Study in Canada from Costa Rica – full guide

From Costa Rica to Canada, there are endless opportunities to study and work in Canada. Find out more.

For people who have made the decision to study in Canada from Costa Rica, the very first steps are applying to your choice of institution, processing your study visa, putting together necessary documents, procuring the required amount of money needed to travel, and finally getting into Canada to study.

Between these processes, you may want to find schools that offer scholarships, opportunities to work as you study, and the possibility of staying back in Canada after studying.

With your decision to study in Canada from Costa Rica, a whole new world of opportunities is at your feet, waiting for you to explore. Welcome to Canada – the land of opportunities.

Why Study in Canada from Costa Rica?

There are so many reasons why studying in Canada would be a good idea for the Costa Rican. Here are a few.

World’s best learning institutions

Canada is the third country ranking behind USA and UK, in the list of countries with the largest population of international students.

This is because Canada has some of the best schools in the world.

Out of 1,300 universities in the world, Canada took the 26th position in the top 100 list, with the University of Toronto. The McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and Concordia University were not far behind. This makes Canada one of the most sought-after countries, in terms of education.

However, not all universities in Canada, are designated learning institutions. Designated learning institutions are schools that are authorized to accept international students.

Each province has its list of designated institutions. First decide which of the provinces you will stay, then go ahead to find its list of designated institutions.

All Primary and Secondary schools in Canada, are designated institutions.

World’s safest country

Canada is the 6th safest country in the world, a position it maintained from 2019 until date.

Canada has succeeded in keeping crime rates at the barest minimum, with a hardworking and trusted police force that responds promptly to distress calls.

This is very important to a foreigner leaving his home country to study in Canada, especially to a Costa Rican.

Work, study opportunity

Canada is every country’s first choice for studying abroad, because of its many benefits to the foreigner, among which is the possibility of working while studying.

People from Costa Rica can work in Canada while they study. This gives them extra income, working and studying. It also enhances their experience of Canada and helps them to build their Curriculum Vitae, with the possibility that they will go on to better employment in Canada when they graduate.

The Canada-Costa Rica relations

Canada and Costa Rica enjoy strong and diverse relations, because they share similar views in many important areas, including human rights, rule of law, and security.

As a result of the mutually beneficial relationship between both countries, they have strategically sighted embassies in their country’s capitals. In Costa Rica, the Embassy of Canada is in San Jose, the country’s capital. Costa Rica has its embassy in Ottawa, Canada. It also has a consulate in Toronto and an Honorary Consulate in Vancouver.

Both countries are members of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), which provides short-term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean, to study in Canada.

The program is based on the similarities between the Canadian and Costa Rican educational institutions and creates an atmosphere for scholarship opportunities. The program aids collaboration between both countries, especially in student exchange programs and research work.

Canada has a special relationship with Costa Rica.

As a matter of fact, there are nearly 10,000 Canadian residents in Costa Rica, and tens of thousands of Canadians travel to Costa Rica every year. This population of Canadians in Costa Rica is matched by the number of Costa Ricans who migrate to Canada and visit it all year round.

Let us explore the beautiful country of Costa Rica, and find out why it is a favorite for Canadians.

5 Public Universities in Costa Rica

University of Costa Rica (UCR): This is the main, largest, and oldest Costa Rican university. It is also one of the best and most prestigious institutions of higher education in Latin America and the best in Central America and the Caribbean.

National University (UNA): It was founded in 1973. It is the 2nd most important university in the nation and is also one of the most prestigious in Latin America.

Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC): A house of higher education founded on June 10th, 1971. It is the main university that specializes in engineering courses.

Distance State University (UNED): It was founded in 1977. Its educational program is remote, so the students can study from home and make an assessment per month.

National Technical University (UTN): This is the country’s newest institution of higher education formed by a merger of two educational centers on June 4th, 2008.

These universities can compete satisfactorily, with other universities in the world.

How to apply to Study in Canada from Costa Rica

For the Costa Rican who would rather prefer to study in Canada, the following steps should be taken:

Apply to schools in Canada, as an international student

There are many schools to apply to, in Canada. However, not all schools in Canada, are designated institutions.

What is a designated learning institution?

A designated learning institution is an institution that has been authorized by the Canadian Government, to receive and offer educational services to international students.

Not all learning institutions are designated learning institutions.

If you are lucky to get an unconditional letter from an educational institution in Canada, you are on your way to a good start.

When you have found a DLI which offers the course you would like to study, you can apply to the school. Make sure you apply in time enough, before you have to move to Canada for studies. Preferably, apply a year before.

Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. They will give you the list of all the documents you need to send them. Your school will be able to tell you about their tuition fees, rent and other fees, and language tests you will be required to take. They will also instruct you on how to fill the forms and submit them.

If the school accepts you, you will get an offer of admission or an acceptance letter. With this, you can go ahead to apply for a study visa.

Apply for a study visa

You can apply online, or on paper. To apply, you need the following documents:

  • Proof of Acceptance by a Designated Learning Institution in Canada. It’s easy to find DLIs in the provinces of Canada. Just decide on where to stay first, then cast your net. A lot of schools will want you.
  • Proof of identity. This entails presenting your Costa Rican passport. You can do this by uploading the information page of your passport online.
  • Proof of financial support. You must prove that you can support yourself while you are in Canada. Proof of funds can be a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada; Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution; proof of a student or education loan from a bank, your bank statements for the past 4 months, proof you paid tuition and housing fees, or proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

To study in Canada from Costa RIca, you will need to obtain a Canadian study permit, which will serve as a student visa for the duration of your stay. If you do not plan to stay more than 6 months in Canada, you do not need a Canadian study permit. Applying for a study permit costs 150 Canadian Dollars. Your study permit is valid until after 3 months of the conclusion of your study in Canada.

You may also need a letter of explanation. In this letter, you are expected to explain why you want to study in Canada, and that you understand that you are expected to behave responsibly while studying in Canada from Costa Rica.

A certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). This certificate of acceptance is for people who intend to study in Quebec, from Costa Rica, especially if they will stay longer than 6 months. These are some of the Canada study visa requirements.

Other documents may be required as the need arises.

3. Go for your biometrics

This is important if you have not submitted your fingerprints and passport photo in the last 10 years. You can do this at the local Costa Rica Visa Application Center (VAC). Your fingerprints and photo will be required for identification purposes in the immigration application process.

By the time your study permit is approved, it is expected that you have decided on where to stay.

Most Costa Ricans like to live in Ontario and British Columbia. There are Costa Rica communities in these provinces, and it is useful for the first comer to Canada, to find a community that would make the process of settling down, easier.

Financial Aid to Study in Canada from Costa Rica

Scholarships, grants, and loans are available for Costa Rican students wishing to study in Canada. There are scholarships given by the university at which the student wishes to study, and some given by particular persons or organisations.

It is important to apply early, for these scholarships because it is highly competitive. Remember that other international students are looking for the same thing.

One notable source of scholarships to study in Canada is the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students of other Commonwealth countries.

The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) provides short-term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean to study or conduct research in Canada.

Additionally, Costa Rican students can apply for other Canadian awards open to all international students including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.

There are ongoing scholarships like Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme 2022 for all countries. Find out more about how to get scholarships in Canada.

Loans available to students from Costa Rica

It is usually advisable to apply for loans, only after exhausting all options for scholarships and other grants.

Loans are available to international students in Canada at select universities.

How much Student Loan can you get in Canada?

If you are a Costa Rican part-time student, you can get up to $10,000 of Canadian student loans. If you pay off some of the loans when you start working, you can apply for more, up to the $10,000 limit again.

How do I apply for an International Student Loan?

Before applying for a private student loan, you will need to know how much you can borrow, and what you need the money for, apart from your tuition. This will also depend on how much is available to you. When you submit your application to the lender, you will get guidelines on the necessary paperwork you are expected to submit.

When your lender is satisfied with your paperwork, the money will be transferred directly to your school. If there are extras remaining, after the tuition is paid, you will receive them. Not all schools in Canada are approved for loans. Find out if your proposed DLI is one of the schools approved.

Cost of tuition in Canada from Costa Rica

Tuition fees in Canada vary according to schools, your program of study, whether part-time or full time, and sometimes your nationality (whether you are from an underdeveloped or developing country). On the average, tuition fees can cost as low as 10,000 Canadian Dollars and as high as 25,000 Canadian Dollars.

Cost of living in Canada

Apart from your tuition, you need money for your living expenses. These expenses would depend on where you are staying. Living and studying in Quebec, Toronto, and Vancouver, is slightly more expensive than in other provinces. Your spending habits will also decide what your living expenses will look like.

The Canadian student visa requirements say you must have at least CA$10,000 (~US$7,570) (or CA$11,000/~US$8,300 if studying in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees, but it is advisable to budget much more than this for your living expenses.

Rent also varies from one province to the other. The cost of student accommodation (homestay, university accommodation and private accommodation), should be considered, alongside other bills. University accommodation is often cheaper, with some universities offering meal plans to allow you to purchase food from the university’s food outlets.

Fees to apply to universities in Canada will vary depending on the university and your country of origin. For example, the University of British Columbia charges undergraduate Canadian students CA$70.50 (~US$53.40) and international students CA$118.50 (~US$89.70). You may be able to get this fee waived if you are an international student from a developing country.

Student jobs in Canada

It is possible to get a part-time job in Canada while you work. However, you must not work longer than the approved number of hours, which in most cases, is 20 hours during school sessions, and full time during school breaks and holidays. You can do this without a work permit.

You are qualified to work while you study if you are a full-time student and have a valid study permit. Also, you must be enrolled at a DLI. You also need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.

Prospects in Canada for the Costa Rican after Studying

As a Costa Rica Citizen your prospects for finding work in Canada after graduation, are high. This is because Costa Ricans are highly skilled, having been prepared for life in Canada, by their standard of education and length of stay at school, back home in Costa Rica.

The education system in Costa Rica is highly regarded, meaning that there are strong prospects to find work in Canada for Costa Rica Citizens. People from Costa Rica are good managers, and they acquire various skills as a result of the specialized education they receive in Costa Rica. They are also sought after in the medical field.