In 2013, more than 75,000 International Students were studying in Canadian colleges and institutes (source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada). In the 2014 Student Center International Student Survey, 46% of international college students indicated that they were very concerned about paying for accommodation during their studies, while 37% felt very concerned about being able to meet basic clothing, food and transportation costs.
We sat down with Veronica Barahona, Communications Manager with the College Student Alliance to put together some tips for international college students in order to support creating and managing a budget while in Canada. We hope these tips will help you to plan your budget so that you can focus on your studies (rather than your bank accounts!) while in Canada.
7 Costs to include in your Canadian College Student Budget :
Student Center: Why is creating a study budget a good idea for international students?
V: A study budgets allows students to create guidelines for your limited funds. Having a budget ensures that you will have enough money for the things you need and the things that are important to get you through the semester.
Student Center: What are some living/study costs that international students in Canadian colleges might not be familiar with that they should incorporate into the budget?
V: Coming to a new country comes with a fair share of new experiences as well as new and unforeseen expenses. Below are a few things to consider when budgeting.
- Heat and Hydro costs
Fluctuating heat and hydro rates may be unfamiliar to students new to the country. It varies on the season, but important to add into your budget.
- Health Insurance
Health insurance is possibly the most important thing to have while studying abroad, in the event you catch a cold or injure yourself. You will need to contact the International office at your college for information on health insurance for international students.
Our weather is known for being all over the place so having various types of clothing is your best bet. For example: Winter gear would include gloves, hats, scarves, a good winter jacket and snow boots; Spring gear should consist of a light jacket, rain boots or waterproof boots and an umbrella to shield from those unexpected rainy days.
- Cell phone
While just about everyone has to pay for service no matter where they are from, phones from abroad may not be compatible with service providers in Canada. Also be aware of those pesky roaming charges and change your plan accordingly. Another thing to consider is purchasing compatible phone accessories (case, charger, etc.) that go with it or a new phone all together.
Laptops can easily make their way across the country, think printers, scanners, and the like – these aren’t as easy to travel with. If you are going to need one for class, make sure you budget accordingly.
Your new home may be equipped with laundry facilities within your living area and a bonus if it’s free! However more often than not laundry won’t be included, so budgeting is important so you have clean clothes to wear.
Depending on which college you attend your transit pass may be included into your tuition which is ideal. However, if that’s not the case then you should consider your options: buy a transit pass, a bike or car. Your cheapest option is likely the transit pass; this will help you get around the city easier so it’s a good thing to include in your budget.
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