The Cheapest City in Canada for International Students

Canada is one of the best educational destinations in the world. With many great universities and a wide variety of courses, the country harbors a large foreign student population. However, the thought of additional expenses naturally comes to our mind when we mention studying in Canada. So, if you are looking for the cheapest city in Canada for international students, here are some options for you.

List of cities that are considered affordable for international students

1. Montreal, Quebec

As we look for the cheapest city to live in Canada, Quebec finds special mention as one of the most affordable provinces in the country. One of the advantages of living in Montreal is its cultural scene. There are several colleges and universities in Montreal which makes it a university town. Many of the international students spend their university years here. There are so many students of McGill University residing around it that the area is called the McGill Ghetto.

The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal is around CAD 1,290 (Rs 75,000). Many international students live in Plateau, a neighborhood that is dotted with quirky shops, cafes, and affordable restaurants offering delicious food. 

2. Sherbrooke, Quebec

Located around 160 km from Montreal, Sherbrooke is an unofficial student town in Quebec. There are eight educational institutions here with around 40,000 students. The cost of living in this town is 15.6% below the national average and you can easily find a one-bedroom set under CAD 800 (Rs 47,000).

3. Laval, Quebec

Laval is one of the largest cities in Quebec and is located 30 km northwest of Montreal. The cost of living in this city is 9% below the national average.  Educational institutions in Quebec have the lowest tuition fees and are  cheaper compared to the national average. Choosing a city in Quebec can help international students save quite a lot of money. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Laval is CAD 1,273 (Rs 75,000).

4. Calgary, Alberta

The largest city in Alberta, Calgary not only has some of the best colleges to study in Canada but also is a skiing destination. It has the youngest population among Canadian cities. Students who want to pursue a creative program can apply at the Alberta College of Art and Design. This is one of the top design and art colleges in Canada. The city is sometimes called the Texas of Canada as it is the home to the Calgary Stampede much like the Texan culture. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment here is between CAD 800 (Rs 47,000) and CAD 2,967 (Rs 1.75 lakh).

5. Ottawa, Ontario

The vibrant city of Ottawa, which is also the capital of Canada, is home to two renowned universities in the country, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. There are several restaurants and bars in the city, and the downtown area looks gorgeous with quirky cafes. However, you can look for apartments in Little Italy, Osgoode Street, Centretown, and Old Ottawa South. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for around CAD 1,200 (Rs 70,000).

6. Kingston, Ontario 

With colleges and universities like Queen’s University, the Royal Military College of Canada, and St. Lawrence University, Kingston has a strong student vibe. The city offers the comforts of modern life, and neighborhoods are filled with students. Due to the social life and the student community, you will get an at-home feeling all the time. One of the major highlights here is the Homecoming weekend of Queen’s University. The cost of living in Kingston is significantly lower than in Toronto. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Kingston is CAD 1,220 (Rs 71,000).

7. St. Catharines, Ontario

The largest city in the Niagara region in Canada, St.Catharines is yet another city that is known for being affordable for international students. The cost of living is 0.5% below the national average. For a one-bedroom apartment, one has to pay around CAD 1,314 (Rs 77,000) every month. Niagara Falls is just a 20-minutes drive away from this city.

8. Moncton, New Brunswick

Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick but is one of the cheapest places in the province. The cost of living in this city is 6.3% below the national average. You can get a  one-bedroom apartment for around CAD 835 (Rs 49,000) per month. Like many other cities in Canada, Moncton is a promising and welcoming place for international students.

9. Abbotsford, British Columbia

British Columbia is considered an expensive place by many. However, there are some cities in this province that are quite budget-friendly for international students. One such is Abbotsford. It is also the largest city in the province by area. The cost of living in Abbotsford is 3.6% below the national average. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in this city is CAD 1,500 (Rs 88,000) per month.

What makes a city affordable for students?

Apart from the tuition fees of the educational institution, there are several other expenses that the students need to bear and a lot depends on the city they are living in. Many factors contribute to making a city affordable but the below factors top that list:

  • Affordable accommodation – One of the prime requirements for an affordable student city is the availability of pocket-friendly accommodation. Staying at the college/university campus is an option but you should be able to rent a place within a reasonable budget.
  • Effective transport system – You need to be aware of the transportation charges and options available in a city. Since most students rely on public transport, it is an essential part of what makes a city affordable for the students.
  • Pocket-friendly activities – You cannot spend all of your days immersed in books and roaming your campus. Students also like to experience new cultures, visit local attractions, and taste local delicacies, all without breaking the bank. Hence, every city needs some activities and local sights that students can explore without worrying about money.

Canada stands among countries that offer the best secondary education. This makes it an ideal choice for international students. The country has an outstanding quality of education and a good number of schools. What is even better is the sense of acceptance towards foreign students. The immigration policies are welcoming too and students can get work visas once they complete their graduation.

Cost of living in Canada:

Living costs in Canada Cost
Flight expense Rs 1 lakh – 2 lakh per flight
Study permit fees $150 (Rs 11,000)
Work permit fees $155 (Rs 11,500) 
IELTS test fees Rs 14,700
Accommodation CAD 5,000 – CAD 10,000 (Rs 2.6 – 5.4 lakh) p.a.
Travel costs CAD 80 – 110 (Rs 4,300 – Rs 6,000) monthly
Health insurance CAD 300 – 800 (Rs 17,000-Rs 44,000)
Food CAD 300 – 400 (Rs 17,500 – 23,000) (monthly)
Entertainment CAD 750 (Rs 44,000) monthly

Studying in Canada is one of the best decisions for students who are looking for affordable options. Canadian universities and colleges are well-known and respected for being some of the finest in the world and providing an excellent academic experience. Another factor that makes studying in Canada a worthwhile decision is the easy visa application process clubbed with great employment opportunities. You can explore various pathway programs offered by upGrad Abroad in partnership with some of the most prestigious universities in Canada

You May Also Like