Prospects and Challenges of Studying in Canada | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Prospects and Challenges of Studying in Canada

Prospects and Challenges of Studying in Canada

Canada is among the preferred destinations for Bangladeshi students to pursue higher studies. Every year a good number of boys and girls get admission in various universities across Canada. There are some highly professional agencies in Bangladesh that are offering the required services to students in their search

for the right kind of institute, in providing required information concerning various courses being offered, faculty strength, tuition fees, other charges, library facilities, dorm charges, availability of part time job etc. They also help students in filling up the admission forms and processing their visa so that they do not lose even a day. In our quest to find one reliable agency we hit upon CUAC and collected some vital information from the authorities. We share some of the information with our valued readers. 

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“Even today where one can find virtually anything by a simple keystroke, mouse click and or touch pad - the lack of knowledge about studying in Canada among Bangladeshis is staggering. Of course it's not that Bangladeshi students, parents and teachers have any more real insight into institutions in the US, UK and Australia - but Canada really stands apart as misunderstood among study abroad options.

It may be said that few know that virtually all Canadian universities are public. Unlike the US, private education (and medicine) is mostly a foreign concept in Canada. So all those Canadian universities one may have heard of, including the most popular names in Bangladesh - Toronto, McGill, Alberta, Saint Mary's - are all public institutions. Unlike the USA which has almost 5,000 universities and colleges, Canada only has about 75 universities - a very small number for a country of 35 million people.  Then again, many Canadian universities are among the larger campuses in the world and are home to tens of thousands of students.

With Canadian universities being public, few in number and supported by a very rich country, they are almost all of extremely high academic quality and world-class standard. This is probably the biggest misconception about Canada among Bangladeshi students. For a bachelor degree, it does not matter which public university one studies at in Canada. Canadians do not write entrance exams to attend their own undergraduate/bachelor degree programs. Most Canadians simply attend the university (or college) where they live. Unlike in Bangladesh where the difference of which campus one goes to, can broadcast one's own socio-economic status, Canadian universities have similar tuition fees for all Canadians, and are attended by Canadians of all economic classes. Again, this is dramatically different from the United States, which has some of the most expensive private (and public) universities in the world, and generally for those  going to a prominent US university they are bright students, and in most cases they are also rich.

Thus for the cost, the reward of doing one's bachelor degree in Canada are excellent. It means a terrific education, and commonly not as expensive as similar quality options in the USA, UK and Australia.  Anyone finishing a bachelor degree in Canada leads directly to an official three-year work permit, then status as a Canadian permanent resident, and eventually a citizen.

The challenge however, is that for admission to most Canadian universities (not all), one should be a very good student. For example - for engineering hopefuls to Canada - Canadian universities only offer absolute world-class degrees. It's not like Bangladesh, where the few very best go to BUET and the rest must settle for much less. Thus for the vast majority of Bangladeshis who are dreaming of a Canadian university degree, the fact is, one needs to be a very good student, whether in a Bangladeshi or foreign curriculum.

However, another key aspect of Canadian education is that for those who are not suited for a university, Canada has a very large college sector, which is fundamentally different from universities. In Canada, colleges offer diplomas (with some exceptions where certificates and degrees are awarded) which focus on applied and practical education to prepare students more directly for working careers. For example in hospitality, many technical areas, basic business skills, etc - it's Canadian "community colleges"  which service this area.  Again, what's misunderstood in Bangladesh, is that it's a Canadian college diploma which best suits the majority of Bangladeshi students. The challenge however, is that obtaining a student visa for a college diploma is more difficult because this pathway to Canada is often abused by those who see it as an easy route to enter Canada without any real intention to study.

What about the myriad of Bangladeshis who already hold a degree from their own country?  Is Canada an option for further study? Š for a Masters?

Again -it's yet another misunderstanding about Canadian universities. Given that Canada's public university sector is of top quality, it serves to reason that its post-graduate/masters degrees would be of a very high standard. This is indeed the truth and it's fabulous news for the top Bangladeshi bachelor degree holders. Canada offers tremendous avenues for advanced study, research and careers in Canada. The best and brightest grads in Bangladesh may avail themselves of Masters degree opportunities which will even fund most of their costs in exchange for research and teaching assistantships. But for the average and good student (and the reality if most students are not exceptional), then a Masters degree in Canada is not a realistic option with the one exception of the few course-based Masters which will entertain students who are merely 'good' but not great.

So when it comes to the biggest global market for study abroad - pursuing post-graduate education - Canada is actually not a major destination.  Not because Canada is not interested and welcoming, but because in the main, it's a destination for only the top students who are fewer in number.

For those seeking quality at a relatively affordable cost, and all in a country where peace, prospects and potential are all in abundance - Canada is an exceptional option. For serious and sincere students, at a minimum, it should be a consideration.

Written with information provided by Mr. Mel Broitman, the Managing Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He can be reached by writing to

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