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Cultural Tips

Once it has been decided that a student will study in Canada and they are registered in a particular school it can be helpful for the student to prepare by reading as much as possible about Canada and the city and province they will live in.

The following weblink can assist in providing a wide variety of information about Canada:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada

Currency

It is recommended that students exchange a small amount of money into Canadian currency before coming to Canada. Students should also familiarize themselves with the Canadian currency = the dollar ($). Denominations of $5 and higher are coloured paper bills while $2, $1 and lower amounts are usually only found in coin format.

Click here to determine the current exchange rate for Canadian currency

Banking

Determine how it will be best for the student to manage their money while studying and living overseas. There are 5 national
banks and a variety of provincial/local banking institutions available throughout Canada.  Hours of operation will vary however most will be open Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm.

Most students will open a local bank account in Canada and receive an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) card. This card can be used to withdraw money by accessing the bank account through machines in shopping malls and other public places. A student can also pay directly from their bank account (direct payment) for purchases at many stores and restaurants by using this card and entering a private number passcode.

Taxes

A federal Goods & Services Tax (GST) of 5% applies to most purchases across Canada. Many provinces also have a provincial tax on
goods and services. The amount of this tax varies from province to province.

Tipping / Gratuities

It is standard to tip when eating in a restaurant as the tip is not usually included in the bill, unless eating with a very large group.  An average tip for receiving good service is 15%.  Other service providers that usually receive tips include: hairstylists, taxis, estheticians and tour operators.

Festivities

It can also be helpful to learn about some of the festivities and traditions that a student may experience while living in Canada – such as Halloween, Christmas, Canada Day or Thanksgiving.  For some students these may be new celebrations, for others they are not – though they may be celebrated in a different way.