Studying in England? A Guide for Canadian Students


University of Oxford

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2024

Heading off to study in the UK is super exciting, right? It's like stepping into a whole new world, where centuries-old universities meet cutting-edge research and teaching. If you're a Canadian student dreaming about those iconic British campuses, we're here to walk you through everything from getting your head around the UK education system to figuring out where you're going to live and how you'll manage your financials including international payments.

Whether you're drawn to the historical streets of Oxford, the bustling metropolis of London, or the scenic beauty of Scotland, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your overseas education.

UK education system - how is it different from Canada?

Diving into the UK education system, you'll find it's quite a unique setup, especially when you stack it up against what we're used to in Canada. Here are some key differences to get you in the loop:

Degrees and timing: Over in the UK, most undergrad degrees are wrapped up in 3 years, not the usual 4 we see in Canada. Plus, they dive deep into the subject right from the get-go, meaning less time spent on courses outside your major.

Master's fast track: If you're eyeing a Master's, the UK's got a speedy route - most programs are just a year, unlike the longer hauls back home.

Tuition fees: While both countries see international students forking out more for tuition, UK universities can be a bit pricier. However, the shorter degree times can help balance the budget.

Academic year: The UK academic calendar often kicks off in September, wrapping up around June. It's split into terms or semesters, but you might find some variations depending on the university.

Assessment style: UK institutions love their essays, exams, and dissertations. Continuous assessment isn't as common as in Canada, so get ready for a few big assignments to carry a lot of weight.

What's the best place to study in the UK?

Choosing the right place to study in the UK is a big decision, and it's about more than just picking a university. It's about finding a spot that feels like home and matches your vibe, academically and socially. Here's how you can nail down the perfect place for your UK study adventure:

Course content and structure: Start with what you want to study. UK universities can vary a lot in how they structure courses, even for the same subject. Dive into the course content, the teaching methods, and the assessment styles to make sure they align with how you like to learn.

University reputation: While it's not all about rankings, they can give you a sense of a university's strengths. Look beyond just the overall ranking to see how the university stacks up in your specific field of study.

Location, location, location: The UK's got everything from buzzing cities to tranquil countryside campuses. Think about what suits you best. Love the hustle and bustle? A city university might be for you. Prefer a quieter setting? Look at campuses in smaller towns or rural areas.

Cost of living: Don't forget to factor in the cost of living, which can vary widely across the UK. London and other big cities can be pricier, while smaller towns might be more budget-friendly.

Accommodation: Where you'll live is a huge part of your university experience. Explore the accommodation options, both on and off-campus, and consider what's important to you, like location, price, and the type of housing.

Campus facilities: Take a look at what the institution offers in terms of libraries, sports facilities, student unions, and other amenities. These can make a big difference in your day-to-day student life.

International student support: Moving to a new country is a big deal. Check out what kind of support services the university offers international students, from orientation programs to help with visas and language support.

Tuition payments and foreign exchange challenges

Sorting out tuition payments and dealing with foreign exchange rates are two of the trickier parts of studying in the UK for Canadian students. It's not just about paying the bills but doing it smartly to avoid unnecessary costs. Here's the brief on managing these challenges:

Exchange rate volatility: The exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and the British pound can be a bit of a wild ride. Since exchange rates fluctuate, the actual amount you pay in CAD can vary, which makes budgeting a bit of a puzzle.

Consider hidden fees: Be wary of hidden charges. Some banks might offer what seems like a good rate but then charge you high transfer fees or service charges. Always check the total cost of the transaction.

Identifying the right time: When you convert your money to pounds can make a big difference. Keep an eye on the exchange rates and try to make your payments when the rate is favorable. Some planning and flexibility can save you a good amount.

Payment delays: Sometimes, when you are using the services of a conventional bank, international transactions can take longer than expected. This can be nerve-wracking, especially with the tuition deadline looming.

Security concerns: With international money transfers, there’s always a worry about the security of your funds. Use reputable services known for their reliability and security measures such as fraud protection and secure encryption technology.



How MTFX can help Canadians studying in the UK?

MTFX helps Canadian students navigate the complexities of studying in the UK by offering a range of solutions tailored to ease the burdens of international payments and foreign exchange hurdles.

Maximize savings with superior exchange rates

By offering rates that are better than the traditional banks, MTFX ensures your money goes further. Whether it's tuition or living expenses, converting your Canadian dollars through MTFX means more pounds in your pocket, helping you weather the unpredictability of currency fluctuations.

Minimize costs with lower fees

With MTFX, you don't have to incur the steep transaction fees that typically accompany international transfers. MTFX offers a cost-effective approach, ensuring that more of your hard-earned money is spent on your education and life in the UK, not on unnecessary charges.

Guard against currency fluctuations

With MTFX's risk management tools like forward contracts and market orders, you can secure favorable exchange rates or set desired rates for your transactions. This strategic approach provides a buffer against the uncertainties of the foreign exchange market, making your budgeting more reliable and stress-free.

Speed and security

Swift and secure transactions mean your tuition payments and other financial commitments are met promptly. This efficiency not only helps you adhere to important deadlines but also provides peace of mind, knowing your funds are protected every step of the way.

Simplified payment process

The intuitive MTFX online platform is designed with your convenience in mind, allowing for seamless management and monitoring of your transactions. This ease of use ensures that, no matter where you are, you have control over your finances at your fingertips.

Customized solutions for your needs

Recognizing the unique financial demands of studying abroad, MTFX offers personalized services, including options for recurring tuition payments and regular transfers for day-to-day expenses, ensuring your financial planning is as individualized as your educational journey.

Top UK universities for Canadian students to consider

When it comes to choosing a top-notch UK university as a Canadian student, you're spoilt for choice. The UK is packed with prestigious institutions known for their academic excellence, diverse programs, and vibrant student life. Here's a rundown of some standout universities that are popular among Canadian students and renowned on the global stage:

University of Oxford: Steeped in history and tradition, Oxford offers an unparalleled academic environment. Its unique tutorial system fosters close mentorship and deep dives into your subject. Plus, the collegiate system provides a tight-knit community feel.

University of Cambridge: Similar to Oxford in prestige and structure, Cambridge is another top choice for students seeking a rich blend of historical ambiance and cutting-edge research. Its numerous colleges each have their own distinct character.

Imperial College London: If you're into science, technology, engineering, or medicine, Imperial is a powerhouse. Located in the heart of London, it offers top-tier programs and a strong emphasis on research and innovation.

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): Specializing in social sciences, LSE stands out for its global perspective and strong connections to the world of policy and finance. Its central London location is also a big draw.

University College London (UCL): Known for its diverse and inclusive community, UCL offers a wide range of programs and is renowned for its research output. Its campus in central London provides countless opportunities for cultural and professional enrichment.

University of Edinburgh: Nestled in one of the UK's most beautiful and vibrant cities, Edinburgh is famous for its humanities, arts, and sciences programs. The university boasts a lively student culture and a strong sense of community.

King's College London: With a prime location along the Thames and close to major cultural landmarks, King's is known for its excellent programs in law, humanities, and health sciences. It's a university that truly feels at the heart of the city's action.

University of Manchester: Renowned for its research, especially in science and engineering, Manchester offers a dynamic campus life. The city's rich musical heritage and vibrant cultural scene are big pluses for students.

University of Bristol: Bristol is known for its high research output and diverse range of programs. The city of Bristol is lively, creative, and has a strong sense of community, making it a welcoming place for students.

University of Warwick: Although it's a bit younger than some of the other universities on this list, Warwick has quickly established itself as a leading institution, particularly strong in business, economics, and more. Its campus near Coventry offers a close-knit community and a modern, vibrant setting.

Application process for Canadian students

For Canadian students eyeing a spot in a UK university, the application journey kicks off with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the central platform for undergraduate applications. You'll need to keep an eye on key deadlines, typically in January for most courses, but earlier for the likes of Oxford and Cambridge. Your application will showcase your academic grades, a personal statement reflecting your interests and aspirations, and a reference letter, usually from a teacher.

Postgraduate applications, however, are usually made directly to the university. It's crucial to research each institution's specific requirements and deadlines. For both undergrad and postgrad applications, paying attention to details and preparing well in advance will smooth your path to studying in the UK.

Checklist for Canadian students planning to study in the UK

  • Identify institutions and programs that align with your academic interests and career goals.
  • Familiarize yourself with the UCAS system, the central platform for undergraduate applications in the UK.
  • Note the key deadlines for your chosen courses, especially for competitive programs and institutions.
  • Craft a compelling personal statement highlighting your interests, achievements, and reasons for choosing your course.
  • Secure references from teachers or professionals who can attest to your academic abilities and potential.
  • If required, take an English language proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL and submit your scores.
  • Research tuition fees, living costs, and available scholarships or financial aid options.
  • Once you receive your offer letter, start the visa application process by securing a student visa.
  • Research and arrange your housing, whether it's university halls of residence or private accommodation.
  • Book your flights and ensure you have all the necessary travel documents, including your passport and visa.

Let MTFX worry about your international payments

It's clear that managing international payments is a key part of your journey as a Canadian student heading to the UK. From tuition fees to day-to-day living expenses, getting a handle on how to navigate these financial waters is crucial. Services like MTFX can significantly ease this process, offering competitive exchange rates and lower transaction fees, ensuring your money stretches further.

Remember, planning and being informed are your best tools. Keep an eye on exchange rates, understand the fees involved, and choose reliable, secure services for your transactions. This way, you can focus less on the financial logistics and more on what really matters—immersing yourself in your studies and enjoying the unique experiences that studying in the UK has to offer.

Create your MTFX account today and start saving hundreds of dollars on every transaction for tuition and living expenses.


Copyright © 2024 MTFX Group