Living Expense Breakdown in Canada as an International Student 

Studying in Canada is a dream that many students have. The mesmerizing natural beauty, globally recognized educational institutions, and cross-cultural experience have made the country appealing to international students, making Canada one of the most popular study destinations. According to a survey of the Canadian Bureau for International Education in 2018, the 3 most significant reasons that attract a huge number of international students to study in Canada are its reputation as a safe country -78%, Non-discriminatory society – 79%, and Quality education system- 82%. While Canada is known for its quality education, the tuition fees for Canadian Universities are quite affordable. Still, as you’re planning to live there as an international student, you should know the details on how much you have to spend approximately. 

Generally, aside from tuition fees, a student has to keep the living expenses, medical insurance, and accommodation cost in mind while making budgets. Furthermore, there are always additional costs that usually pop up during the course tenure. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will require you to show proof that you are able to afford to study in Canada as well as living there. Your college will provide the cost of living estimate, which the immigration officer will follow. However, in case your college doesn’t provide it, you have to show evidence that you have $10,000 for 12 months of living expenses in Canada as a student. An additional $4,000 will be required if your spouse lives with you and another $3,000 for each dependent. This amount includes accommodation, food, medical insurance, transportation, books, and clothing. Nevertheless, Tuition and other fees are not included in this. 

Moreover, it’s important to obtain medical or hospital insurance, since healthcare in Canada is pretty expensive. Some universities even require mandatory insurance coverage. It’s better to secure it within one week after arrival. There are both publicly-funded and privately-funded healthcare systems in Canada. However, each province administers its own healthcare. Whether or not you are able to get publicly funded healthcare depends on where you live. In case you don’t qualify for publicly funded medical coverage, you have to get your own privately funded coverage. 

The living cost in Canada usually depends on what region you’re planning to stay in. For instance, cities like Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary are comparably more expensive than other cities. It also depends on whether you’re staying on-campus or off-campus. As for tuition fees, even though tuition fees are relatively lower in Canada, the amount varies from university to university. You can figure out how much you have to spend approximately, following the table below-



Average Cost in CAD

Education Cost

Undergraduate: CA $13,000 – CA$ 30,000 per year

Postgraduate: CA$ 14,000 – CA$ 65,000 per year

Accommodation Cost

On-campus – CA$ 8,000 to CA$ 10,000 per year

Shared Apartment Off-campus – CA$ 400 to CA$ 700 per month

Cost for Foods and Drinks

CA$ 200 – CA$ 600 per month

Transportation Cost

CA$ 80 – CA$ 120 per month

Books and Study Materials 

CA$ 200 to CA$ 350 per semester

Recreational Cost (Movie Ticket for 1 Person)

CA$ 12 to 14

Health Insurance Cost

Varies depending on providers and coverage


CA$ 500 to CA$ 1,000 per year


As stated earlier, the estimated cost can differ according to what city you’re living in, what university you’ve been admitted into, and what program you’ve enrolled yourself in. If you want to cut down your budget, you may want to live in suburban areas, since the living costs in urban centers are more than those in suburbs. Moreover, you can live outside the campus which will cost you less. Although many students prefer on-campus housing more as they’re more convenient. However, You can bear the expenses through scholarships, financial aids, or bursaries. There are a lot of scholarships and grants for international students awarded by many public and private organizations. You can even take up a part-time job to help yourself financially. A good number of on-campus and off-campus jobs are available for international students. In the case of off-campus jobs, you are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week while studying and 40 hours during vacation. Usually, a student earns around C$10-15 an hour in Canada. Though it may vary depending on the city and the job you perform.

Living abroad can be pretty expensive. Even though the tuition fee in Canada is quite decent, the living expenses and accommodation costs can take a toll on you. Hence, for many students studying abroad may seem really daunting. However, if you keep everything in mind and prepare your budget accordingly, you may avoid unnecessary costs. Also, since Canada is generous enough with all the scholarships and part-time work opportunities, you most certainly should make the best use out of it.

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