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Everything You Need to Know About Studying in the UK and Canada

The United Kingdom (UK) and Canada offer international students excellent educational opportunities. While these countries are popular choices for foreign education, prospective students should carefully consider their individual goals and aspirations before applying to colleges in either nation.

Several factors are crucial in determining the overall learning experience when pursuing a foreign education. We have provided a comparative analysis of the UK and Canada, addressing various aspects that can help students make an informed decision when planning to study abroad

It’s worth noting that the UK is significantly smaller in land area than Canada, resulting in a higher population density within the UK. Although the two countries share many similarities, subtle differences exist in culture and traditions.

In recent years, Canada has become an attractive destination for many Indians, offering opportunities for permanent residency through employment and education. This influx of people from various backgrounds has led to significant demographic changes in Canada. Both the UK and Canada are known for their secular and inclusive societies that welcome and embrace diverse cultures.

In a recent survey, Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 friendliest countries, while the UK, although culturally diverse, falls within the top 50. Both nations share similar cultural roots, but notable differences emerge in areas like food, sports, wildlife, and traditions, with the UK lacking a recognized indigenous population.

The UK vs Canada – Quality of education
Both Canadian and UK education systems create an atmosphere that provides a good future to its students. There are several differences between the education systems.

CanadaThis system prioritizes holistic education over strict grade-based approaches, reducing stratification. Research indicates lower student stress levels, with strong involvement from parents and the community. While Canadian universities are not as old as British ones, they offer excellent infrastructure and faculty gaining global recognition. Emphasis on extracurricular activities fosters holistic student development.

Read also 12 things to know before heading to Canada

The United Kingdom
Emphasizes grades and features a stratified class system, placing significant pressure on students. It operates with a highly bureaucratic structure. The UK’s education system hosts globally renowned universities with excellent infrastructure. Extracurriculars are typically geared toward students excelling in specific activities or sports.

Studying in the UK:
Access to a multicultural contemporary society that operates globally within every industry is a key benefit, Students can capitalize on the networking aspect, as they are in one of the hubs of global capitalism, Students can be a part of some of the most prestigious universities that are recognized on a global level, offering top-class education with the availability of the best infrastructure as well as faculty.

Studying in Canada:
Canada offers more affordable living and education costs than UK universities, boasts excellent infrastructure and faculty, promotes a holistic educational approach, features breathtaking landscapes, and is becoming a hub for post-education job opportunities.

Grading Systems

In the UK, higher education uses a unique “Letter Grade Scale” (A to F) to assess academic performance, emphasizing specific abilities and making it easier for companies to gauge potential. In Canada, international students’ eligibility is determined by the grade point average (GPA) system, which helps assess their suitability for specific courses. Foreign students should know their GPA before applying to Canadian universities.

Canadian universities assess international students using the GPA system, determining academic skill and course suitability. Foreign students should know their GPA before applying.

The popular courses to study in the United Kingdom

Business Analytics
Data Science
Computer Science
Finance, International Business and Accounting
Architecture and Construction Management
Fashion and Interior designing

The popular courses to study in Canada

Business & Management Studies
Hospitality & Leisure Management
Accounting & Finance
Computer Science
Media & Journalism

Scholarships to Study in the UK
Choosing the UK for higher studies offers quality education and global recognition but can be costly. UK scholarships help alleviate the financial burden for international students.

UK scholarships can be categorized into :

Government-funded UK Scholarships
UK University Scholarships
Other Scholarships

Here is a list of some government-funded UK scholarships for Nigerians

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding mid-career professionals worldwide to study for one-year master’s degrees in the UK. The fully funded scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs.

Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded to students from developing countries to study for master’s or PhD degrees in the UK. The fully funded scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs.

GREAT Scholarships are awarded to talented students from around the world to study undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in the UK. The scholarships are partially funded and cover a portion of tuition fees.

Scholarships to Study in Canada
Opting for Canada as your destination for higher education provides quality education and global recognition. Canadian scholarships can assist international students in managing their financial expenses effectively.

UK scholarships can be categorized into three groups:

Government scholarships
Non-Government scholarships
Institutional scholarships

Here is a list of some government-funded Canada scholarships for Nigerians
International scholarship programs sponsored by the Government of Canada make it possible for international students to study in Canada at an affordable cost. These scholarships also cover travel costs and other expenses in Canada. Here are some Canadian government scholarships:

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (VCGS) is a government-funded scholarship program that provides financial assistance to Canadian and international students to pursue doctoral studies at participating Canadian universities. The scholarship covers tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (Banting) is a government-funded postdoctoral fellowship program that provides financial assistance to Canadian and international postdoctoral fellows to pursue research at participating Canadian universities. The scholarship covers living expenses, travel costs, and research support.

Here is a list of some Non-Government funded Canada scholarships for Nigerians

Canadian non-government organizations offer scholarships to Nigerian students, covering tuition, travel, health insurance, accommodation, and monthly allowances for specific subjects.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides scholarships to academically talented young people from low-income families in Africa to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies at leading universities around the world.

The Trudeau Foundation Scholarships are awarded to outstanding Canadian and international students to pursue doctoral studies at leading universities in Canada.

Top universities in the UK and Canada

Compared to Canadian universities, most UK universities are present in the World QS rankings 2023.

The top three universities in the UK, as per the QS World University Rankings 2023, are the University of Oxford, ranked 4th position; the University of Cambridge, ranked at2nd position; and Imperial College London, ranked at 6th position.

While the top three universities in Canada, according to the World QS Rank, are McGill University ranked 31st position , the University of Toronto at 34th position, and the University of British Columbia at 47th position.

The UK vs Canada – Eligibility Criteria
The UK
The UK universities now accept a CBSE plus-two certificate for graduation programs, except for ISC students who still need 13 years of pre-university education. GMAT is often required for postgraduate management programs, but some universities don’t demand it. GRE may be necessary for art or science courses at some universities. IELTS or TOEFL scores are not compulsory for courses but are needed for the visa; IELTS requires a minimum score of 6.5, and TOEFL requires a score of 100 or above. For a 3-year bachelor’s degree, a minimum of 75% aggregate is generally required.

Canadian universities require a minimum of 12 years of pre-university education for undergraduate programs. SAT scores are needed for UG courses, which typically last 4 years, while diploma courses are 2 to 3 years. English proficiency exams like IELTS or TOEFL are mandatory for applicants from non-English-speaking countries. Universities don’t have cutoffs but specify average scores for course admission. In addition to other criteria, they request a statement of purpose (SOP) and at least two letters of recommendation (LORs).

For master’s or PhD programs, applicants need at least two academic references, which may include work letters. If you haven’t studied in Canada, you must provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to verify the equivalence of your degree to Canadian standards.

Admission Requirements to Study- UK vs Canada

Eligibility criteria are crucial in deciding between Canada and the UK for students, as both countries have strict rules set by universities and governments.

Students need a 10+2 qualification from a recognized institution, with some courses requiring GMAT or GRE scores. Universities may conduct entrance exams or interviews. English language proficiency can be demonstrated through IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL scores (usually 6.5 overall and 6 in each band). Other requirements include proof of funds, medical insurance, a valid passport, a Statement of Purpose (SOP), a Letter of Recommendation (LOR), and a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) letter.

Students must provide their original previous qualifications, and for MBA and master’s courses, GRE or GMAT scores. Additionally, a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) are required. English proficiency can be demonstrated with C1 Advanced, IELTS, or TOEFL scores. For courses in French, students need proficiency scores in DALF, DELF, TCF, or TEF. Proof of adequate funds, an updated resume, employment letters, and two academic references are needed for master’s or Ph.D. programs.

The UK vs Canada – Working While Studying
Both countries permit international students to work during their studies for additional income, but specific regulations must be observed.

International students on a Tier 4 student visa can work up to 20 hours a week during their academic term and full-time during holidays. This often involves on-campus part-time jobs, such as in the cafeteria or affiliated with the university. Work for corporate sector employers may vary based on the chosen course.

Canadian universities typically require a Canadian Student Permit for on-campus employment during your academic program, not before or after. If your course mandates internships or co-op work, a separate permit is needed.

The UK vs Canada – Post-Study Work Opportunities

Before 2020, the UK had strict post-study work policies, allowing a maximum 4-month stay for job seeking. In 2020, this was extended to two years for graduates. To work after studies, students must apply for a Skilled Worker Visa with an annual income requirement of £20,500, valid for up to 5 years.

Canada has consistently allowed international students, including Nigerians, to apply for a 3-year post-graduation work permit, enabling them to seek employment and potentially qualify for permanent residency.

The UK vs Canada – Permanent Residence (PR) Opportunity
Permanent Residence (PR) in the UK, also known as Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR), grants individuals the right to reside and work in the UK indefinitely. Ways to apply for PR include residing in the UK for at least 5 years, being a family member of a UK citizen or permanent resident, holding a Tier 2 work visa for five years with employer sponsorship, or having special circumstances like being a refugee, serving in the armed forces, or having previous Indefinite Leave.

Obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada is relatively straightforward. The country, with its low population density and a demand for skilled workers, is welcoming to international students, especially those on post-graduation work permits. Individuals who have completed their post-graduation studies elsewhere can also apply for PR from abroad.

Popular Jobs in the UK vs Canada
Frequently asked about the most in-demand jobs in Canada and the UK, here’s a list to help individuals plan their careers there.

In the UK, some of the most in-demand job designations include Data Scientist, Project Manager, Software Engineer, Business Analyst, Accountant, Mechanical Engineer, Graphic Designer, Software Developer, Data Analyst, and Executive Assistant.

In Canada, some of the most in-demand job designations include Sales Associate, Registered Nurse, Receptionist, Business Development Manager, Project Manager, Web Developer, Heavy-duty Mechanic, and Electrical Engineer.

It is essential to conduct your own research in order to form informed opinions and make sound decisions.

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