Canada vs Australia: Which is Better for Indian Students in 2023?

Choosing Australia vs Canada holds considerable importance as both nations actively compete to attract Indian students in search of top-tier education and rich cultural immersion.

In 2022, Canada reached an immigration milestone by hosting a record-breaking 551,405 international students from 184 different countries. Among this diverse cohort, India played a significant role, with 226,450 Indian students choosing Canada as their preferred destination for higher education.

According to the Department of Education in Australia, Indian students play a substantial role in the overall growth of international students. They constitute a significant portion, with their population reaching 71,723 in YTD January 2023. This establishes India as the second-largest source country for international students in Australia, trailing only behind China.

It’s evident that both Canada and Australia have become highly sought-after destinations for international students, particularly from India. Let’s delve deeper into the details to determine which of these two countries might offer the best choice for aspiring students.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying in each country?

Australia and Canada consistently emerge as top choices for international students. However, beneath the surface, both nations present unique advantages and disadvantages that can significantly impact a student’s academic journey.

Crucial considerations such as cost of living, work opportunities, visa application process, and even climate play an important role in helping you make a decision. Let’s navigate the nuances of studying in Australia and Canada and make an informed choice.

Here’s a look at the key differences.

Australia Canada Your choice depends on
Quality of
  • Known for its high-quality education,
  • Consistently ranks among the world’s top destinations for academic excellence and innovative learning experiences.
  • Australia has six universities ranking among the world’s top 100 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020
  • Ranked among the top destinations for education
  • Known for its high-quality academic programmes and research opportunities.
  • Ranks third globally for published scientific research.
  • Your career aspirations should be the primary determinant – since both countries offer reputable institutions and courses.
  • Weather. Parts of Canada can get very cold – you need to be prepared to be in that weather.
  • Australia provides modular course options and flexible study schedules, meeting the diverse needs of higher education students.
  • Students can choose courses that align with their interests, passions and long-term career objectives.
  • Canada allows students to customize their curriculum, and options for part-time and full-time study
  • Canadian universities offer flexibility in course selection
  • Students can tailor their programs to their interests and goals.
  • Both countries provide flexible options to students.
  • Bachelor’s degrees: 3 to 4 years
  • Master’s degrees: 1-2 years
  • PhD programmes: 3 years and 9 months.
  • Bachelor’s degrees: 3 to 4 years
  • Master’s degrees: 1-2 years
  • PhD programnes: 3 to 6 years.
  • Postgraduate courses are shorter than in many other countries.
Choice can depend on how fast you want to get into the workforce.

  • Both Canada and Australia have a similar duration for graduate and postgraduate courses, however, Australia’s PhD programmes are shorter.
Average Tuition
Average annual tuition fees for international students vary by level of study:

  • Undergraduate degrees: AU$20,000 to AU$45,000 (US$30,769)
  • Postgraduate degrees: AU$22,000  (US$15,045) to AU$50,000 (US$34,192). 
  • Doctoral degrees: AU$20,000 (US$13,675) to AU$42,000 (US$28,721)
Tuition fees vary based on programs and institutions

  • Undergraduate degrees: CAD $36,100 (US $26,817.28)
  • Postgraduate degrees: CAD $21,100 (US $15,582)
  • Doctoral degrees:
    CAD $6,000 to $20,000 annually (US $ 14,721). 
Canada’s cost of education is cheaper making it more affordable for international students.
Work Regulation
  • International students can work part-time – 40 hours every two weeks during studies, and unlimited hours during holidays.
  • International graduates had a 43.0% full-time employment rate in 2021, compared to 68.9% for domestic graduates.
  • International students in Canada can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and fulltime during scheduled breaks.
  • The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) enables up to three years of post-graduate work.
  • Canada’s PGWP allows international students to work for 3 years and can help them get on a path to residency (subject to terms)
Campus Life Campus Life in Australia is great

  • Nearly 90% of international students in Australia reported high satisfaction in living and studying there
  • 7 Australian cities ranked in the top 100 student cities globally
Canada offers diverse and inclusive campus environments, hosting students from around the world

  •  Ranked third for quality of life
  • Has over 250 ethnic origins, 200 languages, and 70 Indigenous languages which fosters student belonging.
  • Widespread use of both French and English across the country facilitates communication.
Both countries have a multicultural and welcoming campus life.
Cost of
  • AUD  $21,810.25 (US $14,000) on average per year. 
  • Moderate compared to other study destinations,
  • CAD $15 260,38 (US $11,220) per year on average per year
  • Canada’s affordable cost a living is an important factor to consider.
  • According to the World Population Review, Australia ranks 74 in the crime rate index.
  • According to the World  Population Review, Canada ranks 80th in the crime rate index.
  • Canada is safer as compared to Australia
  • Has a lower crime rate (according to the World Population Review)
  • Australia’s climate. is characterized by diverse extremes
  • Ranges from scorching summer temperatures of up to 35°C to winter Lows that can plummet to -25°C in some regions
  • Canada experiences varying climates with colder winters in some regions.
  • The weather can be changing for those unaccustomed to colder temperatures.
  • The diverse climate in Australia with its extreme variations and Canada’s range from temperate to subarctic conditions can pose notable challenges for international students. especially, those from warmer climates.

Canada – in detail

For prospective international students, Canada stands out by offering a well-rounded experience. The country’s streamlined immigration procedures, student-friendly policies, strong job opportunities and prospects, and vibrant multicultural environment collectively enhance its reputation as a sought-after hub for world-class education.

In 2022, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship made a significant move by temporarily lifting the 20-hour-per-week work restriction for post-secondary students, opening up more opportunities for financial support. Canada’s commitment to welcoming immigrants, at a rate of 1% of its population, underscores its inclusive ethos.

Yet, aspiring students must navigate certain considerations. The choice of the city significantly impacts the cost of living; while metropolises like Toronto and Vancouver offer vibrant lifestyles, they come with higher expenses, necessitating prudent financial planning.

Moreover, Canada’s vast geography results in diverse climates. From scorching summer temperatures of 35°C to winter lows of -25°C, adapting to these fluctuations, especially for those from warmer climates, can pose a notable challenge during the academic journey.

When it comes to the cost of studying, fees vary based on programmes and Canadian universities chosen. Statistics Canada 2023 reports:

  • Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree:  Typically has an average fee of CAD $36,100 (US $26,817.28)
  • Postgraduate degree: Generally has an average fee of at least CAD $21,100 (US $15 582) for graduate programmes for international students.

Considering the overall annual living expenses, averaging around CAD $15,000 (US $11220.60), is crucial for effective budgeting while pursuing education in Canada (Universities Canada, 2019). Prospective students should meticulously weigh these factors to ensure a successful and fulfilling academic venture in the country.

Australia – in detail

Australia offers several distinct advantages for international students. The country boasts six top universities ranking among the world’s top 100 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, including esteemed institutions such as the University of Melbourne, Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, and Monash University.

Its extensive network of international alumni, totalling over 2.5 million individuals, is making a significant global impact across various fields. The country has also proudly produced 16 Nobel laureates, exemplifying the potential for academic excellence and innovation.

As per Study Australia, the official government portal for international students, the average annual tuition fees for international students are as follows:

  • Undergraduate bachelor’s degree: Approximately AU$20,000 (US$13,675) to AU$45,000 (US$30,769).
  • Postgraduate master’s degree: Typically ranging from AU$22,000 (US$15,045) to AU$50,000 (US$34,192).
  • Doctoral degree: Generally falling between AU$20,000 (US$13,675) and AU$42,000 (US$28,721).

While Australia offers numerous advantages for international students, it’s important to consider some potential disadvantages. Australia’s cost of living, particularly in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, can be considerably high, posing a financial challenge for many students.

Unfortunately, Australia is one of the most expensive study destinations, requiring students to budget approximately AU$ 21,041 (~US$14,400) annually for living expenses, as mandated by the country’s student visa requirements.

Strict visa regulations, including limited work hours during study, can also restrict students’ ability to financially support themselves while studying. The country’s stringent health insurance requirements can add to the overall financial burden. These disadvantages, while not insurmountable, require careful planning and consideration when choosing Australia as a study destination.

Winner: Canada

Canada presents itself as a compelling choice for international students seeking a study abroad destination that balances education and lifestyle advantages. While both nations excel in academia, Canada’s more affordable living costs and milder climate make it an attractive option for students looking to achieve academic excellence without compromising their financial stability or comfort.

How is campus life in each country?

Discovering campus life in Australia and Canada provides a captivating glimpse into the dynamic university experiences offered by these two nations. From bustling multicultural hubs to serene natural landscapes, each country’s campuses create distinctive environments for students to thrive academically and culturally.


Driven by its unwavering commitment to excellence, Canada is one of the top-ranked study-abroad destinations in the world. Ranked third globally for the best quality of life (U.S. News & World Report, 2022), Canada promises an enriching student journey.

With an impressive array of over 8,000 colleges and 16,000 university programmes to choose from (Universities Canada, 2022), international students can tailor their educational path to their aspirations.

Canada proudly hosts seven institutions within the global top 200 universities in regions like Quebec, and Montreal among others (Times Higher Education, 2023), a testament to its commitment to delivering world-class education.

With more than 250 ethnic origins, over 200 languages from around the world, and 70 Indigenous languages shaping its cultural mosaic (Statistics Canada, 2017), Canada fosters a sense of belonging for every student. Both French and English are widely spoken throughout the country leading to ease of communication.

Additionally, tuition fees in Canada remain competitive, often proving more economical than those in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., as per QS World University Rankings 2022.

According to the World Population Review, Canada ranks 80th in the crime rate index. Canada’s campus life beckons with the promise of quality education, inclusivity, affordability, and a gateway to a promising future.

All of this unfolds amidst the backdrop of diverse cultural experiences and the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian landscape, making it an enticing destination for international students.


Australia offers a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for international students, making it an attractive destination for those seeking an enriching educational experience. Australians are renowned for their friendliness and open-mindedness and for creating a welcoming atmosphere.

International students express high satisfaction, with almost 90% reporting contentment in both living and studying in Australia, as per the 2018 Department of Education International Student Survey. Australia’s cities are not only vibrant but also incredibly student-friendly, with seven of them featured in the world’s top 100 student cities, according to QS Best Student  Cities 2019.

Safety is a top priority in Australia, as its cities and public spaces offer a sense of security and freedom that sets it apart. The nation consistently maintains some of the lowest crime rates globally, ensuring a safe environment for students, whether in urban centres, towns, or regional areas. According to the World Population Review, Australia ranks 74 in the crime rate index.

Studying in Australia means joining a diverse community of students from around the world, fostering the opportunity to build friendships and explore exciting prospects. Collaboration is a fundamental aspect of the educational experience, where students work closely with peers, researchers, instructors, and other faculties. Hands-on industry exposure through placements and internships enhances career prospects and postgraduate opportunities.

Specialized services assist students in adapting to Australian life, including language and academic support, dedicated international student advisers, orientation programmes, childcare support, mental health and counselling services, accommodation assistance, employment support, and provisions for prayer and worship.

Student associations play a crucial role in representing and supporting the needs of students. Notable organizations include the Council of International Students Australia (CISA), which caters to a diverse range of students, including those in undergraduate, postgraduate, private college, TAFE, ELICOS, and foundation courses.

The Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) helps students maximize their Australian living and learning experience.
With a commitment to high-quality education and student well-being, Australia stands as a top choice for international students seeking a fulfilling educational journey.

Winner: Canada

Canada emerges as a premier study-abroad destination, offering a blend of academic excellence, inclusivity, and affordability. With a vast selection of educational programmes and seven institutions ranking among the top 200 globally, Canada ensures tailored academic paths for international students.
Moreover, competitive tuition fees, a lower crime rate index, and an exceptional quality of life, as recognized by the U.S. News & World Report, make Canada an enticing choice.

What are the career opportunities in Canada vs Australia?

Exploring career opportunities in Canada versus Australia opens a world of possibilities for international students and aspiring professionals alike. Let’s understand the distinct advantages and prospects that each country offers to help individuals make informed decisions about their career paths.


International students with a Canadian student visa are eligible to work while studying at a designated learning institution (DLI) for post-secondary education if their course lasts for more than six months and leads to a professional certification.

During the academic term, they can work up to 20 hours per week, while during scheduled breaks or summer vacations, full-time employment is permitted as long as they intend to resume full-time studies. It’s crucial to note that employment eligibility begins once the programme of study commences. Across all Canadian provinces, a minimum wage is set, typically ranging between $13 and $16 per hour.

After graduation, international students can qualify for full-time employment as skilled workers in Canada by obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for up to three years according to Canadian immigration rules. The PGWP is a valuable opportunity for international graduates to gain work experience, an essential factor for those seeking to migrate permanently.

It allows them to accumulate this experience while becoming part of local communities and contributing to Canada’s economy.

To work in Canada, individuals must acquire a Social Insurance Number (SIN), a unique nine-digit identifier issued by Service Canada along with a valid work visa. The SIN is crucial for tracking employment history, ensuring proper income tax payments, and monitoring worked hours.


The Study Australia Industry Experience Program (SAIEP) is designed to enhance post-study employment prospects for current international students in Australia, whether they are studying on-campus, in their home country, or online. It consists of co-curricular and online activities spanning 25 hours over two weeks, involving students from various Australian institutions.

For international students in Australia, the option to work part-time while studying is available, allowing them to earn extra income and immerse themselves in the local culture. Key details to note include:

  • Work Hours: International students can work up to 40 hours every two weeks during their studies and have the flexibility to work unlimited hours during holiday breaks.
  • Workplace Protections: International student workers in Australia enjoy the same workplace protections as any other employee.
  • Minimum Wage: A minimum pay rate per hour of AUD 23.23 per hour,is guaranteed, regardless of the type of job.
  • Support: Comprehensive support is readily accessible for student workers, with assistance available from government entities, private organizations, and educational institutions throughout their employment journey.

However, it is important to note that in 2021, the full-time employment rate for international graduates holding an undergraduate degree stood at 43.0%, significantly lower than the rate of 68.9% recorded for domestic graduates.

Winner: Canada

Canada offers a superior edge for international students seeking career opportunities compared to Australia. In Canada, students can work up to 20 hours per week during academic terms, with the option for full-time employment during breaks.

While the work options during study are more flexible in Australia, Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) opens doors to three years of work experience, a vital step towards permanent residency. Canada’s PGWP, strong job market, and structured work hours provide a clear advantage for those aspiring to build a successful career abroad.

Cost of living: Which country is better?

Both countries offer unique attractions, robust educational systems, and diverse cultural experiences, but the expenses associated with day-to-day life can significantly impact one’s overall experience. Let’s explore which country is more suitable to international students.


Navigating the cost of living in Canada depends on various factors, including your lifestyle choices and the city you choose for your residence. To assist in your financial planning, here’s a breakdown of essential living expenses:
Housing and Accommodation (Monthly Average):

  • Rent for private housing off campus: $500 – $2,000

Food and Groceries (Monthly Average):

  • Expenses for groceries and cooking: $240 – $480
  • On-campus residents can opt for a meal plan, granting access to their institution’s cafeteria for all meals. This will be an additional cost.

Utilities and Services (Monthly Average):

  • Utilities and cable: $100+
  • Internet: $50 – $100
  • Phone: $60+

Health Insurance (Monthly Average):

  • Monthly health insurance expenses: $75 – $120
  • Healthcare system coverage varies by province or territory in Canada; international students must confirm the availability of coverage.
  • In provinces without international student coverage, schools often offer medical insurance plans for purchase. Tuition fees for full-time students may include insurance covering dental, vision, prescription drugs, and other health services.

Entertainment and Leisure (Monthly Average):

  • Entertainment expenses: $120+

Transportation (Monthly Average):

  • Transportation pass cost: $80 – $156

Please note that these figures are general estimates, and your actual expenses may differ depending on your personal choices, location, and individual circumstances.


The cost of living in Australia for students is a critical consideration for those aspiring to study in this vibrant country. From accommodation and daily expenses to entertainment and leisure activities, understanding the financial aspects of student life is essential for a successful academic journey.
Living Costs in Australia (Annual Average):

  • Students or Guardians: $21,041
  • Dependents (Partners): $7,362
  • Dependents (Children): $3,152

Accommodation Costs in Australia (Weekly Average):

  • Hostel: $90 – $150
  • Shared Flat: $95 – $215
  • Rented Flat: $185 – $440
  • Campus Accommodation: $110 – $280

Monthly Rent in Australia (Average)

  • 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Centre: $1,665
  • 1-Bedroom Apartment in Suburbs: $1,276

Additional Living Costs in Australia (Weekly):

  • Groceries/Eating Out: $140 – $280
  • Gas/Electricity: $10 – $20
  • Public Transport: $30 – $60
  • Monthly Ticket Public Transport: $147
  • Phone/Internet: $15 – $30
  • Other Activities: $80 – $150

Winner: Tie

Canada and Australia offer distinct advantages and considerations for international students. In Canada, the cost of living varies but generally ranges from $850 to $1,800 per month, with affordable health insurance and diverse entertainment options. Australia, on the other hand, presents a slightly higher living cost, averaging around $1,700 to $2,400 per month, with additional expenses for dependents.

While Australia provides an inclusive environment and top-quality education, Canada stands out for its cost-effective living and varied student experiences. The choice ultimately hinges on personal preferences, financial planning, and academic goals.

Courses and study duration

When considering studying in Australia or Canada, it’s crucial to weigh the courses and study duration. Let’s understand the different courses and study duration in both countries.


A recent report on university majors in Canada highlights psychology and computer science as the most popular choices among students. The study examined global trends in university degree preferences, analyzing data from 181 programmes. In Canada, psychology, computer science, and business emerged as the top picks among students.
Canada’s graduate and postgraduate programmes are known for their efficiency and alignment with students’ career goals. Master’s programmes typically last one to two years, allowing for rapid acquisition of advanced knowledge and skills.

PhD programmes, on the other hand, are designed to be completed in three to six years, emphasizing in-depth research and expertise development. This approach ensures a comprehensive education while accommodating students’ desires for a timely and rewarding academic journey.


Australia’s higher education system consistently ranks 8th globally in the Universitas 2019 U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems, surpassing several prominent nations. With over 22,000 courses across 1,100 institutions, the diversity of educational offerings is vast.

Master’s degree programmes typically require 1-2 years for completion. The standard duration is two years following the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, but if a student holds an honours bachelor’s degree, they may complete a master’s degree in just one year.

A PhD programme, when pursued full-time, is ideally scheduled to last at least 3 years and 3 months. However, the average completion time for a full-time PhD tends to be around 3 years and 9 months, with some individuals taking up to 4 years to complete their doctoral studies.

The Australian Government has demonstrated its commitment to international education by investing over A$300 million in scholarships and support. In 2019 alone, more than 3,000 Australia Awards scholarships and short courses were provided to international students.

Winner: Tie

Canada’s programmes are characterized by their efficiency, with psychology, computer science, and business standing out as top choices among students. Master’s programmes typically last 1-2 years,, while PhD programmes offer in-depth research over 3-6 years.

In contrast, Australia boasts a diverse higher education system, ranking 8th globally. Master’s degrees typically take 1-2 years, with the option of 1-year duration for honours graduates. A full-time PhD lasts around 3 years and 9 months, with government scholarships and top-ranking universities enhancing its appeal.
Both countries require international candidates to demonstrate English language proficiency through test scores from PTE, TOEFL, IELTS etc.
Overall,  they are on equal footing when it comes to course diversity and study duration


For Indian students, Canada can be an appealing choice for several reasons. It consistently ranks high in terms of quality of life, offers diverse job prospects, and boasts a multicultural environment.

Canada’s commitment to welcoming immigrants and offering post-study work opportunities makes it particularly attractive. With competitive tuition fees and a safe atmosphere, it provides a conducive environment for Indian students to pursue their education and build a promising career.

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