Canada remains one of the hubs for international students as it offers them quality education in a serene and conducive environment. France, on the other hand, inarguably belongs to the group of European countries with top educational systems and packages for international students.
France, which is famously known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris and sweet-scented lavender fields, features numerous prestigious tertiary institutions. Though both nations boast impressive education packages, international students can’t help but wonder which one is better.
So, they keep asking relevant questions like what’s the cheapest city to study for international students, what are the best universities in French? Luckily, this post will answer all the questions as we shall be comparing both countries from the study abroad perspective.
The Cheapest City To Study For International Students?
This is one of the important factors you must consider before deciding the best place to obtain your degree.
Though there is a significant difference in the fee paid by international students and Canadian citizens, Canada still offers a relatively cheap education when compared to other countries of the world.
Meanwhile, you must know that international student tuition fee varies depending on your preferred institution and the field of the program.
International students offering their Bachelor’s degrees are expected to pay between $7,203 and $49,800 each academic year. As for Master’s degree students, they are expected to pay between $3,222 to $42,850 tuition fees.
However, you can apply for any of the best scholarship programs for international students in Canada, including
- Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships,
- Calgary International Entrance Scholarships,
- Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship,
- and York University International Student Scholarship Program.
Contrary to Canadian education policy, domestic and international students pay the same tuition fees in France (except for special cases we will reveal later).This decision plays a significant role in ensuring that international students benefit from the country’s affordable education system.
A report from a reputable source claimed that students paid €170 (~US$200)/year for bachelor’s programs; €243 (~US$285) master’s programs; and €380 (~US$445) for doctoral programs in 2019.
Considering the estimated tuition fees above, it’s safe to say that studying in France is cheaper than in any Canadian city based on tuition fees.
In the same vein, France is listed among the top 10 most affordable places to study abroad, while Canada didn’t make the cut. However, you must consider the accommodation fee, textbook expenses, and overall cost of living in both countries before concluding. Keep reading to discover more about them.
Opportunities for English Speakers
Here is another crucial factor you must consider while comparing both countries. The opportunity for English speakers remains a top priority if you intend to study English in any of the countries.
Is Canada an English-speaking country? Yes. However, Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages. The country contains a high number of native English speakers also known as Anglo-Canadian.
Therefore, settling down in the country shouldn’t be any problem as you can easily communicate or interact with many domestic students, Canadian traders, and a large number of Canadian populates.
- University of Windsor,
- Brescia University College,
- Trent University,
- St Thomas University,
- Queen’s University School of English,
- University of Toronto,
- Seneca University,
- and McGill University are Canadian universities with the best English programs.
France is a French-speaking country and most of its citizens hardly speak English, although they understand it. Since English is optional in France, only a fraction of the French populates are eager to learn it.
According to a recent survey, only39% of the French population speaks English meaning you might find it difficult to interact with them as a newcomer.
Nonetheless, this shouldn’t stop you from studying in a European country. The good news is that you can learn to speak French within your first six months in the country. Alternatively, you can install an English-to-French translating application so you can communicate seamlessly with the French people before mastering the language.
- Université PSL,
- École Polytechnique,
- Sorbonne University,
- École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and
- École des Ponts Paris Tech
are the best universities in France with the best English-thought programs.
Our verdict: Canada is a better option in this category as it offers international students and English speakers the best template to communicate and interact with the people in the English language; thereby, eliminating the frustrating effect of a language barrier.
Entry Requirements for Universities
You can’t talk of traveling to either Canada or France to study without meeting the entry requirement.
Though every institution has unique admission requirements, below is a general list of criteria and documents you must possess as international students seeking admission into a Canadian University.
Postgraduate studies requirements
- Graduate certificate or diploma obtained from certified University.
- An impressive and well-constructed letter of intent
- A quality and updated CV for graduate and postgraduate studies.
- Proof of evidence of financial sufficiency confirming your financial ability to sponsor yourself throughout your stay in Canada.
- Proof of language proficiency to confirm you can fluently communicate in English or French.
- Valid and up-to-date academic documents and transcripts are equally compulsory.
- You must score at least 70% in 12th grade to begin an undergraduate study in Canada.
- You must pass your TOEFL exam with PBT:580 — 600min score (depending on your course)
- You must score at least 237—250 min in your computer-based test (This requirement is course dependent)
- You must pass your 12th-grade level mathematics to stand a chance of gaining admission into a Canadian University.
Bachelor’s / Diploma / Certificate Programs
- You need a 6/6.5 overall language proficiency test (IELTS) score, depending on the institution and course type.
- PBT: 550min TOEFL score is required.
- Minimum of CBT: 213 computer-based test score.
How To Apply for Canadian University
Below is a brief step-by-step guide to applying for admission into a Canadian university.
Step 1: Choose your preferred institution and course choice. Check here universitystudy.ca to access the full list of Canadian institutions before choosing the one that suits your choice.
Step 2: Understand and meet all the requirements
Step 3: Prepare and submit your application to your preferred choice. You are advised not to apply randomly because the application fee ranges from $100 to $250. We advised you to apply to your preferred university and one as backup to brighten your chances.
Step 4: Take the Language Proficiency Test and endeavor to pass it in flying colors as it is one of the determining criteria.
Step 5: Apply for a study permit if your chosen institution offers you admission.
You can apply online or visit your local visa application center by providing all the necessary documents and information, including an acceptance letter, passport, and a document confirming your financial capacity to cater for your needs throughout the program.
You must know that French university entry requirements vary from one course and institution to another. Nonetheless, below is the conclusive list of entry criteria you need to study in any of the French universities.
- High school diploma or equivalent qualification
- French Baccalaureate or equivalent degree.
- You must pass the University’s admission examination from your country.
- You must pass the personal interview round if you are applying for a technology institute.
- You must pass the IELTS/ TOEFL scores with a good grade (same as the Canadian universities requirement)
Post Graduate programs
- You must possess a relevant Bachelor’s degree or equivalent diploma degree.
- All doctoral program applicants must possess a master’s degree or equivalent diploma.
- You must have good grades in all the top standard tests/exams, including GRE, GMAT, SAT, etc.
- You must submit all the required undergraduate documents and transcripts.
Meanwhile, some top French universities, including Ecoles, often set unique examinations to test your ability and see if you merit a spot in their school.
How To Apply For the Undergraduate And Postgraduate Programs In French University
Below is a conclusive step you must follow if you intend to study in a French institution:
Step1: The first step involves obtaining the application from the school’s official website. Alternatively, you can get it from France embassy in your country.
Step2: Fill and submit the application form to the appropriate authority. Ensure you beat the application deadline date to brighten your chances.
Step3: The French university will offer you admission if you meet all the requirements.
Step4: You will get the school’s student ID to become a qualified student. Ensure you beat the application deadline date to brighten your chances.
Canadian universities have different application Deadline dates and months. Likewise, the application deadline for undergraduate programs is different from graduate and post-graduate studies.
For instance, the University of Toronto’s application deadline date for the 2022 undergraduate program is January, while the University of Montreal’s deadline for the Fall semester is February.
As for the University of Calgary, the application deadline for undergraduate programs is March (Fall semester). As for postgraduate programs, applicants interested in the Fall admission period are to apply between August and March, or September and March.
The French universities’ application deadlines vary from one institution to another in terms of a specific date. Every French university begins a new academic calendar on 1st October and ends it on 30 June. An academic year features two semesters, including the first and second semesters.
The First semester often commences in early October and runs through to late January, while the second semester runs from February through the latter part of May.
Our Verdict: As mentioned earlier, every institution has its unique application deadline date. Hence, ensure you visit the official website of your desired institution to confirm its application deadline and other crucial information.
Quality of Education
This is arguably the most significant factor to consider before choosing a place to study abroad. Though both countries are well-known for quality education, you must get your fact and stats right here to know which one is best for you. So, let’s take a critical look at both cities.
According to a QS ranking, Canada’s highly-rated University of Toronto is one the best universities in the world as it is known for contributing significantly to the world’s economy with amazing concepts.
UofT is undoubtedly the best institute of research in Canada. It provides a serene atmosphere and state-of-the-art learning equipment that aid learning and assimilation.
Like UofT, the University de Montreal is another Canadian university making headlines in the world’s education sector. Ranked fourth-best Canadian university, University de Montreal is renowned for its quality service delivery. Interestingly, it delivers lectures in English and French so both domestic and English-speaking students will grasp everything discussed in classes.
McGill University gives international and citizens unrivaled opportunities to complete their Ph.D. in a fascinating and friendly environment. Talking of an encouraging environment, Canada offers a tranquil atmosphere for all students to learn and participate in extracurricular and self-help activities.
Meanwhile, it will interest you to know that the University of Toronto is the best Canadian university and the 25th in the world, followed by McGill University which occupied the 31st spot in the global ranking.
The French government prioritize Education, as it is compulsory for children between age 6 and 16, attend elementary school (enseignement élémentaire) where they learn French, mathematics, reading and writing, social sciences, science, and English (or any first foreign language)
As part of its desire to maintain quality education standards, 21 percent of the country’s annual national budget is invested in education. It’s no surprise that France boasts a 99 percent literacy rate, while the University of Paris remains one of the world’s oldest tertiary institutions.
Meanwhile, French university rankings further buttress the fact that the country has a commendable education system. France has 36 universities in the recently released QS World University Rankings® 2021, including Centrale Supélec, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Sciences Po Paris,etc.
Université PSL remains the best in France but 40th in the world, while Sorbonne University comes next, occupying the 88th spot in the global ranking. All of these universities feature great and fascinating learning environments and teaching equipment that will fast-track your learning prowess.
Our verdict: Canadian universities seemingly have an edge over France judging by some reputable international rankings, such as the Times Higher Education, the QS ranking.
However, this doesn’t take anything away from French Universities’ ability to deliver quality education to both domestic and international students. The quality of education in France is impressive in its right.
Students’ overall welfare should be everyone’s concern as it will go a long way to determine if you will be successful or not. So, we added it to the factors to consider while choosing the best place to study between France and Canada
Canada Universities don’t joke with students’ welfare outside the classroom as they engaged in exciting extra-curricular activities, such as drawing, football, basketball, volleyball, and other sporting events.
Elementary schools in Canada for young children are made up of caring teachers who excel in ensuring interactive, engaging, and interactive classes for the young lads.
High schools offer students specialized programs to help them decide what to become in the future. Learning isn’t only restricted to classrooms, students embark on excursions and trips for exposure and practice.
As for graduate and undergraduate students, career-defining vocational training is readily available to help students offering professional courses. The universities dedicate weeks for students to engage in special tasks, thereby giving them unrivaled chances to practice their skills in a real-world environment.
Your day as a student in Canada will include lectures, tutorials, labs, workshops, and extra-curricular activities to refresh your mind and soul. In summary, student life in Canada is impressive and lively as you will learn, work and play thanks to a flexible schedule that allows you to venture into one or two after-school profitable activities that will earn you some cash for your daily upkeep.
Student life in France is an adventure that offers the best opportunity to explore and leverage all that the country has to offer. You will be exposed to many features that will reveal so much about the French culture, lifestyle, and history.
French universities organize conferences, seminars, parties, sporting activities, and other various outdoor events to help students enjoy their stay in the country. They don’t only focus on imparting academic knowledge, but also help students develop a disciplined lifestyle that will make them better persons in life.
French Universities also organize trips to museums, Cinemas, and other tourist attraction centers. They have state-of-the-art sporting facilities available to all students regardless of their nationality and culture. They encourage active participation in sports and physical activities that will keep the body in shape.
In terms of classes and lectures, the French universities ensure flexible schedules as students are allowed to choose dates and times of courses they want as related to their career path. With this mode of operation, you can work and learn without compromising one for the other.
Over verdict: We might be unable to say which one is better in this category because both countries ensure convenient academic patterns, quality, and a healthy environment for all students to thrive and achieve their academic goals.
Though we’ve briefly mentioned the tuition fee earlier, let’s say a little bit more on it because it is a crucial factor you must consider while choosing where to study between both countries
Though Canada’s university tuition fee appears to be on the high side, it is still relatively affordable when compared to some countries like the UK, the USA, or Australia.
Tuition fees for a bachelor’s degree in a top Canadian university range from 550 to 30,000 CAD/year. It will interest you to know that Social Science, Medicine, and Engineering are the most expensive bachelor’s degree programs in Canada Universities.
Tuition fees for a Master’s degree in a top Canadian University range from 1,075 to 65,000 CAD/year. Master’s in Computer Science, Law, and Business & Management are the most expensive programs in Canadian universities.
Let’s quickly add that the Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Regina, Royal Road University, University of Saskatchewan, and Athabasca University are the most affordable universities in Canada.
As stated earlier, students paid $200 per year for bachelor’s programs; $285 for master’s programs; and $445 for doctoral programs in 2019. Though the fees might have changed this year, ensure you budget nothing less than the amounts above to be on the safe side.
Meanwhile, recall we said both French and international students pay the same tuition except for special cases, which we promised to unveil. The few cases in which non-European students pay higher tuition fees than their domestic counterparts include:
- Enrolling for a Bachelor’s or Masters degree for the first time.
- This is your first time applying for an engineering program.
- Belonging to a higher education establishment under MESRI (The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation)
- You don’t reside or settle permanently in France
You don’t have to break the bank to live in Canada, thanks to its little-above-average cost of living. Basic utilities like electricity, water, heating, and garbage cost 150 CAD/month, while the internet is estimated to be 70 CAD/month. We assume 300 CAD should be enough to get your foodstuff from local supermarkets and groceries in one month.
As much as your lifestyle will determine how much you spend daily, you need 800–1,500 CAD/month to live well in most of the country’s well-regarded provinces like Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Meanwhile, Vancouver and Calgary remain Canada’s most expensive cities. You need at least 2,000 CAD/month to live comfortably in any of them.
You would agree that living in a beautiful country like France comes with a prize, including a high cost of living. You will spend at least €200 on rents every month, €400 on groceries, €39 on electricity, €48 on gas, €26 on internet, €145 on transportation, €16 on a cellphone, €16 on monthly Health insurance top-up (hospital-only plan), based on your lifestyle and location.
The beautiful city of Paris is one of the most expensive places to stay in the world, no thanks to its status as the capital city. Though there are numerous tourists attraction and captivating features in the city, living in Paris isn’t an option for students without a regular source of income.
That said, it will be unfair to use Paris as the only yardstick as there are other affordable cities in the country. According to MONEYINC, Montpellier, Marseille, Saint-Quentin, Caen, Poitiers, Brest, Limoges, Metz, Grenoble, and Lille are the ten most affordable cities in France.
In short, you need between €1,200 and €1,800/month to live well as a student in Paris; between €900 and €1,400 in Nice. Living as a student in Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Toulouse requires between €800 – 1,000 every month; while others part of the country demands not less than €650.
Our verdict: Canada comes top in this category with relatively affordable living costs.
Housing for Students
There are many options available to students when it comes to renting an apartment in Canada. Student residences are up for grabs if you are willing to pay between 250 and 625 CAD as monthly rent.
University-arranged home stays are equally obtainable options for students ready to release 400 – 800 CAD per month. You can equally rent & share an apartment ranging from 300 to 700 CAD/month.
Meanwhile, the prices of houses in Canada solely depend on location and facilities. Hence, you should go for the one that suits your financial capacity.
The documents and paperwork you need to rent an apartment in Canada include official ID (Driver’s license, permanent resident card, or passport), employment letter, Paystub, rental history, and bank statement.
University residence halls/buildings managed by Frances regional centers for student services, (also known as CROUS) are available for qualified students.
The CROUS buildings are affordable, near to campus, and they are conducive. Visit the CROUS website to see the application requirements and apply if you meet them.
You can rent a private residence specifically available for students, although they are more expensive than the CROUS buildings. They contain furnished rooms, a gym, accessible internet service, laundry facilities, interactions with students, etc.
Fac-Habitat, Studea, Les Estudines, Suitetudes, Accueil, Student Factory, Kley, Neoresid, Cardinal Campus are top websites where you can apply for any of the private-owned apartments. In terms of money, you should prepare at least €200 for monthly rent in many French cities aside Paris.
Documents you need to rent an apartment in France as a student include ID or Passport, Guarantor’s details (Photocopy ID, photocopy of employment contract), a letter from your guarantor in French, and a French Bank reference form.
Culture and Lifestyle
As much as this factor won’t impose a damaging effect on your academic performance, it’s crucial you know their culture and way of life
We already mentioned that Canada is a bilingual country. It is best known for its pristine landscape and Canada is famous for its pristine landscape, rich history, and interesting cultures.
The world’s second-largest country is made of three major indigenous people, including the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
All Canadians love festivals, parties, and music. They love building a snowman, hiking with their dogs, buying milk in bags. The Canadians love apologizing, love planting a garden, skating, eating ketchup chips, visiting the doctor for free, floating around a lake on a hot summer day, etc.
You have the freedom to practice any religion of your choice. Roman Catholic (38.7%), Protestant (23.5%), Anglican (5.0%), Muslim (3.2%), and Hindu (1.5%) are the 5 major religions in Canada.
In the same vein, the best 5 multicultural festivals in Canada include Folklorama, The Calgary Stampede, Pride Toronto, Winterlude, and Edmonton Folk Music Festival.
It is believed that you will get to Paris to experience what the French culture and lifestyle are all about. This is because the city is more or less the heartbeat of the country being the center of cuisine, art and architecture, and fashion.
Going back to memory lane, the French culture was significantly influenced by Celtic, Germanic Tribe, and the Gallo-Roman cultures. The European nation successfully carved a unique culture by combining all three cultures.
In case you are wondering what do the French enjoy doing? They love eating cheese after dinner, they love walking or hiking at night, drinking wine, they love kissing strangers, they love eating bread, especially baguettes.
Meanwhile, the top five religions in France are catholicism (41%) Islam (5%), Protestantism (2%), Eastern Orthodoxy (2%), and Buddhism (1%).
Application Process for a Student Visa
Let’s see how to apply for a student visa in any of the countries.
Below is the step-by-step guide to applying for a student’s visa in Canada:
- First ensure you receive an acceptance letter from your desired Canadian university.
- Ensure you meet all the Canada Student Visa eligibility requirements. Click here to see them. https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/canada-student-visa-guide-applycontent5772
- Ensure you have all the required documents for Canadian students Visa, including Credit Card, Statement of Purpose, excellent English Language Proficiency Exam Score, Passport Size Photographs, Proof of Funds, Valid Passport, Healthy clinical record, and the School’s Proof of Acceptance. You may have to provide your biometrics, depending on your country.
- Visit the Canada Visa Application Center in your country and submit all the required details.
- Wait for their response. Meanwhile, you should get your Canadian student visa within 90 days, although it depends on the situation in your home country.
Before discussing how to get a student visa in France, you must know that there are several students visa you can apply for in France.
The four main students Visa in France include Schengen student visa, Visa to sit entrance exams, temporary long-stay visa, and long-stay visa. Having said that, follow the following steps to procure any of the visas highlighted above.
- Provide all the required documents such as the University’s official acceptance letter, proof of sufficient funds (€615/month), proof of return ticket home, proof of medical insurance, proof of accommodation, and proof of proficiency in French.
- Visit the French consulate in your home country to complete the process.
Working during the Studies
As mentioned above, both Canadian and French universities ensure flexible schedules, thereby giving students the platform to work while studying.
Meanwhile, how to work while studying in France includes doing an internship as part of your program; working at your university by providing cultural sports and activities or tutorials; freelancing jobs, or working in Café as a per-time worker.
Meanwhile, how to work while studying in Canada include internships, freelancing jobs, etc. You can only work for 20 hours in a week or 964 hours in a year if you have a valid Canada study permit. You can equally work as a full-time worker during winter break and other scheduled breaks.
After Graduation Opportunities
Let’s discuss your chances of getting a paid job after graduation as you might decide to stay abroad to work.
Canada has lots of job opportunities for international students willing to stay in the country after graduation.
However, you must apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) within 180 days of graduation to be eligible for this offer. Ensure that your student study visa is valid until you receive the PGWP. Click here to see how to apply for the Canadian post-graduation work permit (PGWP). You can equally apply for a Canada permanent resident card if you meet the requirements. See here for more on how to apply for a Canada PR card.
Like Canada, France has numerous opportunities for graduates willing to work in the country. However, you must possess the Job Search or Business Creation Permit to be hired into the French market.
Job Search Permit is a legal document or card that allows you stay and work in France for additional 12 months starting from the issuing date. According to a new law made by the French government in 2019, you must apply for a job search permit within 12 months of graduation.
The permit also gives you the option to launch your business ventures during the specified time frame. Meanwhile, Residence Permit for Temporary Worker, Residence Permit for Employee, Temporary Residence
Permit and Talent Passports are other legal cards you could get to remain and work in France after graduation. Click here to learn more.
Top Jobs after Graduation and their annual income
According to the Mastersportal, the current top 5 best-paying jobs in Canada are Physician/Doctor (150,000 CAD/yr), Lawyer (135,000 CAD/yr), Miner/Oil and Gas Driller (77,250 CAD/yr), Dentist (75,000 CAD/yr), and Registered Nurses (74,000 CAD/yr)
|Miner/Oil and Gas Driller
According to Career Addict, Physician (€133,220), Dentist (€117,000), Lawyer (€107,960), Pilot (€80,300), and Allied healthcare professional (€74,000) are the top five highest-paid jobs in France.
|Allied healthcare professional
Best Universities for International Students
The top five highly-rated Canadian universities recommend for international students are the University of Alberta, McMaster University, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and the University of Toronto in no particular order.
The best five French universities for international students are Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL), École Polytechnique, Sorbonne University, University of Paris, and Paris-Saclay University in no particular order.
Frequently Asked Questions About Studying Abroad
Is it cheaper to study in Canada or France?
Both countries offer affordable and quality education systems. Though Canadian universities’ tuition fees appear costlier than their French counterparts, we can’t overlook the cost of living and other factors. Hence, we can’t specifically say which one is cheaper among the two.
Is France better than Canada for international students?
There have been lots of arguments over which one is better for international students between Canada and France. As much as it’s a tough and dicey question, we will choose Canada over France.
Canada provides easier communication, while Canadian institutions are ranked higher than French universities.
Does Germany give a work permit after study?
Yes. International students are allowed to apply for a residence permit and remain in Germany for 18 months after graduation. With the 18-month legal document, you can do all kinds of legal work before it expires.
Can I get a work permit after studying in Germany?
Yes as long as you meet the requirements and provide all documents.
Can I stay in Germany after completing my studies?
Yes, you can stay in Germany for 18 months to look for a job.
Michael Larry is an instructor and an educationist, who like to bring out the best in other through his inspirational writeup.