Western University: International Student Life

Choosing to study in a foreign country is a complicated, difficult, and extremely important decision in a person’s life. From academics to the stresses of immigration, there are many considerations to make when choosing the institution where you’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars (if not more). This article will cover some important factors to consider when choosing to study at what is widely regarded as one of Canada’s best research universities, Western University. 

Let’s dive right in! 

Western University has a long standing reputation as a Canadian university with an excellent student experience and party life. With an extensive catalogue of student events and nearly 200 clubs, Western is a school with a great community reputation. Like most Canadian universities, a great way to meet friends and get to know people is through student residence. Considering the lower cost of living when compared with cities like Toronto, London is a great place to be a student and enjoy school. The campus is also beautiful, featuring architecture from the 1800s. According to the 2021 QS World University Rankings, it was ranked 170th globally, attesting to its commitment to academic excellence.

To be transparent, it is never trivial, simple, or easy to study abroad. Many international students at Western struggle with social as well as physical isolation; mental health issues are often exacerbated by the Canadian climate and the pressure of extremely high tuition for those who must stretch to afford it. While these issues are not specific to Western students, there are some factors that can make the school more difficult than others. Western is widely perceived by Canadian students as an extremely social school with vibrant party culture, meaning that for those who aren’t as socially involved as others, they may feel that they are either missing out entirely or may feel robbed of a promised experience. Many international students also struggle to live in London, Ontario. While the campus can be stimulating, social, and fun, the city of London was ranked Canada’s least happy city in 2023. Similar to other small towns in South-Western Ontario such as Waterloo and Hamilton, London tends to be small with not much to do in the evenings beyond clubs and bars (as well as extremely cold in the winter months).

On the flip side, importantly, Western has support available for international students. The International and Exchange Student Centre provides assistance with visa and immigration issues, cultural adaptation, and academic advising. These services help international students seamlessly integrate into Canadian academic and social life. Compared to some other major Canadian cities (especially Toronto), London, Ontario offers a relatively lower cost of living. This makes it an attractive destination for international students who want to minimize their expenses while enjoying a high quality of life. Affordable housing options exist to accommodate many different budgets. If you’re interested in finding free student housing offered by many universities in Canada, check out this article we wrote about the popular residence don program! 

There are many important considerations to make when deciding to study abroad. Quality of education, support systems available, and student life are all worth researching. Hopefully this article helps you get an idea of student life at Western. Please write to us with feedback as we use your comments, concerns, and criticisms to build our blog!


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