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What makes Calgary a top choice for international students studying in Canada


In 2021, over 32,600 international students chose to study in the province of Alberta, with Calgary being the most populous city in the province.


Calgary, ranked as the 3rd most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Index 2022, is a popular destination for international students seeking education and immigration opportunities in Canada.

Let’s see why.


What is it like to be a college or university student in Calgary?


International students will have the opportunity to participate in Calgary’s thriving social scene as valued members of the country’s third-most diverse metropolis. International students will experience 333 days of sunshine per year—more than any other major Canadian city—to explore and engage with Calgary’s multilingual citizens, who speak more than 120 different languages.


The median age of Calgary is also among the lowest of all the major Canadian cities at little under 38. This implies that young international students in Calgary shouldn’t have any trouble forming friendships with people with whom they can share their experiences of the city. The largest city in Alberta, Calgary, has a lot to offer individuals looking for a great student experience in addition to a top-notch education, from taking in the Calgary Stampede to seeing the Rocky Mountains.


For overseas students, however, leisure and education are only a small part of the picture. They’ll also need to make money to support themselves. To this goal, a regulatory change that went into effect in November 2022 would temporarily let Canadian international students work full-time hours during the academic year.

Now that they can work full-time even during unscheduled school holidays, eligible students can support themselves financially and acquire experience working in Canada.


Please note that this transitional policy will be in place until December 31, 2023. International students are often permitted to work 20 hours per week off campus while enrolled in classes and full-time during designated breaks.


Pursuing studies in Calgary


According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there are over 60 Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in Calgary’s post-secondary education system. Because foreign nationals are required to get an acceptance letter from a DLI before applying for a Canadian study permit, DLIs are essential to the experience of international students.


The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is one of Calgary’s DLIs (SAIT). Only 15 DLIs in Calgary provide programs that qualify international students for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which is essential to enabling the shared objective of SAIT graduates to pursue permanent residence if desired. This makes SAIT special.


The eight academic schools at SAIT provide students with a variety of programs that will help them prepare for careers in a variety of important industry sectors, including energy, digital technology, business, construction, health, public safety, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing and automation, and transportation.


You are welcome to apply to any of the bachelor’s, applied, diploma, and certificate programs as an international student. The programs are meant to provide you with the knowledge and self-assurance you need to succeed in your work.


Life in Calgary after Graduation


International students can anticipate a successful future in the over 1.6 million-person city after finishing a DLI with a Calgary location like SAIT.


One of the few Calgary DLIs that provides PGWP-eligible programs is SAIT, as was mentioned above. DLI graduates who obtain Post-Graduation Work Permits are permitted to work in Canada for up to three years and gain Canadian work experience. Candidates with Canadian educational and professional experience are rewarded by many federal and provincial permanent residence schemes. In other words, SAIT significantly aids its students’ goals of immigrating to Canada.


For instance, SAIT had a historic celebration in October 2022 for 35 graduates who were granted permanent residence in Canada. For this important occasion, students were joined by members of the faculty and dignitaries from the province, such as Joyti Gondek, the mayor of Calgary, and Demetrios Nicolaides, the minister of advanced education for Alberta.


This is a significant factor in Alberta’s success in retaining international students, and Calgary plays a significant role in this accomplishment. In fact, among all the provinces and territories, Alberta retains the second-highest proportion of international students after three years, according to data from the Conference Board of Canada. International students who relocated out from their first province of study within the same time frame ranked Alberta as their second most preferred destination province.


Due to the affordable housing and lucrative employment opportunities in Alberta and Calgary, particularly, many international students choose to study there.


The minimum wage in Calgary is specifically $15.00 per hour, which is higher than the minimum wages in Montreal and Toronto (and only 20 cents less than in Vancouver). Among these four significant Canadian cities, Calgary has the lowest average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment ($1000) and sales tax (5%).


Add to that the fact that Calgary has the fastest-growing tech workforce in North America, and it becomes clear why Calgary is swiftly emerging as a key Canadian center for innovation and technology. This demonstrates why Brad Parry, the president, and chief executive officer of Calgary Economic Development, thinks Calgary has a promising future as “a burgeoning digital center where bright minds and bold ideas join together to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges.”


As a result, Calgary is becoming a more sought-after and practical destination for international students looking for the ideal Canadian city to start their journey to a great and affluent future in this nation.

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