Niagara Falls is a city of opposites: the glamorous casinos, the impressive Falls, and the charmingly small downtown where the locals celebrate holidays. No matter what you are looking for, Niagara Falls either has it or isn’t far from it, and with all the excitement that has surrounded the waterfalls for so long, a thriving town has sprung up to provide everything international students could possibly need. Live like a local when you choose to study abroad in Niagara Falls and get to know the quieter streets away from the river, where you can savor your maple syrup and still hit the books!
What you need to know about studying abroad in Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls is part of the larger, extremely successful Canadian economy and university system; your time here is sure to expose you to the multicultural urban areas of Canada as well as stunning Northern natural areas. There are many options available for your experience of studying abroad in Niagara Falls.
Popular subjects to study. Biology, especially botany, is a unique offering in Niagara Falls; the local geography and climate have created zones where you can study unique biology in the wild. Niagara Falls is also popular for English study and other language learning; for those looking to capture the Falls photographically or on canvas, there is coursework in the fine arts. The proximity to both the United States and other Canadian cities makes it a strategic place to study language and culture across borders.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. Choosing an extended program, perhaps a semester or year long, allows one to really explore all that the Canadian countryside has to offer in addition to the city of Niagara Falls itself. The locals enjoy excellent quality of life, and you can partake in the healthy lifestyle when you stay long enough to become close with new friends. At the same time, a short-term program can provide you with an immersive experience of Canadian culture that will bond you to your fellow short-term students and continue those relationships long after the program ends.
Attending universities vs. other program type. While you study abroad in Niagara Falls, many of the local universities and colleges offer traditional courses of study. There are also language programs based specifically around living in a community where you will speak the target language through homestays, as well as 3rd party providers that can sometimes save you quite a bit of money if the program is right for you.
Life Abroad in Niagara Falls, Canada for International Students
When searching for housing, a homestay or apartment share can be a great option for making friends and meeting others who are traveling to Canada. When you are getting to know your neighbors, try the local comfort food dish poutine, which involves french fries, gravy, and other toppings, a truly decadent treat. Renting a private room, apartment, or house is also an option in the Niagara Falls area; check out locations on Niagara Parkway along the river valley if you want a truly impressive view out your window each morning.
For a small city, Niagara Falls has a really excellent bus system that serves tourists, locals, and students alike, but the nice weather makes walking a great form of exercise and transportation as well. While spring, summer, and fall are usually quite mild, Niagara Falls has quite cold winters, so bundle up. On the plus side, a winter visit allows you to see the amazing ice formations on the Falls; while it hasn’t completely frozen over since an ice jam in 1848, surface levels of the water freeze to create sculptures of the water frozen in time.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Niagara Falls
Keep an eye out for July 1 if you happen to be in Niagara Falls at the time; Canada Day is a big deal and is accompanied by a festival and fireworks down by the Falls that are guaranteed to be spectacular. You’ll find that while Canadians celebrate their past, they also are quite proud of their multicultural present of Canada: Their society is proud of being a place that is inclusive for everyone.
Museums like the Niagara Falls History Museum and the Butterfly Conservatory will give you a chance to take a break from studying in Canada and learn more about the city where you live. To avoid the hustle and bustle of the hotel row down by the Falls, try one of the locally-owned small restaurants in the original downtown.
While the tourists may fill the streets near the Falls, it is well worth choosing a quiet weekday and exploring via a boat tour or a nice walk in the Niagara Falls nature area. The history of discovery and exploration in this area will astound you but probably won’t prompt you to imitate Annie Edson Taylor, who survived a trip over the waterfalls in a wooden barrel.
Niagara Falls is an easy trip away from Toronto and from Buffalo, New York, so day trips to bigger cities are a great way to explore another aspect of the area on your weekends between classes.
Can’t get enough, eh? Read our comprehensive guide on studying abroad in Canada.