Jun 28, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Like geese, US high school graduates are flocking to Canada in record numbers. Why?

According to the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., an estimated 10,000 Americans are pursuing degrees in Canada, up from about 3,500 10 years ago. 

Many pursue degrees up north because of the high-quality education at a noticeably lower price point.

In a recent article in The Huffington Post, Yusuf Varachia, international recruitment coordinator at one Canadian university said,  "Parents are always shocked at how much less expensive it is." 

Kathleen Massey, the registrar at a Montreal university, said that sometimes the costs are comparable. Her advice? Keep an open mind. She argues that American students looking to study in Canada need to stay open to new experiences.

Here are five reasons why US students may want to consider studying in Canada:

1. Cost

Not only is tuition traditionally cheaper in Canada--sometimes by as much as half the cost--so is the rent and general cost of living. 

A recent article in the Pacific Standard highlights the differences for US students studying in Canada. The author explains that "Americans owe nearly $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, higher than car and credit card loans and second only to mortgage debt. After completing a four-year degree, the average college graduate will have to repay more than $37,000."

With the current exchange rate, US students owe less than half that. For many families, that alone is the draw.

Combine the relative affordability of education in the US with excellent schools, and Canada has become a study destination unto itself. 

2. High academic standards

Canadian degrees, diplomas, and certificates are globally recognized and see as "equivalent" to degrees from the US. 

Worldwide, employers see degrees from Canada as on par or better than those from other countries across with world with universities that rank high.

According to the Globe and Mail, Canadian universities are working hard to keep up with the rest of the world. The government recently invested $3.8 billion over the next five years in scientific research. International research has seen a 12.1 percent increase, and Canadian scholars produced 7.3 percent more publication and 13.2 percent more citations than a year ago. 

The benefit? The research is high-quality and thoughtful.

3. Global universities

A 2017 Washington Post article explains part of Canada's draw with its focus on creating a global citizenry.

Ted Sargent, vice president-international of a Toronto university said, "Canada is having a moment."

He added that international applicants state that studying at a top-ranked school in Canada will not only give them a great education but improve their job prospects. 

Sargent said, "Canada is a place that is focused on attracting talent from around the world."

4. Close to home

Relatively speaking, Canada is close to the US. Many US students select the country because of its proximity to home. 

In Ontario alone, there are 26 universities, five of which are in cities close to the border. 

For students looking to study abroad in a country with an affordable quality of life, excellent universities, and a dash European culture and flair, Canada may be just the ticket. 

5. Safety 

You've probably heard that Canadians are friendly and polite. The country houses some of the world's most stable, peaceful communities with low--and declining--crime rates. 

While cities generally see more crime than suburban and rural areas, Canada is consistently rated among the top safest countries in the world by the UN.

According to the 2017 Global Peace Index, Canada is ranked eighth for safety. 

Canada scored highest on factors related to internal conflicts, like intensity and resulting deaths. Violent crime and political instability also scored well, earning low scores of 1 out of 5. You know what that means? 

It means that Canada lacks violent crime and political instability on a global scale. 

Learn more about studying in Canada.

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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