: spring (March-May); summer (June-August); fall (September-October); and winter (November-February).
The rate of basic telephone service, Internet and cable television in Canada is one of the highest in the world. Internet usage is wide-spread, with more than 85% of the population being connected and cellular (mobile) phone usage is extensive with over 60% of households owning a cell phone.
Dormitories are the preferred accommodation for most students in Canada. They are usually located on or near the university or college campus and typically have shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. Some dorm accommodations offer optional cafeteria meal plans where students pay a set up-front fee for the term and receive 2 or 3 meal tickets per day.
A listing of private accommodations (e.g. apartments, flats, room and board) close to campus is usually available through the housing office or student’s union of most universities and colleges across Canada. Since schools don’t regulate private housing, it is best to visit the location in person and make sure you ask any questions you might have before committing to a lease.
An International Driver's Permit is not necessary as Canada honours all valid foreign driver’s licences. If you have a learner’s permit or provisional license you should check with the Ministry of Transportation in the province or territory where you plan to study to determine if you are eligible to drive.
Car rental companies usually stipulate that drivers must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s licence from their country of residence. Drivers between the ages of 21 to 25 may have to pay a surcharge.
International students should follow the same common sense safety precautions in Canada as they would anywhere in the world.