Thinking about travelling to an English-speaking country to learn or practice the language?
With dozens of countries counting English as an official or dominant language or lingua franca—from Antigua and Barbuda to Zimbabwe—you may be having trouble deciding which country to choose.
Should you head to the United Kingdom—the birthplace of the language, which boasts top-notch educational institutions and makes weekend trips to the European mainland a realistic prospect?
Or maybe you’d be better off in the United States—the most populous English-speaking country, which is also home to some of the world’s best educational institutes?
Or Australia, which has sun, sights, sand and surfing, and acts as a gateway to Asia for those from the Americas?
While we’re sure that each of those countries offers fantastic opportunities for English students, we’re afraid that none of them compare to Canada—the world’s second-largest country by area, where culture, gorgeous vistas and a high quality of life converge.
Sure, we may be a little bit biased, but we’re confident that after spending time in this vast, beautiful, diverse country, you will be too! Still not convinced? Check out the top eight reasons (of many!) why Canada is the best country for international students—especially those learning English!
Canada has some of the best educational institutions in the world—whichever list you’re looking at, be it the OECD world education rankings or the education rankings within the Best Countries Report, Canada is sure to appear near the top. The quality of education is just part of what brings hundreds of thousands of international students here each year, with Canada sitting at #4 (behind the US, the UK and China) for the most number of international students—despite having a population of just 38 million!
It isn’t just the quality of our educational institutions that inspires students from around the world to flock to Canada—the country’s beautiful scenery also plays a major role.
Many international students—including a number of E-QIP’s own—break up their studies by visiting the mountains, icefields and turquoise lakes of Banff National Park; marvelling at the breathtaking beauty of Niagara Falls; enjoying a mix of urban and natural views while walking or biking along the Vancouver Seawall; or driving all 300km of the Cabot Trail, one of the most scenic highways in the world.
Luckily, our own students don’t need to venture very far to experience some of the best that Canada has to offer, with the charming, historic architecture of Quebec City, the lush countryside of the Eastern Townships and the striking views of Mont Tremblant all on our doorstep.
Travelling far from home for the first time? Canada is consistently listed as one of the top 10 safest countries in the world, thanks to the low crime rate and access to healthcare… especially important features for anyone travelling alone or journeying far from home for the first time.
Canada also often appears in first place on quality of life rankings, including the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania's 2021 Best Countries rankings.
If you ask us, Canada is beautiful 365 days a year—albeit in very different ways, depending on which season you’re in! Most places in Canada get to experience notable changes between all four seasons. In Montreal, we get to enjoy:
While diversity can be a tricky concept to define, there’s no question that Canada can easily be described as diverse—whether in terms of ethnic diversity, religious, linguistic or other forms of diversity. In fact, Canada placed #7 on a 2019 Global Diversity Index, which looked at:
In terms of multiculturalism, Toronto is routinely named the most culturally diverse city in the world—unsurprising, given that the majority of Torontonians were born outside of the country.
Canada doesn’t just boost cultural and ethnic diversity—the country is full of linguistic diversity, too, which makes it the perfect place to learn a language (be it English, French, or one of the other 200+ languages spoken here, including more than 70 Indigenous languages).
Here in Montreal, the majority of residents speak at least two languages, with over 21% speaking three, making it the most trilingual city in Canada. Studies have shown that exposure to multiple languages encourages fluency, which makes Montreal the perfect place to immerse yourself in English, French or both!
The city’s linguistic diversity also makes it a great place for those who want to practice their target language while still finding native speakers of their mother tongue to communicate with—at E-QIP, for example, we offer services in English, French, Spanish and Japanese, among other languages.
As of 2022, Canada’s unemployment rate is approaching the lowest it’s ever been—good news for students who are considering a more permanent move to the country. The likelihood that you’ll be able to work in Canada is higher if you meet certain criteria, including:
At E-QIP, we’re big fans of all English speakers’ accents. We love dialect and accent diversity, and encourage all of our intermediate students to seek out those with varied accents in order to further improve their comprehension skills.
With that said, unfamiliar accents can present particular challenges for some students, especially when they’re just starting out on their language journey. While there’s no such thing as a “neutral” accent, the average English-speaking Canadian’s accent is quite similar to the one many associate with Hollywood films—that is, a General American accent—and is therefore considered by many to be easier to understand than certain regional accents found elsewhere.
In other words, if much of your English comprehension practice has come from watching American films on Netflix, you probably won’t struggle to understand what most anglo Canadians are saying!
So, what are you waiting for? Check out E-QIP’s Montreal-based courses, including the international student-geared Connect 15 and Explore 30, and then get in touch with us to begin planning your Canada adventure!