When considering international study options, students have a multitude of choices available to them, from deciding which country to study in to selecting the institution they will attend. With numerous possibilities, why should prospective international students choose Calgary, Canada as their destination?
Calgary, known as one of Canada’s youngest major cities, offers a wealth of opportunities in education, career development, and lifestyle. The city boasts a thriving tech scene and a growing economy, all while providing a relatively low cost of living and the added benefit of being situated close to the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.
What sets Calgary apart is its diverse and inclusive community, with residents speaking over 120 different languages. International students who choose Calgary can enjoy an average of 333 days of sunshine per year, surpassing any other major Canadian city. The city’s livability has not gone unnoticed, as it was ranked the third most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2022, receiving high scores for its culture, environment, and education.
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Situated in Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) warmly welcomes international students from around the globe and aims to play a pivotal role in their academic and professional success.
From an educational standpoint, Alberta, particularly Calgary, offers affordable tuition for international students. As a city with more than 65 Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), which are educational institutions approved by Canada’s provincial and federal governments to host international students, Calgary stands out as one of the most affordable major cities in Canada for international students.
Preliminary data from Statistics Canada (Stats Can) for the 2022/2023 academic year indicates that Alberta has a lower average cost of tuition for international students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels compared to other popular Canadian educational destinations like British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
At SAIT, annual tuition and fees amount to $21,000, making it significantly more affordable than many institutions in other provinces, where tuition averages range from $23,000 to $39,000 higher than SAIT.
For example, the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver charges international students tuition fees ranging from $44,000 to $58,000 for the 2023/24 academic year, depending on the chosen program. McGill University in Montreal had undergraduate international Bachelor of Arts (BA) students paying $31,500.50 during the 2022/23 school year. International students in the Arts and Science faculty at the University of Toronto face an average tuition of $60,510 for the 2023-24 academic year.
These comparisons position SAIT as a more affordable option among DLIs in major Canadian provinces.
Furthermore, SAIT is dedicated to supporting the career aspirations of international students seeking employment in Calgary’s diverse economy. Many international graduates from SAIT aspire to remain in Canada and build their careers in the country. Eligible graduates can apply for a Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that allows them to gain up to three years of Canadian work experience, depending on the length of their program at SAIT.
One significant advantage of the PGWP is that the work experience gained by international graduates enhances their competitiveness when applying for Canadian permanent residence. Research conducted by the Canadian government demonstrates that having study and work experience in Canada contributes to the economic integration of immigration candidates.
Calgary provides abundant employment opportunities for international students across various sectors, making it an appealing destination for those seeking career advancement. As of 2022, the province of Alberta had over 38,000 job vacancies across the five occupational categories prioritized in the federal government’s new category-based draws. The majority of these vacancies are likely to be found in Calgary, Alberta’s most populous city.
Calgary’s employment opportunities align with some of the most in-demand industries nationwide, including healthcare, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), agriculture/agri-food, transport, and trade. Graduates from post-secondary educational institutions are well-positioned to pursue careers in these sectors, thanks to the thriving job market in Calgary.
To further assist international students in their career journey, SAIT offers free Career Planning and Career Advancement Services. These services include personalized appointments and workshops designed to help students identify suitable career paths based on their interests, skills, personality, values, and desired lifestyle. SAIT also provides resources and guidance to enhance students’ employability, such as networking opportunities, resume improvement, interview preparation, LinkedIn profile development, and job placement support.
Calgary’s allure extends beyond education and career prospects. The city has become a magnet for global tech talent and is actively fostering economic growth in this sector. With over 40,000 tech workers and a remarkable 20% job growth in the tech sector between 2017 and 2021, Calgary is establishing itself as a prominent tech cluster, attracting major employers like IBM, Mphasis, AWS, Unity, and Infosys. The Metropolitan Region’s Growth Plan, implemented last summer, further demonstrates Calgary’s commitment to improving services, infrastructure, and opportunities, contributing to the city’s exciting future.
SAIT invites prospective students to consider Calgary as their destination for education, career development, and immigration goals. By choosing Calgary and enrolling at SAIT, international students can benefit from affordable tuition, ample career opportunities, and access to a thriving tech sector. Embracing all that Calgary has to offer will not only support their academic journey but also pave the way for a prosperous future in one of Canada’s most promising cities.