Study Abroad in BC
Nearly 140,000 international students are attending school in British Columbia, and there are nearly that many reasons why they should. Whether it's wilderness, metropolis, adventure, or serenity that inspires international students, British Columbia has got it. To add to this, our cities are considered safe, our weather is considered mild, and our people, we like to think, are very welcoming.
But that's just part of it. Chances are that what ultimately draws learners to BC schools from all across the globe, is that our schools are that good. Research consistently puts us at the top of the lists when it comes to quality of education, not to mention quality of life, and both the Economist and the United Nations agree: When it comes to international schooling, British Columbia offers one of the best environments and education system for students. At this end of your flight, you'll find a province of lush forests, wild rivers, scenic beaches, and not-so-distant mountains for skiing, just to name a few highlights. The people here love their surroundings and make it easy for visitors to access things like kayak and ski rentals so that you, too, can experience and explore what BC is all about. Within the cities you'll find artsy culture, many things to do, and more outdoor restaurant patios than you can visit in a year.
But, back to studying...
Elementary / Secondary School (High School)
Fortunately, it's never too early to start studying in Canada. In British Columbia, opportunities exist for international students aged five through 19 to enroll in schools throughout the province.
Elementary and Secondary school students in BC have the luxury of preparing for their futures in safe, positive, and thriving learning environments. Our schoolyards are full of fresh coastal air, and our buildings, which range from simple to state of the art, are all held to high standards of safety, cleanliness, and all around quality. But what's most important is what happens inside our schools. From classroom to classroom, BC's teachers put their hearts into delivering a broad and balanced curriculum to our students, and our students, as a result, are shining on an international level. PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) tests to what degree 15-year olds in various countries are prepared for their futures and, according to these tests, British Columbia's students rank among the highest in Canada, while Canada overall ranks among the highest in the world. In short, our students—and schools—make us proud.
Opportunities to excel and succeed in BC don't end with reading, science, and math, either. The horizons here on the coast are much broader than that. Our schools are abuzz with unique extracurricular activities and after-school clubs where students can learn new skills, make new friends, and deepen their international experiences. Whether it is music, technology, sports, or nearly anything else that piques a child's interest, there's bound to be an opportunity for them to thrive.
So if you've considered a short-term exchange to one of our schools or are looking for a long-term change, you can feel good about your decision. British Columbia is an excellent destination for young international students who want to work hard, have fun, and make their home countries proud.
Post-Secondary (University & College)
Going to university or college is all about streamlining your successes and expanding your experiences. What better place to learn and live than in a province like British Columbia? Not only do our residents have the luxury of an extremely high quality of life, but our post-secondary students have access to some of the best education in the world. Though Canada as a whole ranks highly as a great place to learn, BC has set itself apart by being the only province to create a Provincial Seal of Quality for its post-secondary institutions. The Education Quality Assurance stamp assures students worldwide that a BC institution meets high standards, giving them peace of mind as they search for a school or program overseas. Though this is a helpful distinction, international students should keep in mind that the certification is voluntary, and just because a college or university is not branded as EQA does not directly reflect a lower standard of education. Other efforts, like the Pilot Pathway Project, are in place simply to ease the transition for international students who want to continue from a BC secondary school into a BC university or college.
The amount of accredited post-secondary institutions in British Columbia is staggering. Like universities anywhere else, schools tend to be popular for students of a certain discipline because of a school's excellence in a given field. Someone hoping to study environmental science, for example, might choose a different school than someone who would like to study a trade, or liberal arts, or business management. Those who wish to complete a Masters or PhD will find plenty of reputable choices in BC as well. Once a student has decided which schools offer the program they want, it's time to take the luxury of narrowing it down based on location. Over 80 university and college campuses are spread across the province, allowing students the opportunity to study in almost any BC city or west coast environment they choose. The University of British Columbia (UBC) boasts a sprawling seaside campus not far from the heart of Vancouver. Simon Fraser University (SFU) is situated romantically on the foggy peak of Burnaby mountain, while the University of Victoria (UVIC) is at the very southern tip of Vancouver Island, surrounded by beaches and minutes from downtown Victoria. And that's just where it starts. Other specialized universities and smaller colleges are nestled everywhere throughout the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, and the interior of British Columbia, such as the Kamloops international campus at the Thompson Rivers University. As some of them are named, "College of the Rockies", the environment is part of the experience.
ESL Program (English as a Second Language)
Maybe the English language is what makes you want to come to Canada. Or, maybe the English language is what makes you nervous about coming. Either way, there are over 60 private language schools in British Columbia waiting to help you learn. And we also have ESL programs in our public universities. So whether your aim is to learn English for business, for education, or for everyday conversation there is a school and a program in BC that's right for you. Learning English isn't easy, but ESL teachers in BC apply proven and effective methods to make the most of your desire to learn. And because studying a language takes so much more than just studying, BC's language schools put a lot of value on interactive learning. This is evident inside the classroom, but also means that many schools help international students find homestays, jobs, or internship placements in BC. So not only can you learn grammar from a trained ESL teacher in a certified institution, but you could have the chance to practice and perfect your English even faster in valuable real-world situations.
Most of our language schools are in major city centers like Vancouver and Victoria, placing students right at the heart of the action, but this doesn't mean you're limited to seeing the same part of BC every day. Our schools know that you want to get out of the classroom and have some fun, so they help with that too. Your teachers might show off their province by taking students to the Vancouver Art Gallery, by whisking them off to Whistler Village, by enjoying a cultural event, or by planning parties that students will write home to their families about. In fact, while studying English in BC, there will be so much to write home about that you'll probably just want your families to come over and see it all for themselves.
Between our short term and long term programs and our public and private institutions, we've got an opportunity for every student whether they're still learning English or heading straight for their PhD. So those who'd like to study abroad in Canada can go ahead and start packing their sandals, their snowboards, and their reading glasses, because BC is ready for them whenever they're ready for BC.
Articles of Interest:
- International Education: University and college study options in BC
- British Columbia - Inspiration and Education: There's good reason students from around the world choose this beautiful Canadian province year after year...
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