Our latest Canada study abroad guide for Pakistani students breaks down the steps you need to take for your study abroad journey.
Under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) programme, Pakistani students could get approved for a Canadian study permit in just 20 days. Source: Daniel Slim / AFP

If you’re searching for a Canada study abroad guide for Pakistani students, then look no further. 

Canada is one of the most sought-after education destinations in the world. Getting a Canadian degree is a tremendous milestone that opens up new opportunities, especially with the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) that allows you to work in Canada after completing your studies. 

The journey to get there, however, can be daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and thorough study abroad guide for Pakistani students who are going to Canada.

Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide to begin your Canada study plans:

Why choose Canada

According to a 2021 report, Canada is the most-Googled study abroad destination in 36 countries. This is hardly surprising, considering that it has some of the world’s best-ranked universities in student-friendly cities. 

Canada’s border-friendly policies throughout the pandemic contributed further to its popularity as an international study destination. With the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, choosing the right country can make a significant difference in your university experience.

Canada study abroad guide for Pakistani students: How do I apply to universities?

Once you’ve decided on Canada, it’s time to put in your applications. Due to the ongoing pandemic, you must select a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in order to enter Canada as an international student.

Universities Canada is an excellent resource to look out for the latest updates, but your best bet for accurate information is the university website itself. In some Canadian provinces, you can submit your credentials through a central application system such as the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) or ApplyAlberta

Our latest study abroad guide for Pakistani students will help you map out your study plans before departure.

Canada travel advisory and restrictions can change quickly with the new Omicron variant, so it’s important to check for the latest updates before flying. Source: Daniel Slim / AFP

What documents do I need for a Canadian university application?

You will need official transcripts from your high school or postsecondary institutions, and they may need translations if not in English. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials has more information on getting your credentials assessed. 

A crucial document to have if you’re a non-native English speaker is an English-language certificate recognised by your institution of choice. Some of the most popular certificates include:

How can I apply for a Canada study permit?

Pakistani students going to Canada can now apply for a study permit via the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which aims to process applications in 20 days. The fee starts from 150 Canadian dollars, and some applications can take a longer time to process. It’s best that you begin as soon as you receive your offer. 

Remember, your Canada study permit is not your travel visa, so you might need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). You can check the CIC website for more information about obtaining your Canadian study permit and visa. 

How can I secure housing in Canada?

Your university should outline the process of securing on-campus accommodations, which will be included in your overall tuition fees. 

Living in campus residence is a safe and convenient option for a newcomer, as you get to make new friends in shared living spaces. If you want your own space, private accommodations are usually available near campus. 

Your university will list information about student housing for international students on its website. Alternatively, you can search for off-campus housing on RentSeeker or Rentals.ca.

Travelling and arriving in Canada

Flights to Canada from Pakistan typically depart from major cities like Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi. Airline carriers like Pakistan International Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, and Turkish Airlines have frequent flights to various Canadian cities.

Unless you qualify as a fully-vaccinated traveller, you will need to have a quarantine plan in place once you arrive. Travel restrictions may shift swiftly, so you need to check the CIC website regularly for the latest updates. You can click here for information on vaccinations and testing to enter Canada. 

Some Canadian universities may offer airport transfer services to campus accommodations, which can be arranged prior to your departure. Taxi services are also a good option, but just remember that it’s customary to tip about 10 to 15% to your driver. 

How can I sign up for a bank account?

Many Canadian banks offer good deals for international students, so it is up to you to choose one that best suits your financial plans. Popular banks include the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), TD Bank Canada, Scotiabank Canada, CIBC and the Bank of Montreal (BMO). A good tip to follow: select the bank with the most ATMs on your campus for your own cash withdrawal convenience. 

If you plan to send money back home, you can use remittance services such as Western Union, MoneyGram or Wise, all of which can be done online. 

Adjusting to life in Canada as a Pakistani student

It’s completely normal to experience homesickness or culture shock in Canada within the first few months of arrival.  Connecting with Pakistani student groups or associations, whether on or off-campus, can be helpful to quell your concerns. Senior students have been in your shoes before, and could offer sage advice on navigating life in Canada and overcoming cultural barriers. 

Just remember that you’re in one of the best student destinations in the world, and a Canadian degree can get you anywhere in your future career.