Best Cities in Canada for International Students

Unless you have been living under a rock
, you would know that Canada is one of the most preferred and immigrant welcoming destinations for international students. There are reasons galore for why international students aspire to study in Canada.

  • The nation is not only home to numerous top-class universities, but it also offers some fantastic advantages apart from being an academic hotspot
  • Students from all around the world are known to opt for MS in Canada; however, the MBA programs in Canada are equally popular
  • Canada has flexible norms when it comes to staying back after completing the degree; for international students, it is easier to obtain permanent residency after completing their education

As per the QS World University Rankings 2022, the top Canadian universities (along with their base city) are:

Ranking in Canada Global Ranking University City
1 26 University of Toronto Toronto
2 27 McGill University Montreal
3 46 University of British Columbia Vancouver
4 111 University of Montreal Montreal
5 126 University of Alberta Edmonton
6 140 McMaster University Hamilton
7 149 University of Waterloo Waterloo


Now, zeroing in on a city to study and live in can be quite a tedious task as many factors need to be considered. For study abroad aspirants like you, it is imperative to have complete awareness/insight about factors such as security, lifestyle, education/employment opportunities and cost of living.

But, before that, wouldn’t you like to know more about the top cities in Canada? Let’s start!

As per the QS Best Cities Ranking 2022, the following are the top cities in Canada for international students with global ranking, based on students’ perspective

City Ranking in Canada Global Ranking
Montreal 1 6
Toronto 2 11
Vancouver 3 16
Ottawa 4 45
Quebec City 5 115

Here is a complete low-down on these cities and why they are popular, especially among international students.




Every year, around 350,000 students travel to Montreal in search of a high-quality education. Many prestigious universities in Canada are located in this city, including McGill University, which is ranked number 24 in the world. Festivals, comedy acts, and a diverse cultural extravaganza are all popular in the city.

  • A multilingual and multicultural city, Montreal is popularly known as the ‘cultural capital’ of Canada
  • It is a top student city in Canada,  ranked after Berlin and before Paris
  • Conveyance is extremely smooth in Montreal with an inexpensive and accessible public transit system
  • Did you know? Montreal is the most bicycle-friendly place in Canada with bike paths of 700 km
  • Getting a part-time job in Montreal is no big deal! It is one of the most well-employed cities
  • Montreal boasts of a motley of ethnicities like Asians, Latinos, Indians, Caribbean, Africans and Pakistanis contributing to its unique culture; it has 120 annual parades and festivals every year

McGill University, Concordia University and the University of Montreal deserve special mention.

Factors that make Montreal the most Student-Friendly City:

1. Ease of Transportation

  • The city boasts excellent public transportation that is both accessible and economical.
  • There are more than 50 metro stations and 200 bus lines.
  • A single ride costs CAD 3.25.
  • A CAD 5 night out a permit is required.
  • Tickets and Opus cards are accepted on buses.
  • Students can use Bixi bikes to explore the city.

2. Montreal is the 17th safest city in the world

3. There are numerous job openings for students. Language, on the other hand, can be a hurdle for those who do not speak French.

4. Montreal, according to students, is a welcoming and cheap city. They like this city because of its culture, gastronomy, ethnicity, and entertainment.

5. Monthly cost of living is affordable.

  • Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom)- CAD 709-1050
  • 3-Course Meal- CAD 60
  • Transportation- CAD 85



Vancouver is one of the most costly cities to study in Canada. However, it is ranked 17th among the world’s most student-friendly cities. The city is noted for its enthralling natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere.

  • Vancouver has the highest cost of living in Canada for Indian students but the QS rating states it is the 16th best city for students
  • It also is a multi-cultural city with a large population of Irish and Scottish immigrants; people are friendly, and the place has some ethereally beautiful natural places
  • It offers attractive employment opportunities to students and the emoluments are usually quite lucrative

University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, etc. are some of the best places to study in Vancouver.

Vancouver is one of Canada’s most costly cities. However, it is ranked 17th among the world’s most student-friendly cities. The city is noted for its enthralling natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere.

Factors that make Vancouver one of the Most Student-Friendly Cities:

1. The majority of students are European Canadians, with Chinese students following closely behind. The most populous ethnic groups are English, Irish, and Scots.

2. Ease of Transportation:

  • Rapid Transit (through trains) – Rapid trains
  • Buses – A coast mountain bus operates Translink bus services
  • SeaBus – City’s passenger’s ferry
  • West Coast Express – City’s commuter rail service

3. The city has a good level of personal safety. Shootings, muggings, and murders are uncommon.

4. The city offers a wide range of job options for students. The positions are intriguing. Salary packages are competitive. In addition, the work environment is encouraging.

5. Vancouver, according to students, is a culturally rich city that provides world-class education. The standard of living is good, and career prospects are many.

6. Monthly Cost of Living:

  • Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom)- CAD 1900-3000
  • 3-Course Meal- CAD 80
  • Transportation- CAD 109




Being one of the most popular choices to study in Canada, students from other nations make about 17% of the student body at Toronto’s universities. Toronto is Canada’s cultural capital, with historical sites, gastronomic festivals, and art to its credit. For Indian students, it is the greatest place to live in Canada.

  • 17% of the student population in Toronto comprises international students
  • Being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, around 140 languages are spoken here (can you believe that?)
  • It is a safe city and offers fairly good employment opportunities (Though there is a decrease in the employment rate, graduate students are still in demand)
  • This city is famous for its historical monuments as well as food festivals
  • Being the most populous city in Canada, it has a high living cost because of the housing conditions. However, a handsome compensation makes up for it

The top-ranked University of Toronto attracts a lot of international students.

Factors that make Toronto one of the Best Cities for International Students in Canada:

1. It is the world’s most multicultural city. This metropolis is home to 140 different languages. India, China, the United Kingdom, and Ireland form a sizable cultural component in the city.

2. Ease of Transportation: Within the city, the Transport Commission operates subways, streetcars, and buses. The cost of transportation is CAD

3. The metro pass was CAD 133.75, whereas the daily pass was CAD 11.

4. On the safety index, Toronto is ranked 81 percent safe. While scams and pickpocketing are uncommon in the city, online scams should be avoided.

5. Students have access to a variety of job options in the city.

6. Toronto, Canada’s largest city with a population of 3 million, attracts a higher number of students than other Canadian cities. Students find Toronto to be culturally diverse. They have access to schooling as well as a variety of job possibilities to help them support themselves.

7. Monthly cost of living:

  • Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom)- CAD 2020
  • 3-Course Meal- CAD 75
  • Transportation- CAD 103




According to QS polls, Ottawa is one of the world’s finest student-friendly cities to study in Canada for international students, with a vibrant and diversified student population. Winter activities like skiing and skating are popular in the city. If you’re seeking work in Canada, Ottawa is the finest place to look.

  • Ottawa is one of the most student-friendly cities and has proven to be a lucrative cost of living in Canada for international students.
  • This small city in the Ontario province has foreigners as more than half of its population
  • It is a potpourri of cultures and ethnicities from around the world
  • Students here are likely to get a first-hand experience of diverse cultures and end up learning new languages as well
  • The city has a low crime rate and a high-income rate
  • It offers a vibrant lifestyle with a variety of festivals celebrated every year
  • Employment opportunities for immigrants are immense
  • This place is also rich in natural beauty; you will be amazed to find so many freshwater lakes and forests
  • Ottawa scores tall on ease of transportation; it has a high-frequency rapid bus transit and the rail transit system acts as a shuttle

The city houses some of the most respected academic institutions including Ottawa University and Carleton University.

Factors that make Ottawa one of the Best Cities for International Students in Canada:

1. Ottawa is a cosmopolitan center of Canada because of its ethnic richness. Immigrants from Asia and the Middle East make up about 53% of the population. Africa accounts for 17% of the immigrants, while Europe accounts for 15%. Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Arabic are among the languages spoken here.

2. Ottawa’s people have access to award-winning transportation options. There are fixed-route buses, fast bus transit with high frequency service, and a shuttle-style light rail transport system. There are particular accommodations for disabled individuals, such as Para Transpo services.

3. It is one of Canada’s safest cities. Ottawa has a fairly low crime rate.

4. Ottawa boasts of Canada’s largest innovation park and federal employment hub, with 566,000 jobs available to its students. According to Statcan, Ottawa’s employment rate has remained stable at 64.6 percent for the year 2018.

5. Because Canada’s Silicon Valley requires such specialists, the IT Park attracts more international students, particularly in the field of computer science. Ottawa is enlightening and welcoming to them.

6. Monthly cost of living:

  • Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom)- CAD 1120
  • 3-Course Meal- CAD 70
  • Transportation- CAD 103


Quebec City


Quebec City, the capital of the French-speaking province, is noted for its architecture and European feel. It is a vibrant city that hosts numerous festivals. The Winter Carnival is the largest festival, and it features a variety of winter activities. Quebec City has few of the cheapest Colleges to study in for international students, it is also the cheapest city in Canada.

  • A French-speaking city, which gets most visitors from around the world. Not many people speak English here but when it comes to universities, the medium of instruction is mostly English
  • It is the second-largest metropolitan area after Montreal and is an extremely safe place
  • People are friendly, quite liberal and cases of public violence are rare
  • It has the lowest unemployment rate among all the cities in Canada
  • From buses and taxis to ferries and two-wheelers, the city offers several transport modes
  • When it comes to the cost of living, Quebec is quite affordable and offers good education at the lowest price possible
  • The universities are well equipped and have state-of-the-art laboratories, sports grounds and multi-purpose halls

Bishop’s University is a well-known English-speaking university in Quebec City.

With so many benefits on the platter, most of the cities in Canada attract a good percentage of foreign students. However, it is imperative to do a deep dive to figure out which city will suit you the best.

This is exactly what the personalised Manya – The Princeton Review’s admission consulting services offer to study abroad aspirants like you. Get, set and contact us to avail optimal guidance!

Factors that make Quebec City one of the Best Cities for International Students in Canada:

1 After Montreal, Quebec City is the second largest metropolitan area. In Quebec City, 88 percent of pupils speak French.

2. Public transport is a highly recommended mode of transport. Daily, 350,000 people travel through the city. Quebec City is also bike-friendly and has a bike path of more than 170 km. Different modes of transport in Quebec City – cars, buses (CAD 3), taxis (CAD 1.70 per 0.6 miles), bicycles, ferries, and two-wheelers.

3. Quebec City is a very safe place to visit. The inhabitants are very liberal, and there are rarely any large-scale protests or acts of public violence in the city.

4. The city has the lowest unemployment rate among all Canadian cities. There is no scarcity of career options, and students have many of them.

5. Quebec City, according to students, provides an exceptional education that is both affordable and accessible. Laboratories, sports fields, and performance halls are all available at the universities.

6. Monthly cost of living:

  • Apartment Rent (1 Bedroom)- CAD 525-700
  • 3-Course Meal- CAD 60
  • Transportation- CAD 87


Requirements to Study in Canada


1. Study Permit

A Canadian study permit is one of the most important conditions that every student must meet. If you want to study in Canada’s top city, you must ensure that you get it. Begin the process a year ahead of time. Passport information, English or French language competency exam proofs with minimal bands or grades, financial evidence, and cost of living are all required details for schools and universities. Each province has its own visa requirements, which vary.


2. Choose Institution/Course

Check online to see if your school has been designated as a DLI (Designated Learning Institute). DLI only accepts international students. You should choose a course with a relevant degree program when applying for a student visa. Because of the flexible educational setup, switching to different courses is not a problem. Before deciding on a major program, compare the many course possibilities.


3. Take English Proficiency Test

International students must demonstrate competency in either English or French. If you wish to enrol in any institution, you must pass the IELTS Academic Test with a satisfactory score.


4. Apply to Different Universities

After applying in advance, make a shortlist of different universities. Applying to many universities with application fees ranging from $100 to $250 can be beneficial. Comparing different options after identifying universities and courses can work to your benefit. Choose backups as well. Make sure you provide correct information backed up with documentation. You can offer an acceptance letter once the university confirms your interest.


5. Apply Online or Visit the Center

After applying for study permits, it is the institution that is ready to admit applicants. Apply in person or online at the application center. Incorporate the proper documentation into your application. A passport copy, financial proofs, and other documents are examples.


How to Select the Best Cities for Education?


When it comes to choosing a university to attend, you should opt for the best. Because it will have a significant impact on your future. It is at university that you will form new friendships, memories, and career paths, among other things. As a result, you must select your university carefully.

It’s also crucial to consider the city in which you’ll live and study. Before you go abroad to study, make sure the place you’ll be living in is the right fit for you. We’ve compiled a list of considerations for you to consider before determining where you’ll live while studying.

1. Security: If you plan to live abroad in a new location, safety comes first. Because you are unfamiliar with the area, you must ensure that you are safe while visiting a foreign city. As a result, you should learn everything you can about the city you want to reside in. You must understand how to stay safe in an unfamiliar environment.

2. Student Employment: If you wish to study abroad, you need to acquire a job to help pay for your expenditures. The majority of international students are seeking a city with a large number of work prospects. It’s one of the things they think about while deciding where they want to live. For students, a growing city with more chances and strong universities is a fantastic alternative.

3. Lifestyle: When looking for a city to study in, seek one that provides you with an enjoyable lifestyle. This could be accomplished through skiing, skating, or visiting good bars and restaurants.

4. People of the City: To a foreign student, the neighborhood is really important. Because the student will be interacting with the most people. The city’s residents should be warm and hospitable. So that they can assist in the event of an emergency.

5. Living Cost: Some cities are prohibitively expensive to reside in. When a student is studying in a foreign nation, he will be responsible for a large number of expenses. If the student’s living costs are too expensive, he will find it difficult to continue his studies.


Top Universities in Canada and their Base Cities

University Global Ranking City
University of Montreal 118 Montreal
University of Alberta 119 Edmonton
McGill University 31 Montreal
University of Toronto 25 Toronto
University of British Columbia 45 Vancouver
McMaster University 144 Edmonton
University of Waterloo 166 Waterloo


Find Your Dream University

If you are planning to study abroad and searching to match your profile with the best suited university, Experts at Manya – The Princeton Review have gathered important information of top Universities from abroad. Surely, this information will help you narrow down your quest for universities.

You can access accurate & authentic information related to rankings, application fees, average tuition fees, cost of living, scholarships, latest updates, and much more from more than 1000+ universities. You may also search for universities by name, country, or courses in common specializations, such as Physics, Finance, Business, Language and Culture, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Computer and IT, Media and Communication Marketing.

Manya – The Pinceton Review offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants.

For more information, call our Study Abroad Helpline 1800 102 4646.

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What is the procedure to study in Canada?

The first step is to apply for admission to a government-approved Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). After receiving a letter of acceptance from a DLI, an individual may be eligible to apply for a study permit. You can apply either online or via mail.
At a Canadian port of entry, all new study permits are issued. An applicant who has filed an application to a Canadian Visa Office in a foreign country will receive a letter of approval directing him or her to a Canadian port of entry to obtain a study visa. In most cases, a study permit is provided for the term of the student’s studies.

Do I need to show proof of funds when applying for a study permit?

Applicants for a study permit in Canada must demonstrate that they have sufficient means to cover tuition and living expenses for the first year of study.

Are scholarships available to international students in Canada?

International students may be eligible for scholarships from private, government, or public institutions in Canada. Students may be eligible for scholarships from their chosen study institution.

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