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

The decision between ‘UK vs Canada’ poses a significant dilemma for students aspiring to pursue higher education. Over the past year, Canada and the United Kingdom have stood out as premier study destinations, each offering distinct advantages and opportunities.

According to recent statistics, Canada has seen an impressive influx of 2,26,450 Indian students, solidifying its position as the top choice for education in North America.

The United Kingdom is also one of the top international study destinations welcoming nearly 140,000 Indian students. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that in the year 2022, Indian nationals were recipients of nearly 25% of all granted visas, securing the top spot among all nationalities.

Should you embark on an academic journey in the charming landscapes of the UK or in the diverse cultural tapestry of Canada?

While most students look at differences between Canada and the US, we look at Canada versus the UK here…

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

Each country presents distinct benefits, such as the UK’s renowned academic heritage and its diverse cultural landscape, while Canada excels with its affordability and welcoming atmosphere.

On the flip side, challenges such as higher living costs in the UK or weather adaptation in Canada should also be evaluated. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both study-abroad destinations.

UK Canada Your  choice depends on
The quality of education
  • Globally recognized for its academic excellence, with several universities consistently ranking among the top institutions worldwide
  • Ranked among the top destinations for education,
  • Renowned for its for high-quality academic programmes and research opportunities.
  • Ranks third globally for published scientific research.
  • Both countries have institutions and courses of repute.
  • Your career aspirations should be the sole factor when choosing between the UK and Canada
  • UK universities offer diverse course options, allowing students to customize their studies based on their interests and career aspirations.
  • Canadian universities offer flexibility in course selection, allowing students to tailor their programs to their interests and goals.
  • Both countries provide flexible options to students.
  • UK universities offer one-year master’s programmes and shorter PhDs providing an efficient path to completing higher education.
  • Postgraduate courses in Canada are shorter than in many other countries, providing quicker entry into the workforce.
  • The shorter duration of courses in the UK is advantageous for students who are looking to embark on their careers in a short span.
Average Tuition Fees
  • Tuition fees vary based on courses and institutions, with an average of £17,109 per year for international students.
  • Tuition fees vary based on programs and institutions, with an average of around $36,100 for undergraduate and $21,100 for graduate programs for international students.
  • Canada’s cost of education is cheaper making it more affordable for international students.
Work Regulations
  • International students can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays.
  • The Graduate Route allows international graduates to work for up to two years for postgraduate students.
  • International students in Canada can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during scheduled breaks.
  • The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows graduates to work for up to three years.
  • Canada’s PGWP allows international students to work for 3 years and helps them get on a path to citizenship.
Campus Life
  • UK universities offer a vibrant campus life with various clubs, societies, and events that enrich the student experience.
  • Canada offers diverse and inclusive campus environments, hosting students from around the world and providing numerous extracurricular activities.
  • Both countries have a multicultural and welcoming campus life.
Cost of Living
  • The UK has a relatively higher cost of living, especially in major cities like London, requiring careful budgeting.
  • The cost of living is moderate compared to other study destinations, averaging around $15,000 per year for university students
  • Canada’s affordable cost of living isan important factor to consider.
  • The US News 2021 Best Countries Report gave the UK a score of 55.4 which is lower than Canada.
  • The U.S. News 2021 Best Countries Report gave Canada a score of 96.7 out of 100 for safety.
  • Canada is safer as compared to the UK and has a lower crime rate
  • The UK experiences milder climates, but weather can be unpredictable and vary between regions.
  • Canada experiences varying climates, with colder winters in some regions. The weather can be challenging for those unaccustomed to colder temperatures.
  • UK’s climate will be more conducign to international students.


The historical and cultural connections between India and the UK alongside the substantial Indian diaspora residing within the UK, often translate to a strong community that welcomes Indian students.

UK master’s programmes usually last for just one year, making them a cost-effective choice, and around 70% of Indian students studying in the UK opt for postgraduate studies in renowned colleges like Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, among others.

However, the high cost of living, particularly in major cities like London, poses a financial challenge. Tuition fees for certain programmes can be exorbitant. PG course fees for international students can range from £9,000 and £30,000, with an approximate average of £17,109 per year according to the British Council.

Proving English language proficiency through exams like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc can be both challenging and expensive for some students. Moreover, gaining admission to UK universities is highly competitive due to limited spots for international students, necessitating high academic achievement, letters of recommendation, and above-average scores across the board along with a statement of purpose.


Canada’s streamlined immigration procedures, accommodating policies for students, employability prospects, and diverse cultural milieu collectively contribute to its stature as a sought-after hub for acquiring top-notch education and forging robust career paths. Its top colleges like the University of British Columbia, and the University of Toronto amongst others are also a major draw for international students.

In 2022, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, announced the temporary removal of the 20-hour-per-week restriction on off-campus work hours for post-secondary students. The government has decided to welcome immigrants at a rate of 1% of Canada’s population.

One significant factor influencing the overall cost of living for international students is the city they opt to reside in. While metropolises like Toronto and Vancouver boast vibrant lifestyles, they also come with high expenses, making budgeting a crucial consideration.

Another aspect to contend with is Canada’s vast geographical expanse, resulting in diverse climatic conditions. The local weather can vary significantly based on the region, with average summer temperatures of 35°C and winter temperatures plummeting to -25°C. For students hailing from warmer climates, adapting to the harsh Canadian winters might prove to be a notable challenge during their academic journey.

The tuition fees for universities in Canada are subject to variation based on the specific programme and institution of choice. According to Statistics Canada 2023, on average,  the tuition fee for international students is $36,100 for bachelor’s degrees and $21,100 for graduate programmes.

On average, the annual living expenses for university students in Canada amount to around $15,000 (Universities Canada, 2019). It’s important for students planning to study in Canada to factor in both costs of studying and living costs to effectively budget for their educational journey in the country.

Winner: Tie

When comparing the advantages and disadvantages of studying in the UK and Canada, it’s apparent that both countries offer compelling opportunities as well as certain challenges. The UK’s rich cultural ties and one-year master’s programmes attract Indian students, but the high cost of living and competitive admissions as well as test scores like GRE and GMAT that are required to secure a spot in universities stand as drawbacks.

Conversely, Canada’s welcoming environment and post-graduation work permit provide strong incentives, yet the cost of living varies across cities and adapting to the diverse climate might pose a challenge.

The education system in both countries is excellent, but financial considerations and lifestyle adjustments play pivotal roles in determining which destination aligns better with an individual’s goals and circumstances.

How is campus life in each country?

Campus life in both the UK and Canada offers unique experiences for international students. Both countries offer a balance between academic rigour and extracurricular activities, ensuring a well-rounded and memorable university experience for international students. Let’s gain an in-depth understanding of campus life in both countries.

The UK

The richness of UK universities is embodied by their diverse academic staff composition, with 20% originating from abroad. This inclusivity ensures that students, regardless of their chosen field of study, connect with individuals from across the globe, creating an environment that resonates with their international backgrounds.

A pivotal facet of the UK’s educational landscape is its comprehensive pastoral care system. Tailored specifically to the unique needs of international students, these services provide a warm welcome upon arrival, assist in student visa applications, offer language support throughout studies, and guide students through the intricacies of planning their academic journeys.

International offices at top universities serve as a pre-travel resource for guidance on immigration, travel, and accommodation, and continue to provide assistance upon arrival. Institutions also offer robust student well-being services encompassing helplines, counselling sessions, and peer support networks.

Academic tutors, typically assigned at the commencement of each academic year, address any academic-related stressors students may encounter. University-owned halls of residence often feature dedicated support teams that contribute to the welfare of students living on campus.

The presence of student unions further reinforces the support network. These student-run organizations advocate for students’ interests, offer guidance, arrange extracurricular activities, and create a vibrant sense of community. With these comprehensive structures in place, international students in the UK find themselves in an environment that caters to their diverse needs, enabling them to not only excel academically but also experience personal growth and cultural immersion.


Canada’s commitment to excellence is evident through its global ranking of third place for the best quality of life (U.S. News & World Report, 2022), promising a well-rounded and fulfilling student journey. The country’s educational landscape is marked by flexibility and top-notch quality, spanning from elementary to post-secondary studies.

With over 8,000 colleges and 16,000 university programmes to choose from (Universities Canada, 2022; CICan, 2022), international students can tailor their educational path to their aspirations. An impressive 7 Canadian institutions hold positions within the top 200 universities globally (Times Higher Education, 2023), underscoring Canada’s dedication to delivering education of the highest calibre.

One of Canada’s most celebrated attributes is its welcoming and inclusive environment, where more than 250 ethnic origins, 200 languages from around the world, and 70 Indigenous languages create a rich tapestry of diversity (Statistics Canada, 2017). This cultural mosaic extends to communities and classrooms alike, fostering a sense of belonging for every student.

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

Canada’s campus life beckons with a promise of quality education, inclusivity, affordability, and a gateway to a bright future, all set against the backdrop of diverse cultural experiences and the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian landscape.

Winner: Canada

Canada offers a campus life that’s distinctively vibrant and inclusive, often considered to be an advantage over the UK. The emphasis on community engagement and student well-being creates a strong sense of belonging. Moreover, Canada’s relatively lower population density allows for more personalized interactions between students and faculty. This nurturing environment, coupled with multicultural experiences and a range of student clubs and activities, makes Canada an appealing choice for those seeking a holistic and enriching campus life.

What are the career opportunities in the UK vs Canada?

Exploring the career opportunities in the UK and Canada opens a window into the dynamic professional landscapes of these two nations. Both countries offer diverse and promising avenues for international students and graduates to launch their careers.

The UK

In the UK, a significant number of international students seamlessly integrate part-time jobs, work placements, or internships into their academic routines. This integration is facilitated by the flexibility of most courses, which permit students to engage in up to 20 hours of work per week during term time, irrespective of whether it occurs on or off-campus.

For Indian students, the UK government offers the Graduate Route. Those who have successfully completed their undergraduate or master’s degrees can extend their stay in the UK for up to two years post-studies, while PhD graduates can leverage this avenue for an extension of up to three years.

The unique aspect of the Graduate Route lies in its unsponsored nature, enabling graduates to explore job opportunities across various skill levels. Importantly, the application process occurs while residing in the UK and involves an application fee of £715. Additionally, a healthcare surcharge of £624 per year spent in the UK is required.

The absence of a mandatory minimum salary requirement and the absence of a cap on the number of students who can seize this opportunity is the key feature of this UK student visa.

Upon securing suitable employment within the UK, graduates can transition to a skilled work route, allowing them to extend their stay beyond the initial two or three years.


International candidates with a Canadian student visa can pursue employment while pursuing their education at a designated learning institution (DLI) for post-secondary studies provided the course is for more than six months and leads to a professional certification.

During the academic term, international students can pursue employment opportunities for up to 20 hours weekly, while during scheduled academic breaks or over summer vacations, they can engage in full-time work, provided they intend to resume full-time studies.

It’s imperative for international students to note that they become eligible for employment only once their programme of study has commenced. Across all Canadian provinces, a predetermined minimum wage is in place, and international students can anticipate earning this as their per-hour baseline, typically ranging between $13 and $16.

After graduating the eligibility criteria for working full-time in Canada can be achieved by obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for three years.
The PGWP serves as a valuable avenue for international students to accumulate additional work experience, a pivotal factor for those aspiring to transition into permanent residency. The PGWP offers international graduates the opportunity to cultivate this experience while integrating into local communities and contributing to the nation’s economy.

To engage in work, individuals must secure a Social Insurance Number (SIN), a unique nine-digit identifier issued by Service Canada. This number facilitates the government’s tracking of employment history and proper income tax payments, as well as the monitoring of worked hours.

Winner: Canada

Canada emerges as a favourable destination for Indian students seeking international work opportunities due to its advantageous Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) policy. Offering a three-year duration, the PGWP provides graduate skilled workers ample time to gain valuable work experience and enhance their career prospects.

In contrast, the UK’s two-year post-study work visa is comparatively shorter. This extended work permit in Canada enables Indian students to immerse themselves in the professional sphere, acquire specialized skills, and potentially transition to permanent residency, making it an appealing choice.

Cost of living: which country is better?

When comparing the cost of living for students, the UK and Canada present distinct scenarios. Both nations provide unique financial landscapes, allowing students to tailor their budgets to their individual needs. Let’s break down the cost of living for both countries.

The UK

The National Union of Students (NUS) 2022 found that 57% of international students encountered an increase in their weekly living expenses by more than £20. Furthermore, a quarter of students disclosed having less than £50 remaining from their monthly budget after covering rent and bills.

According to the British Council, international students arriving in the UK without dependents can anticipate monthly living costs of approximately £1300-£1400 in London or £900-£1300 in other parts of the UK.

This budget encompasses accommodation, utility bills, groceries, and various other everyday expenses throughout their academic tenure.
The average living cost estimates to assist you in budgeting for your educational journey are as follows:

Student Halls (Bills Included)

– London: £848
– Rest of UK: £664
– Note: These figures pertain to non-catered single-occupancy student halls. Catered student halls may incur higher costs.

Room in Private Accommodation (Without Bills)

– London: £750
– Rest of UK: £554

Household Bills (Gas, Electricity, Water, Broadband, and TV License)

– London: £140
– Rest of UK: £80


– London: £155
– Rest of UK: £116

Socialising (Dining Out, Cafés, Bars)

– London: £150
– Rest of UK: £80

Public Transport

– London: £103
– Rest of UK: £54

Mobile Phone Bill

– London and Rest of UK: £18


Navigating the cost of living in Canada is contingent upon a student’s lifestyle choices and the city you select as your residence. Here’s a breakdown of essential living expenses to help you plan accordingly:

Housing and Accommodation

– Monthly rent for private housing off campus: $500 – $2,000

Food and Groceries

– Monthly 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.

Utilities and Services

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

Health Insurance

– Monthly health insurance expenses: $75 – $120
– Each province and territory in Canada provides healthcare to its residents. International students need to ascertain whether their province or territory offers health insurance coverage.
– For provinces without international student coverage, schools typically offer medical insurance plans for purchase. Tuition fees for full-time students often include insurance encompassing dental, vision, prescription drugs, and other health services.

Entertainment and Leisure

– Monthly entertainment expenses: $120+


– Monthly transportation pass cost: $80 – $156.
Keep in mind that these figures serve as general estimates, and your actual expenses may vary based on personal choices, location, and circumstances.

Winner: Canada

Canada stands out as a favourable choice for students due to its more affordable cost of living compared to the UK. With lower housing expenses, accessible work opportunities, and reasonable price ranges for daily essentials, Canada offers students a chance to manage their budgets more effectively.

This advantage allows students to strike a balance between their academic pursuits and financial well-being, making Canada an attractive destination for those seeking quality education without excessive financial burden.

Courses and study duration

In the global landscape of higher education, a comparative analysis of courses and study durations between Canada and the UK unveils a multitude of factors shaping students’ academic journeys. From programme structures to degree durations, these two nations present unique approaches that cater to a diverse range of learning preferences.

The UK

In the UK, courses are structured with an inherent flexibility that allows students to tailor their educational journey to their preferences. Many best universities offer a selection of subject-specific ‘modules’, granting students the autonomy to create a customized course programme that aligns seamlessly with their individual aspirations.

Postgraduate courses in the UK are notably concise. A considerable number of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, for instance, span a mere year, allowing students to make the most of their educational investment and swiftly apply their newfound knowledge in practical settings.

Within the UK’s major employment hubs, scientific qualifications dominate as the most favoured credentials. Notably, Science degrees hold a significant appeal in cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

However, it remains noteworthy that Finance, Business, and Accounting maintain their stronghold as prime avenues for lucrative job prospects across most cities in the UK.

In terms of earning potential, studies indicate that Statistics, Mathematics, and Economics degrees yield the highest average salaries. Professionals in these fields can anticipate an annual income of £46,000, across all levels of study.

Within the UK’s academic landscape, the discipline of Business and Administration stands out as the prevailing choice of degree subject. The 2017-18 academic year witnessed a substantial total of 342,970 student enrolments in this field, a figure that notably surpasses the cumulative enrolments of Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering and Technology.


According to a recent report, psychology and computer science have claimed the leading positions as the most sought-after university majors in Canada (although Master’s in Psychology in the UK is also a great option in case students want to study there)

The comprehensive report delved into global trends among university degrees, analyzing data from 181 programmes. The study identified many programmes, like psychology courses in Canada, as well as computer science, and business as the most favoured university programmes among students.

Graduate and postgraduate courses in Canada typically offer a streamlined and efficient duration, catering to students’ time constraints and career aspirations. Many master’s programmes span one to two years, allowing students to swiftly acquire advanced knowledge and skills. PhD programmes are structured to be completed in three to six years, fostering in-depth research and expertise. This approach ensures a comprehensive education while respecting students’ goals for a prompt and rewarding academic journey.

Winner: UK

Master’s programmes in the UK typically span just one year, offering focused learning and swift qualification. Moreover, PhD durations are notably shorter, often taking three to four years, enhancing research-driven education.
Such condensed timelines, combined with the UK’s rich academic heritage and multicultural environment, make it an appealing destination for Indian students seeking a comprehensive yet time-effective educational experience.


Canada emerges as a compelling choice for international students due to its holistic advantages. The country’s welcoming and inclusive environment, streamlined immigration policies, robust career opportunities, and high-quality education make it an attractive destination.

The extended Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) duration of three years compared to the UK’s two years further enhances Canada’s appeal for those looking to work abroad after higher studies.

With affordable living costs, diverse campus experiences, and a commitment to fostering well-rounded individuals, Canada stands out as a land of opportunity that not only nurtures academic growth but also enriches life experiences, offering a promising foundation for a successful future.

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