Studying in England? A Guide for Canadian Students

Studying in England? A Guide for Canadian Students

Moving from Canada to England to study abroad could be the best decision of your life. Learn the ins and outs of studying in England as a Canadian. 

Being the holder of an overseas degree can give you a competitive edge in your career, especially if you obtained that degree in England.  

The UK's popularity as a host destination of international students is second only to the United States. In addition, Canada is one of the top non-EU countries sending the most students to the UK, with nearly 7,000 Canadian students¹ enrolled in the monarchy country. 

Before joining this bandwagon, make sure you have your ducks in a row with our practical guide to studying in England as a Canadian student. 

First, Let's Talk About Costs

When planning to study abroad, money is usually the elephant in the room you can't afford to ignore. It's wise to have the numbers figured out to make a feasible choice.  

Generally, UK tuition fees for international students average between £10,000 – £20,000² per year for most subjects. However, the cost is higher for international postgraduate students, (£6,500 - £51,360), with MBA fees costing as much as £63,000. 

These estimates are not set in stone. Many variables come into play, such as the university's prestigiousness, your study level and the type and length of your course. Also, remember that international students tend to pay more compared to UK citizens (this is common in most countries). 

Breaking Down the Costs

Besides tuition fees, you have to factor in the following costs: 

Accommodation costs. You can take advantage of on-campus residence facilities for international students or stay in a private residence. On-campus accommodation is usually more affordable. 

Student visa costs. Applying for a student visa costs £363 - £490³ , depending on whether you’re applying from outside or inside the UK. 

Living expenses. This covers the costs of utility bills, grocery shopping, social activities, study materials, clothing items, mobile phone usage, and more. 

Travel costs. These vary based on whether you’re using local cabs, Uber or a student bus pass to get around. 

Insurance costs. International students often need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge to gain access to the NHS (for programs longer than six months). This is roughly £470 per year. Otherwise, you can take out private health insurance. 

Miscellaneous expenses. You may also need to budget for emergencies and other expenses like taxes and National Insurance if you work while studying in the UK.

Financial Aid and Funding Options for Canadians Studying in England

Studying abroad in England can be expensive. Therefore, Canadian students have a strong incentive to explore financial aid and funding options to lower affordability obstacles. 

The first option is to explore UK universities offering scholarships and financial support to Canadian students. The UK government also provides bursaries, grants, fellowships, and other financial support options to students from several countries, including Canada. Merit-based and need-based financial aid can significantly reduce the pinch of international study expenses. 

You can also explore funding options for Canadian students in the UK. For instance, you may qualify for a Canadian Student Loan⁴ to help fund your study overseas. Other than that, you can also secure part-time work or get help from family to fund your studies. 

The Best Way to Pay for UK Tuition

There are several options for paying for your studies abroad: 

Bank transfer. You can transfer money directly from your bank to your university's account or your account in the UK. This option is fraught with high transfer fees, poor exchange rates, and longer turnaround times, so avoid it where possible. 

Cash. Cash isn't always king when paying for your studies. You may be subject to cash limits when crossing the border by air. In addition, it's generally not a safe idea to move around with wads of cash. 

International money transfer. A specialist money transfer service like MTFX allows you to make seamless, online international transfers to any UK bank account. All you need is the beneficiary's name, address, and account number, plus the bank name, address and Swift code. This is the best option due to the competitive exchange rates, affordable transfer fees and speedy turnaround times. 

Studying abroad can be a tricky balancing act. Easing money transfer from Canada to England to pay tuition eliminates some of the stress and enhances your student experience.

Why Study in Britain?

Studying in Britain is a fashionable choice for Canadian students in more ways than one. 

The pub culture. Soaking up the pub culture can be one of the most fascinating and unique elements of UK student life. Have fun socializing and relaxing with a drink in hand after classes. 

Short-duration courses. UK's three-year degrees are popular. In addition, many MBAs take just one year. This can reduce the overall cost of tuition while whittling down the timeline for advancing your career. 

Prestigious degrees. UK degrees generally carry plenty of prestige. If you're planning to return to Canada for work, you may have an easier time impressing Canadian employees who believe overseas degrees bring more diversity. 

Bring your family. You may have the opportunity to bring your dependents to the UK once you obtain your visa.

The Application Process

Once you choose a suitable university and program, you can apply through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for undergraduate programs. If you're applying for a postgraduate program, you can apply directly to the university or institution via their website or application portal. Make sure you meet the entry requirements for the university of your choice. 

Visa Requirements

In the past, Canadian students wishing to study in the UK had to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. However, this was recently replaced with the new UK student visa. Qualification requirements include: 

  • Acceptance into an approved institution 
  • Sufficient financial resources to support yourself and pay for your course 
  • Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) number 
  • A valid passport 

The good news is you don't need to prove your knowledge of English if you're a Canadian national. 

Best Places to Study

Some of the best student cities in the UK include: 

  • London 
  • Manchester 
  • Edinburgh 
  • Glasgow 
  • Bristol 
  • Brighton 
  • Cambridge 
  • Leeds 
  • Nottingham 
  • Liverpool 

The following universities are often recommended for Canadian students: 

  • Cambridge  
  • Oxford  
  • UCL 
  • Imperial 
  • Oxbridge 
  • Edinburgh 
  • Manchester 
  • St. Andrews 
  • LSE 
  • KCL 

Tips to Keep In Mind

Embarking on your educational journey in the UK can be both exciting and overwhelming. To help you navigate through this new chapter in your life, here are a few essential tips to keep in mind:

Phone Them Up: If you feel jittery about studying in the UK abroad, you can always calm your nerves by reaching out to your chosen university. Ask questions, do your research and gain more information until you feel confident with your choice. 

Exchange Rates Matter: Need your Canadian dollars to follow you overseas and cover tuition and other expenses? Studying in the UK is already expensive enough. Don't get blindsided by poor exchange rates that force you to pay over the odds.  

Your best bet is using an international money transfer service. With an MTFX account, you can enjoy 3-5% lower exchange rates than the banks. This could result in a savings difference of $1,500 if your annual tuition costs amount to $30,000. 

Bring A Durable Umbrella And Raincoat: If you're studying in an area with a rainy reputation, be sure to invest in a durable umbrella and raincoat. Furthermore, take these with you anytime you go out. 

Student Discounts Are the Plug: Take advantage of student discounts to save more money while studying in the UK. Use discount apps to ferret out the latest deals and save big. 

Learn About the Culture and Immerse Yourself: Be open-minded and willing to try new experiences and make new friends. While studying is serious business, leaving room for fun and great times is essential. 

Planning to study in England?

Studying in England as a Canadian student - FAQs


Is it true you can only study in the UK if you have wealthy parents?

Not necessarily. There are ways to make costs manageable, such as working part-time, using your savings, getting a student loan, applying for scholarships, or choosing more affordable study options. 

How do I choose the best study option in Britain?

It depends on your priorities. Factors to consider include cost of living, student population, culture, sport and more. Also, consider your interests, whether clubbing, football, countryside hikes or history. 

What are some smart budget tips for international students?

  • Ditch takeaways and learn how to cook. 
  • Discover free events and things to do. 
  • Dig into student discounts. 
  • Invest in a student travel card or a decent road bike. 
  • Find a job ASAP.

Popular related articles;


  1. International student statistics in UK
  2. International student fees structure
  3. Student visa information
  4. Student aid programs

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