May 1, 2013
Nowadays, more and more students are choosing to pursue all or part of their post-secondary education abroad. Whether they leave for a semester, an internship or as part of an exchange program, students are on the move and it's great! Here are a few tips on how to prepare your child both professionally and personally for this life-changing and rewarding experience!
Financing Studies Abroad
Studying abroad enables students to discover and experience the world from a new perspective while completing a post-secondary education. It can, however, be quite costly to offer such an experience to one's child. In addition to the tuition fees, a number of other expenses must be considered, such as plain tickets, housing, food and transportation, all of which may be in a country where the cost of living is higher than in Canada. There are a number of ways to prepare for these realities:
- Start investing in a registered education savings plan (RESP) for your child as early as possible. In addition to the amount you invest, you will benefit from generous government incentives totalling up to $12,8001 in additional funds per child. The amount accumulated in an RESP can be used to finance tuition fees, housing, food, transportation fees, etc. An RESP is therefore a practical and effective solution to fund an international education.
- The Government of Canada offers an international scholarship program for graduate students who wish to pursue their studies or research in another country. Your child simply has to check the admissibility criteria. Different scholarships are offered.
- The Government of Quebec also offers a scholarship program for studies abroad (French only). Over 100 scholarships are granted to students across Quebec to offer financial support to those pursuing their studies or research abroad.
- Educational institutions are increasingly granting scholarships to students who wish to pursue their education in another country. Don't hesitate to inquire about the specific programs offered by the school your child attends.
If your child is part of a student-exchange program, make sure he first inquires as to whether or not the credits earned abroad are recognized by his educational institution in Quebec.
Make sure your child has all the documents required by the host country: passport, study permit, visa, etc. To find out which documents you should obtain, contact the Canadian embassy or consulate in the country where your child plans to study. The processing of documents can take considerable time. Do not wait until the last minute to submit an application.
Take extra precautions and sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. This can be very useful in case of an emergency abroad (e.g.: earthquake, tsunami, political agitation/unrest, etc.)
Refer to the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website. You will find useful resources and tips to help your child prepare for an education abroad, including a traveler's checklist and information on baggage and airport security.
Other Useful Links
1 CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant) amount of 20% to 40% and QESI (Quebec Education Savings Incentive) of 10% to 20%. CESG lifetime limit is set at $7,200 and that of the QESI is set at $3,600. A CLB (Canada Learning Bond) reaching up to $2,000 is also granted to any child born after December 31, 2003 whose family receives the National Child Benefit Supplement.