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Choose the right country to study abroad

Posted on March 10, 2021
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Confused about where to study

When it comes to studying abroad, the three popular choices for international students are the US, UK, and Canada. These countries have some of the world’s best universities and offer a range of courses in a variety of subjects from liberal arts advanced sciences.

Here are the important factors you should consider if you want to study in these countries.

Tuition fees

You should first check on the cost of the course, the tuition fees will vary with each country, here are details of the average tuition fees:

Tuition fees in the US averages $28,000 a year, but it can potentially exceed $50,000 depending on whether you attend a public or private university.

The average tuition fees in the UK is about $20,000.

Tuition fees in Canada range from $7,500 to $26,000, depending on the course and university, taking the average tuition fees to $12,000.

When it comes to choosing a country or university, cost is a major consideration. Examine the actual course fees, scholarship opportunities, and funding options, as previously stated. This is critical for budgeting, whether you need to apply for a loan or explore other options.

Living expenses

Rent and living expenses in the UK range from $16,000 to $22,000 a year. Most undergraduate degrees here (with the exception of languages and medicine-related programs) last for three years.  So, for an undergraduate program this equates to a total cost of living of $48,000 – $66,000. If you want to study in one of the more expensive cities like London, the cost is likely to be more.

While the average cost of living in the United States is $16,000 a year, it varies greatly depending on the location of your university (rural or urban) and whether you live on or off campus.

The average cost of living for students in Canada is $10,000 a year, but it can be as low as $8,550 or as high as $13,000.

However, you must remember that the course duration in US and Canada are four years making the living expenses slightly higher than the UK which follows the three-year system.

University ranking

The ranking is importantif you want to select the right university. Universities or colleges are ranked based on their quality of teaching, research options, and global outlook.  A high ranked university will give you a valuable learning experience. It also means better job prospects.

Five of the top ten universities in the world, including MIT, Harvard, and Stanford, are located in the United States. There are 170 universities in the United States that are ranked among the best in the world. Throughout the year, continuous tests and submissions are used to grade students. Before committing to a major, students can pursue a variety of interests.

Four of the UK’s renowned universities, such as Oxbridge, are ranked in the top 20 in the world. Classes are lecture-based, and unlike in the United States, the final grade is entirely determined by your end-of-term finals.

Three Canadian universities are in the top 100. The University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and McGill University are all excellent places to study business management and STEM subjects. In terms of versatility, Canada ranks between  the UK and the US.


International students studying in Canadian universities may apply for a variety of scholarships and financial assistance.

This does not, however, refer to foreign students attending British universities. It is rare to receive a scholarship or financial assistance from a reputable British institution.

Although merit scholarships are limited in comparison to the cost of education in the United States, many colleges provide 100% need-based funding to deserving students.

Visa requirements

When you choose to study abroad, you will have to apply for a student visa. Get the information for visa requirements and deadlines. You can get this information on the official website of the university and confirm it with the local embassy or consulate.

How easy or difficult it is to get a visa, or the process can be an influential factor in choosing a country to study.

It takes time and effort to obtain and maintain a student visa in the United States.

To receive a visa in the United Kingdom, you must go through a lengthy process involving a point-based scheme.

The process of applying for a Canadian visa is much quicker and easier.

Admission requirements

Examine the admission requirements for the country you wish to study in. Check whether you need to take additional exams such as GMAT, SAT or GRE for the course or need to qualify with English proficiency tests.

Apart from academics, the United States has the most comprehensive selection process, evaluating leadership, community service, analytical skills, and so on. Standardized assessments like the SAT, ACT, and AP, as well as numerous essays, instructor reviews, and interviews, all contribute to a successful application to a top US college.

In contrast, the application process in the United Kingdom is much easier. Just one Statement of Purpose and a teacher recommendation are required, and applicants can apply to up to five UK universities via the UCAS portal.
Canadian applicants must submit separate applications to each university. (Each university needs a few essays and/or video responses, as well as transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Post study work opportunities

Canada provides international students the Post-Graduation Work Permit, which allows them to work in Canada for up to three years after graduation (PGWP). This not only assists students in finding jobs in Canada, but also paves the way for permanent residency.

The UK government recently updated visa regulations in order to draw more international students. International students who begin their studies in the United Kingdom in 2020 or later will be eligible for the new post-study work visa, which will allow graduates to remain in the UK for up to two years after graduation to find work.

Foreign students in the United States are granted a one-year OPT (Optional Practical Training), with STEM graduates receiving three-year OPTs. The student must be sponsored by a corporation or organization to turn this work permit into a work visa or H1B, and even then, the lottery process is unpredictable and time-consuming.

Make a suitable choice

When making a comparison of the countries based on the courses you have shortlisted, you can create a table like the one given below. This will give you all the information at a glance and take a decision.

Name of course    
Selection factor Canada USA UK
University ranking *** ** *
Career prospects ** *** **
Scholarship options **** * **
Living costs *** *** ****
Admission requirements ** *** ****
Tuition fees ** ** *

Choosing a country to study abroad depends on various factors. If the decision seems complicated, talk to an immigration consultant who will guide you through the whole process.

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