International High School: Eight Reasons to Choose Canada

Student walking

While the vast majority of international students in Canada are studying at the university or college level, if trends in the United States are any indication, the number of students joining in earlier years is expected to grow.



International Students in Canada

Current Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) research shows that students studying at the primary, secondary or cégep (Quebec) level make up approximately 15 percent of the international student population in Canada. It is unsurprising that many of these come from the world’s most populous region: Asia. China and South Korea are the top two source countries.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) found the number of international students in U.S. high schools more than tripled between 2004 and 2016. According to a recent Due to changing demographics enrollment at Canadian high schools is predicted to decline for several years. In an interview with, Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, said: “For a number of years, we have seen declining enrolment, particularly at the secondary level.” Schools boards across Canada have been bracing for this demographic shift.
Comox Valley International Program
Since the early 2000s, school boards have recruited students abroad. Across the country one finds school boards offering international student programs. These programs offer prospective students the opportunity to pursue their studies knowing they can count on services to support their specific needs.

Touting the benefit of a Canadian educational experience has not been difficult. Demand for Canadian high school education is such that schools such as Turkey’s Keystone International Schools have opened campuses in Canada. Some Canadian high schools, like Toronto’s Branksome Hall, have even opened campuses abroad.


Are you considering to send your child to study high school in Canada?

The world knows Canada is an excellent place to learn, live and work. The following are our eight top reasons for choosing Canada as a high school destination:

  1. English language training

  2. Students around the world learn English in classrooms, online, and through summer programs. While these are good ways to learn languages, they cannot replace immersion. Many international students find they learn faster by speaking and listening in day-to-day situations.

  3. Social acculturation

  4. The university experience is not limited to the classroom. Attending high school in Canada can prepare students to succeed in social settings too. The transition to university is difficult for all students, but it can be especially difficult for international students without a prior understanding of cultural norms, colloquialisms, and habits. High schools can be places for students to land softly before going to university.

  5. Preparation for North American-style education

  6. In addition to language practice and acculturation, international students at Canadian high schools are also exposed to North American-style teaching, which tends to be more participatory in nature and which features a more collaborative teacher-student dynamic.

  7. High quality high school education

  8. Canada’s public secondary schools follow a government mandated curriculum and employ certified teachers. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) named Canada a top performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. International students benefit from learning within this system. According to its Better Life Index, “[t]he average student scored 522 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).” The score is significantly higher than the OECD average of 497, making Canada a leader in students’ skills. International universities recognize Canadian students are well-prepared for the rigours of university education.

  9. Affordable education

  10. While studying abroad can be expensive, international students are eligible to enroll in public institutions offering relatively low tuition rates compared to schools in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. A relatively weak Canadian dollar also helps keep costs down even at internationally recognized private and independent schools.

  11. World-renowned universities

  12. Students who choose to stay in Canada for post-secondary studies will have access to universities that are consistently ranked among the top institutions internationally. In fact, 26 Canadian universities are counted among the best in the world, including eight in the top 200, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings, 2016 – 2017.

  13. Quality of Life

  14. According to the Social Progress Index Canada ranks second only to Finland for quality of life. Canada offers international students welcoming, safe communities with excellent infrastructure. The country celebrates diversity and provides students with a rich multicultural experience. Matthew Nitch Smith of Business Insider in an article for World Economic Forum, called Canadians some of the best looked after in the world, specifically mentioning the country’s strength in healthcare, education and opportunity.

  15. Investment opportunity

  16. Some families purchase an investment property where their student will be studying instead of paying residence fees. Buying real estate in Canada is generally speaking easy. “All Canadian banks have attractive mortgage products for non-resident buyers. 35% down payment and 25 years amortization, 5 years locked mortgage rates currently are below 3%. With property values annually appreciating 11 to 20%, Toronto presents one of the best investment opportunities in the globe,” says Asli Ozdemir , a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. An added benefit is that if the family chooses to immigrate the property is included in personal wealth calculations and is considered to show a “connection to Canada.”

Want to learn more about the various Canadian high school options? Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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