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Living in Canada

International student can consider Canada as country destination to continue study. According to the study by Association of Commonwealth University on 2003, tuition fee at Canada universities is the lowest compare to Engliand, Australia and New Zealand. While tuition fee in USA public universities is one third that Canada and twice for private universities.

Living cost in Canada depends on the student life style. Below is some examples of product and service cost in Canada.

Rent - Bachelor Apartment
(one room apartment, one month, large city)
$700 - $1,100
Rent - Bachelor Apartment
(one room apartment, one month, small city/town)
$500 - $700
Utilities (one month) $20 - $30
Phone (one month not including long distance) $20 - $40
Cell Phone Package (one month) $40
Cable Television (one month) $25 - $50
Internet Connection (high speed, one month) $40
Groceries for One Person (one month) $200 - $300
One Dozen Eggs $2 - $3
Bag of Rice (2 kg) $2 - $6
Bus Fare One Way (local) $2.25
Local Telephone Call $0.25
Fast Food Meal (hamburger, soft drink, french fries) $4 - $6
per person
Average Restaurant Meal $10 - $25
per person
Coffee from Specialty Coffee Shop $1.70
Admission to Nightclub $0 - $15
Gas/Petrol $1.15 - $1.50
per litre
Movie $11.50 - $13
Pair of Jeans $40 - $80
Pair of Running Shoes $60 - $200
Return flight from Vancouver to Toronto $300 - $1,200
Letter within Canada $0.50
International Postage (letter) $1.45

Currency & Bank

Canada currency uses a metric system of measurement. Canada currency rate is dollar which is equivalent to 100 cents. The common banknotes in Canada are the denomination of $5, $20, $50, and $100. Coint is consist of 1 cent (pennies), 5 cents (nickels), 10 cents (dimes), 25 cents (quarters), $1(loonies) and $2 (twoonies). Coins $1 and $2 has been distributed for more than 10 years, but there is still banknotes $1 and S2 available at the market and legal for term of payment (but it also has been an collectible item). Canada banknotes have different colors depends on its value.

Even though banks in Canada offer the best exchange currency rate, but some of them charge fee for exchanging money or traveller's cheque and the stated rate exclude taxes. International student is advised to exchange money to Canadian currency before arriving in Canada since banks in Canada is open from Monday to Friday on working hour (9 am to 5 pm) only, while other money changer charge higher fee. Money changer at the hotels, shopping centres, and money changer booth usually offer a high currency rate or charge a high commission.

Student get easy access to many banks and ATM in Canada which is easy to find in big cities. Usually bank card or credit card can be used to withdraw money from the ATM. ATM card can be used as term of payment in Canada for many things as food and clothes. Banks in Canada offer many services to their customers such as currency exchange, safety deposit boxes for storage of passports, and savings accounts. Many stores, hotels, restaurants and entertainment places accept travelers cheque and credit card for payment.


Some provinces in Canada apply local tax to goods and services but all the provinces apply 6 percent federal tax of the total purchase which is called Goods & Services Tax (GST). A part of this GST can be refunded upon student's departure from Canada by showing the original invoice of the puchasing. International student can contact Revenue Canada or school for more information. GST refund form is available at airport or shopping malls.