Did you know…?

    1. Canada has a public health care system known as “medicare”. It provides medical insurance for health care services to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. You must have a valid health card and number to get eligible health care costs covered.
    2. Canada’s national health insurance program (Medicare) covers the cost of necessary hospital and doctor services. It involves the health care plans of all provinces and territories and aims to be equitable for all. Not all medical services or procedures are covered by public health care.
    3. The ancestors of Aboriginal peoples are believed to have migrated from Asia many thousands of years ago. In the 1970s, the term First Nation began to be used. Today, about half of First Nations people live on reserve land in about 600 communities while the other half live off-reserve, mainly in urban centres.
    4. When they came to Canada, many early French fur traders married First Nations women. Their descendants are called the Metis people. Most Metis live in Canada’s prairie provinces and speak their own dialect – Michif.
    5. The first four provinces to join Confederation as “Canada” in 1867 were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada’s first Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald. Manitoba joined in 1870, BC in 1871, PEI in 1873, NWT in 1880, Yukon in 1898, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949 and Nunavut in 1999.
    6. Canada’s Pacific coast province is British Columbia. The Prairie provinces are Alberta, Sasketchewan, and Manitoba. Central Canada refers to Ontario and Quebec. The North means the three territories: the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. “Maritimes” refers to the three provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. “Atlantic provinces” refers to those three plus Newfoundland and Labrador.
    7. More than 80% of Canada’s population live in towns and cities that are within 250 kilometres of the U.S. border. The U.S. borders Canada to the south. The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner.
    8. According to the 2006 Census, 6,186,950 foreign-born people lived in Canada. Not all foreign-born people who live in Canada have English or French as their mother tongue. In the 2006 census, people reported their mother tongue as:
      1. Chinese 18.6%
      2. Italian 6.6%
      3. Punjabi 5.9%
      4. Spanish 5.8%
      5. German 5.4%
      6. Tagalog 4.8%
      7. Arabic 4.7%
    9. The Inuit, which means “the people” in the Inuktitut language, live in small, scattered communities across the Arctic. Their knowledge of the land, sea and wildlife enabled them to adapt to one of the harshest environments on earth. About 65% of the Aboriginal people are First Nations, while 30% are Metis and 4% Inuit.
    10. The name “Canada” comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “Kanata” meaning village or settlement, and the name was used by the early explorer Jacques Cartier. The word Canada started appearing on maps in the 1550s.

Reference: DayPlanner

Struggling with finances to study in Canada? Here’s the information about scholarship awards in Canada!

Scholarships and other awards are very competitive for international students. In fact, you will need to earn your worth by displaying exceptional extracurricular activities participation, academic excellence, the quality essay writing and ongoing studying performance in some case, among others. There are scholarships offered by specific universities/colleges and the government of Canada and other organizations. We have rounded up a selection of scholarships for those international students who are in need of financial support.

Scholarships offered by the Canadian Government 

  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program
  • IDRC Research Awards
  • NSERC Postgraduate scholarships
  • Organization of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarship Program
  • Vanier Canada Graduates Scholarships Program

Scholarships offered by the non-governmental organizations

  • Anne Vallee Ecological Fund
  • Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships

Scholarships offered by the specific school

Why should you study in Canada?

  1. Global acceptance: Canadian universities are known as the least commercialized universities in the world. They offer degrees valued at par with the US schools and other Commonwealth nations. The government’s high academic standards and rigorous quality controls ensure the quality of education for both domestic and international students. This means that students graduated from Canadian institutions benefit from global acceptance at workplace. In short, it opens doors for your future.
  1. Affordable education: Thanks to the meticulous planning of economic management of the government which has checked the overall inflation rate over the decades. This economic achievement has made Canada a very less expensive country all the ways. The living standards and quality of education in Canada are among the highest in the world, but cost of living and tuition fees for international students are generally lower compared with other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
  1. Diverse and multicultural society: Acceptance of immigrants is in the DNA of Canadians. The Canadian society understands and respects both professional and personal diversity. Such a welcoming culture has made them one of the most preferred destinations for studying and immigrating. Canada is proudly represented by the world’s ethnic groups. You will not face any difficulty in finding ethnic foods and recreation activities associated with your specific cultures. The Indian Diaspora will not allow you to be nostalgic. Places such as Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Halifax, and Calgary among others have ethnic supports and newcomers’ associations which could help you integrate into the Canadian society effortlessly.
  1. Safe and peaceful communities: Do you know United Nations consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places for living in the world? Welcoming culture, magnanimous Canadians along with the government’s stricter regulations about possessing guns make this country superior to others. International students feel at home and their rights of freedoms and expressions are fully protected. You will experience respect for human rights, equality, and a stable and peaceful society.

  1. Electrifying campus lifestyles: Canada’s post-secondary campuses are in sync with the latest technology and modern amenities. From public concert halls and art galleries to Olympic-quality sports facilities, they offer the best learning and leisure opportunities for students. Students have incredible opportunities to network with the like-minded individuals coming from the world and acquire invaluable experience through radio, newspapers, student-run governments and businesses.
  1. Primary focus on innovation and research opportunities: Canadian post-secondary education gives a significant importance on research and it is an integral part of studies. Students have ample opportunities to participate in this vibrant aspect of education. Both government and industry together encourage and support research including: medicine, computer technology, environmental science, agriculture and telecommunications. Roughly over 1 billion people every day around the world rely on Canadian innovations and discoveries – including insulin, light bulb, alkaline battery, radio voice transmission, walkie-talkie, electric oven, Java programming language, electron microns, and electric wheelchair among others.
  1. One country, many possibilities: Canadian education is a hallmark of quality which entails collaboration with other students and a great deal of interactions on various subjects with professors. Professors are right there to motivate you to think out of the box all the time. At the same time, they are overly co-operative to help and listen to you during any sorts of academic difficulties. Canada’s highly dynamic and hands-on academic environment will facilitate you to develop critical thinking, knowledge and skills in analysis and communication. Additionally, you will learn how to express yourself, demonstrate your creativity and develop self-confidence!
  1. Excellence in language education: Canada is a bilingual country and is considered as a world leader in language training. Students improve their fluency and capacity for either language as they further their studies.

Got an eccentric and innovative idea? Australia is a place to try your talent

Good news for the talented people who want to try their new ideas in developed economies. Australia introduces one-of-its-kind visa category namely Global Talent Scheme (GTS) from 1st July 2018.

Most developed economies are in pursuit of inviting talented people to bolster innovative ideas which could create employment opportunities for the indigenous population and people from the world. Canada was the first in introducing such kind of visa category a few years back while Australia realizes the importance of the value of talented people who could lead by example in the years to come.

It is certainly a positive move by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the DIBP ensures that they are on the right track to support the Australian Government’s innovation agenda by introducing this visa category.

This will help the Government of Australia to remain connected with the world’s best and brightest human talent, thereby boosting the cutting-edge skills for innovation and startups.

Fast facts of the GTS:

What is the Global Talent Scheme (GTS)?

The GTS is a niche pilot scheme under the TSS visa program. It is a 12-month pilot program effective from 1st July 2018.

This visa category will allow employers to recruit highly-skilled positions that have not been filled by Australian workers or through other visa programs, in particular the short-term and medium-term streams of the TSS visa.

Reference: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/skilledvisas/visas-for-innovation

Don’t be a victim of the marriage fraud

It is not an entirely new sensation to come across the stories of marriage-fraud victims intending to immigrate to various countries; most popular destinations are USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and other European countries.

Some people know about their ineligibility to immigrate to such countries or others might realize hard to navigate the official channels to make their new homes. So, what happens then? There are many scammers who would advise them to marry someone to jump the immigration line.

Those who have craze of settling in these countries, they go to any lengths to fulfill their desires. And more often they get entangled into a vicious circle of deceit, crime and loss of their hard-earned money. At worst, they are banned to enter some countries forever or for some years. I have arranged a video with such stories from the official website of the Government of Canada. Think twice before committing such immigration frauds.

Australia increases Visa Application Charges (VAC)

As expected usually that 1st July always brings some changes and fee increases from the Government of Australia, there is a nominal increase in various types of Australian visa. A legal instrument passed namely Migration Amendment (Visa Application Charges) Regulations 2018 on 21 June 2018. The below Visa Application Charges (VAC) will be effective from 1st July 2018.

Visa Type Current Fee From 1st July 2018
Student $560 $575
General Skilled Migration $3,670 $3,755
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 $1,500 $1,535
Partner $7,000 $7,160
Parent (Contributory) first instalment $330 to $3,770 $340 to $3,855
TSS – STSOL $1,150 $1,175
TSS – MLTSSL $2,400 $2,455
ENS/RSMS $3,670 $3,755
Business Migration $4,875 $4,975
Significant Investor Visa (SIV) $7,150 $7,310


Struggling with finances to study in NZ? Here’s the information about scholarship awards in NZ!

Scholarships to study in New Zealand

Scholarships help students reduce their financial expenses for studying along with a sense of achievement and a sense of endorsement of their achievements. There are a range of scholarships available for international students wishing to study at New Zealand schools. To obtain a scholarship, you need to meet the certain scholarship criteria laid down by the specific New Zealand institution. Criteria may vary from university to university and hence check the individual website of institution. However, certain basic such as mentioned below remain constant for all countries.

  • Area of study
  • Nationality
  • Academic excellence (past and ongoing)
  • Achievement
  • Government’s grant for specific area of studies and nationality
  • Financial need
  • Quality of leadership
  • Essay writing
  • Community involvement or service
  • Gender (certain scholarships are available for male or female)

Here is the list of scholarships available in New Zealand:

  • The University of Waikato
    • University of Waikato International Excellence Scholarship
    • University of Waikato Foundation Studies Scholarship
  • University of Auckland
    • Commonwealth Scholarships
    • Asian Development Bank – Japan Scholarship Programme
  • Auckland University of Technology
    • New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Education New Zealand (Part of New Zealand Government)
    • New Zealand Excellence Award (NZEA)
  • Lincoln University
    • New Zealand Excellence Award (NZEA)
    • Taught Master (180 credits) Academic Scholarships (NZ$10,000)
  • The University of Canterbury
    • Eamon Molloy Memorial Scholarship
    • College of Engineering – scholarship opportunities
    • University of Canterbury Dean’s Award
  • Universal College of Learning (UCOL)
    • New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Massey University
    • CREATIVE Arts International Excellence Scholarship
    • Massey Scholarships
    • Business School International Student Scholarship
  • Southern Institute of Technology
    • John Wright Academic Scholarships
    • John Wright Sports Scholarships
  • Tuia Kia Tipu Award

Why should you study in New Zealand?

  1. World-class education: NZ prides itself on offering a world-class education to students. All eight of New Zealand universities are in the top 3% in the world. They are known for leading the way through academic excellence and personalized learning.
  2. Student safety: According to Global Peace Index, 2017, New Zealand is rated as the second most peaceful country. It is a politically stable and peaceful country with the least rates of corruption compared to the world.
  3. Impeccable lifestyle: New Zealand is blessed as a natural abode. Students find no difficulties in maintaining work/life balance. It is a country worth exploring for all possible natural adventures to soothe away the busy and hustling life pressure.
  4. Teaching method: NZ institutions focus on improving students’ critical thinking. By this teaching approach, they believe in creating the future leaders. Their academic courses are designed to encourage practicality and hands-on learning.
  5. Welcoming community: New Zealanders are welcoming and respectful of others culture. Every city is an epitome of multiculturalism.

Education system in New Zealand

New Zealand education system mirrors the British-based erudition system that is recognized worldwide. This model facilitates the student mobility on choice between institutes of New Zealand and other English-speaking countries during their studies. Both international and domestic students share classrooms together and are encouraged to actively participate to gain learning of various facets in their courses. The internationalization of teaching offers the collaborative learning between both types of students. Universities and colleges are well-equipped with offering competitive degrees on broad fields of study. The Government of New Zealand better understands the value of international education and its positive impact on various dimensions.

Work rights for international students

International students are authorized to work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying or full-time in the holidays, depending upon your visa conditions. They cannot work until they have commenced their course in New Zealand.

Visa Requirements

In order to succeed in your student visa application, you must demonstrate your genuine intent to study, have enough financial support to pay your tuition fees, maintenance expenses and air tariff.

Apart from these basic visa requirements set out by the New Zealand Immigration department, you may also need following documents/evidence:

Offer Letter: Your university/ITP/college will issue an offer letter which depicts your full name, DoB/Passport Number, student ID, name of the course, length, concentration (discipline), title of degree, full-time status, and tuition fees.

Health and medical checks: You will need to have a chest x-ray and/or a medical examination as proof of your good health.

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is mandatory for international students for the entire period of their stay on a student visa.

Guarantee of Stay for Minors (less than 18 years): An undertaking from a person or an institution stating that the student has suitable accommodation arranged in New Zealand.

Proof of Language Proficiency Certificate: The IELTS mark card is one of the prerequisites for New Zealand schools and Immigration Department.

StudyGroup offers scholarships to Indian Students

Selecting which university to attend can be a difficult decision for your students. By offering a variety of scholarship opportunities, Study Group is working towards making that decision easier.

Baylor University: Ranked #75 University in the USA by U.S. News and World Report

  • Campus-funded scholarships are available (for direct entry). All students are automatically considered

City College of New York: #16 Public School – Regional Universities North by U.S. News and World Report, 2018

  • Campus-funded scholarships available to students

James Madison University: #4 Public School – Regional Universities South by U.S. News and World Report, 2018

  • Scholarships available for ISC students through Study Group

Lipscomb University: Ranked #181 National University by U.S. News and World Report

  • Scholarships available for ISC students through Study Group

Oglethorpe University: #33 America’s Most Entrepreneurial Colleges, Forbes, 2015

  • “Special Presidential Scholarships” available to students who confirm prior to 30 June
  • $10,000 Robinson Scholarship (2.5-2.9 GPA)  for Direct Admit or International Year (Fall intake)
  • $14,000 Sheffield Scholarship (3.0-3.4 GPA) for Direct Admit or International Year (Fall intake)
  • $20,000 Weltner Scholarship (3.5-4.0 GPA) for Direct Admit or International Year (Fall intake)
  • Study Group-funded merit-based scholarship of $5,000 to International Year students

Roosevelt University: #3 Campus Ethnic Diversity – Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, 2018

  • Scholarships available for ISC students through Study Group
  • $3,500 scholarship available for International Year students who have graduated from the ISC and are progressing to full-time study at Roosevelt

Royal Roads University: Graded “A” for quality of teaching and learning, Canadian University Report

  • Scholarships based on academic criteria are available for International Year applicants.

University of Vermont: #41 Top Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report, 2018

  • Scholarships available for ISC students through Study Group

West Virginia University: #99 Top Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report, 2018

  • Campus-funded scholarships available to students

Canada streamlines the student visa process for India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduces the new study permit guidelines for students from India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Since April 2009, the ambitious plan called the Student Partners Program (SPP) had been operational in India until three days back. The success of this proactive plan to invite international students, especially from India and China was evident and was all set to invite a great number of students year on year basis. Because of the consistency of this visa policy program, IRCC witnessed a multifold rise in the student number from India and other countries.

With the grand success of SPP, IRCC is making great strides in promoting Canada as a study destination for international students by implementing efficient ways to process study permits. Now, the government has decided to replace the SPP with the Student Direct Stream (SDS). The SDS visa framework is effective from 9th June 2018 in four countries: India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. More importantly, the Government of Canada is working on expanding this SDS program to Africa and contemplating adding Kenya and Senegal. Senegal seems to be getting priority because it has a rich French colonial heritage. Recently, we have seen the government is keen on inviting international students and intended immigrants who are proficient in French language to meet the acute needs of the French speaking manpower in certain industries and in various pockets of the country. Senegal fits into this story!

All these four countries and probably along with the new entrants i.e. Africa, Kenya and Senegal would be aligned together into one program to ensure the operational smoothness and consistency.

What all new changes have been introduced in the SDS program? Let’s study the existing policies versus the previous ones:



Tuition payment for the first year of study at a designated community college in Canada Tuition payment for the first semester of study at a designated community college in Canada
No CHANGE Purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
A qualifying score of at least 6 in IELTS, with no less than 6.0 band in any module* A qualifying score of at least 6 band overall in IELTS, with no less than 5.5 band in any module

* The Government website doesn’t clarify the score of individual module, but the country-specific-checklist does.

All these new changes have now become a reality. What ramifications could we expect from these new changes in the context of Indian students wishing to study in Canada?

  • The upfront tuition payment for the first year: To date, parents/sponsors have been paying the one semester tuition fees before the final application for a study permit was lodged. For example, if we take the average of annual tuition fee of any community college on the upper side it comes to around CAD$ 14,000 (₹ 756,000). The Indian students paid around CAD$ 7,000 (₹ 378,000) for being the first semester tuition fees plus CAD$ 10,000 for purchase of a GIC. This totaled to CAD$17,000 (₹ 918,000). With this new SDS program, the upfront tuition payment doubles to CAD$ 14,000. It means students would be making the payment of CAD$ 24,000 (CAD$14,000 + CAD$ 10,000). So, the total expense comes to around ₹ 1,296,000 against INR 918,000, an increase by ₹ 378,000.

Students whose parents are struggling with finances take a hit with this new change. Unequivocally, this new policy is better for the Government of Canada but may not bring happiness for some Indian students. Further, looking at the hawkish stance of the RBI in India it seems that the interest rate would go up whereby the educational bank loan would also become expensive in the months to come. In a nutshell, with this SDS program parents would have a double whammy of loan interest increases and the burden of additional payment of one semester tuition fee.

  • A qualifying score of IELTS: As I do not have the official statistics about the median individual score of IELTS of the Indian students, I am presenting my assumptions.

If we were to believe that students wishing to study in Canada needed minimum 6.0 band in each module of the IELTS test, there would certainly be a massive amount of frustration among students. Over the decades, we have seen students slide by 0.5 band score at least in one of the individual modules, especially either in Writing section or Reading section.  Some students may manage to keep their nerve and win over this difficulty, but NOT all for sure. Consequently, students really need to prepare well for the IELTS test or they may face desperation and loss of the hard-earned money after paying for the test repeatedly.

Any new change either brings the luck or puts someone down: One man’s nightmare is another man’s dream. Ergo, some students will be caught in the crossfire of a silent scream.

Who will be reaping the harvest of SDS?

It goes without saying that British Council and IDP would be the greatest beneficiaries of this new change of the test score revision. Their numbers are already on the rise, and they could witness another 20% to 25% growth for Academic IELTS in the Indian market.