Myth 1: it’s harder to get accepted as an international applicant
Fact: it’s not if you plan and prepare correctly! It’s essential as international students to start looking at different universities and their requirements based on the country/education system of your high school as soon as you know what you want to study in your post-secondary school. This way, you’ll know what high school classes you are required to take early on, and what grades are required for each of those classes. Aside from that, make sure also to have your transcripts ready to be mailed/emailed to the universities as early as possible, because meeting the application and transcript deadlines is crucial.
Myth 2: it’s going to cost a fortune
Fact: maybeee. I’ll be the first to admit that the international tuition fee is quite expensive. But if it’s any consolation, international tuition fee in Canada is still much cheaper in comparison to the US, UK and Australia, among other countries. Additionally, you’ll find that universities offer many scholarships and awards. Ryerson alone offers 12 President’s Entrance Scholarships, valued at up to $40,000 each and seven International Secondary School Merit Scholarships, valued at $5,000 each – and that’s only the entrance scholarships! Aside from that, Ryerson also offers many on-campus jobs for international students through the Career Boost International (CBI) Work Experience Program as another way of offering financial assistance to us.
Myth 3: making new ‘best’ friends will be difficult and take forever
Fact: the same time you begin your first year, so will over thousands of other students fresh out of somewhere else. There will be students coming from other cities, other countries and even other continents. Everyone is going to be new to the university and figuring things out in very similar ways to you. So, you are sure to find people that you will connect with immediately in your first year!
Myth 4: finding a job as an international student is going to be impossible
Fact: in my experience, that’s not true. Although I was afraid in the beginning that no one will want to hire me because I’m an international student, it turned out not to be the case. In my first year, I was able to find a very simple, minimum wage job on campus from a poster I saw on campus! The next year, I applied for other on-campus jobs that I learned about through our university’s Facebook groups and very easily got the role I wanted most! For the summer after, I applied to work in a restaurant and a few retail stores for the first time ever and got my first job as a host – talk about tips!
Then finally, through the Ted Rogers Co-op Program, I was able to land two fantastic four-month co-op placements. These employers don’t care if you’re a domestic or international student as long as you’re able to provide them with all the necessary paperwork, a.k.a study permits, co-op permits, and background checks in some cases – which aren’t very complicated to acquire at all.
So in short, I know it seems scary hearing about certain things about life as an international student. However, as long as you make sure to do your research, and learn about the different university and city environments of your preferred university, you will be ready, and you will be fine. I, for one, did a lot of homework on Canada and decided it was the best place for me given my strengths, weaknesses, goals and fears.