10 Things You Must Do to Succeed in Canada as an International Student

By Vijay Lala



Moving to a new country can be difficult, especially if you are not from that country. Canada is one of the most popular countries for international students to move to with good reason! There are many opportunities for growth in an international student’s career. However, some challenges come with being a foreign student. This blog post outlines ten things that you must do to succeed as an international student in Canada.

Don’t bring too much stuff from home

While it is great to have some comfort items at your disposal, don’t overpack. Otherwise, you will end up spending a lot of money on shipping and carrying around heavy suitcases. You can always find reasonably priced things in Canada, such as clothes, household items, electronics, etc.

Don’t live far from the university

A lot of students make the mistake of staying far away from their university. However, if you live close to your university, you will learn more about the area and connect with locals.

If you stay far away from the university or college, you will spend a lot of time travelling by metro or bus and will get tired. Studying in Canada can be very demanding. You will have your assignments and thesis to prepare and submit within tight deadlines. If you spend all that time travelling, your GPA may suffer. So try to stay as close to the university or college as possible. This is important to succeed in Canada as an International Student,

Avoid getting into habits such as drinking and drugs

The newfound freedom of living independently can have several side effects, especially for those students who have never experienced such a level of independence in their home country. For example, alcohol and marijuana are legal and readily available in stores across Canada. Stay away from alcohol and drugs at all costs as they can have damaging physical effects on the body, including addiction which can ruin your career.

The choices that you make will decide your success in Canada. It is easy to get waylaid in the company of friends; however, your must choose wisely and avoid the temptation. Focus on your goals and why you have come to Canada.

Always remember the struggle of your parents and family members who have put immense trust in you and sent you to Canada for further studies.

Materialism can wait – Avoid expensive items such as Cars / iPhones / iWatch etc.

It is easy to get distracted by worldly things. As a student, avoid the temptation of buying a car. While the vehicle itself may be cheap, the monthly insurance premium can burn a hole in your pocket, adding to your stress levels. Depending on the province you live in, the monthly car insurance premium can range from CA$ 100 to CA$ 500. You can save this money to pay your next semester’s fees. Similarly, avoid the temptation of buying expensive iPhones, iWatch and other such gadgets.

Keep it simple – if the item is not required for your studies or daily living – don’t buy it.

In Canada, you will find a T-shirt for $50 as well as for $5. You must prioritize your spending’s accordingly. If you have to, set up monthly budgets for your expenses – Set a budget.

It is easy to get sucked into spending money when in Canada. If it’s not bills, then it’s food or clothes shopping. Avoid getting stressed out with how much you’re spending each month by preparing a list of what you need. Then, try to stick to the list when shopping.

Focus on Education – Your primary purpose of coming to Canada. This is important to succeed in Canada as an International Student

Never forget your primary purpose of coming to Canada – studies. This means you should never miss a day of class. Instead, think about how much time and money will be wasted if you skip classes because you were too tired or unmotivated to go.

Canadian education has a high value among employers in this country so missing out means there’s less chance of securing full-time employment after graduation in your chosen field of study.

For many international students, the big goal is to get a degree and then work in their field of study. So make sure you take care of your studies first because it will come back to pay off later. Avoid getting distracted from your goal.

You might have a few friends that live in Canada and are working. However, if you’re feeling the pressure to get a job, it’s best to wait until after your studies are completed before diving into the Canadian workforce. Otherwise, you’ll risk getting distracted from what matters most – studying for schoolwork.

Avoid spending time in irrelevant activities

A lot of students spend time in activities that are irrelevant to their studies. For example, many young students land in Canada and start their YouTube vlog channel to document their journey about how they landed in Canada and what they are doing every day. It is essential to understand that these activities are very time-consuming and take up your precious study or part-time work hours. Instead, join a club in your university, work on a school project or volunteer to help others.

As an international student, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re in the best position possible for post-graduation success. This means devoting as much time and effort into education as you can while living in Canada – which might mean sacrificing extracurricular activities or social events with friends if necessary!

Organize yourself to succeed in your chosen field of study

Have a good study space set up

You need a relaxing place to focus on studying, so this environment must support your work ethic. Find out what works best for you–whether it’s listening to music while working or reading outside–and try different ways of setting up your study space until one feels just right!

Create routines

It may seem like creating habits could take away from spontaneity and creativity. Still, they help students adjust better when coming into a new country because there are fewer surprises. Being prepared helps us succeed!

Use Calendar

Use your time wisely – use a calendar or checklist to make sure you are spending your time on what is important. For example, use your Google calendar to keep track of assignment deadlines and important dates. You can also set reminders to help you stay on top of things!

Focus on your future career path – have long term goals

Focus on your future career path – have long-term goals and a plan for achieving them.

Start with your end goal in mind; it will help you stay focused on what is important.

Know when to say no – know which things are worth getting involved with or not; this helps everyone feel less overwhelmed because they have more control over their time and what commitments they take on!

Don’t just plan your day or weekend. Plan ahead for next semester, next year. What will you do after graduation, how will you land your first job, what type of jobs you want to target, what type of profile you would like to work in and start working on it as soon as you land in Canada. This is one of the most important points to succeed in Canada as an International Student.

Be honest with your parents

Talk to your parents about what you want for the future and keep them updated on your progress.

There is no shame in asking for help. If certain aspects of life are difficult, don’t be afraid to reach out for a bit of assistance.

This openness will be more appreciated than you know, and it will motivate you to do better every day.

Be open-minded: Meet new people!

Experiences abroad are the best way to learn something completely new, whether an activity or a skill. Network with people in your field and expand your social circle. Be aware of the Canadian culture and try to fit in as best as possible. It will create better relationships. As well, networking goes a long way in getting references for new job applications.

Do not be too hard on yourself, but take responsibility for your actions and remember that every day counts!

Keep up with the news

Keeping up with current Canadian events will help you better understand what is happening in our country, which can be helpful when it comes time to apply for jobs. It is also important to keep track of the immigration updates. Subscribe to our free Canadian Immigration Newsletter

Once you complete your studies, you will most likely apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit, so keep track of the application deadlines. If you miss your PGWP application deadline or do not submit all documents correctly, then you may have to return home without getting a Canadian work permit.


Last but not the least, explore your new home away from home. You’re not just in Canada to study. Take time out of your day or week for a break and explore!

Recognize that you are not alone. When it comes to understanding the immigration process in Canada, there is a lot of pressure on international students.

Keeping your head up and remembering that there are always people around who will help steer you in the right direction can be very helpful!

Keep learning and stay curious about new things!

If you are an international student and want to study in Canada for your post-secondary education or training program, you must follow the proper steps to ensure success! Studying in Canada is indeed a life-changing experience for many international students, and it is never too soon to start preparing for your student life in Canada!

Hope you enjoyed reading about the ten things that you must do to succeed in Canada as an international student.

Are you an international student in Canada or preparing to study in Canada? Share your questions in the forum at https://www.immiboards.com/canada-immigration-forum/forums/study-in-canada.12/

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Vijay Lala is the founder and editor-in-chief of Immiboards.com. Dual master's degrees in Political Science and Economics, along with a decade of Canadian immigration research experience, have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of immigration law, policy research, and settlement issues. Linkedin  Twitter

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