Study Abroad in Ottawa

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A Guide to Studying Abroad in Ottawa

Travel north to the land of hockey, maple syrup, and rolling hills — because there is so much more than that to be found! Ottawa is a blooming business and technology center filled with a dynamic culture, proud heritage, and exciting outdoor activities. The capital city of Canada is an energetic and lively destination with national institutions, striking architecture, lush public parks, and dramatic waterways. Studying abroad in Ottawa means immersing yourself in a city filled with natural and man-made riches and a wonderland that can offer a fantastic educational life experience.

How to Study Abroad in Ottawa

With Ottawa being located in Ontario and bordering Quebec, you’ll immerse yourself in a French and English-speaking culture. Ottawa is also the most educated cities in Canada, so you can be assured that you’ll be receiving a quality education when you study here. 

Popular Subjects to Study. With bilingual universities available here, you could learn English as a second language or become fluent in French. Many programs offer homestay options, so you can live in a cozy setting with a family to help you progress even further fluently in the language. Other more popular courses include law, medicine, culinary arts (where you can earn certificates in cuisine and pastry), and education

Short Term vs. Summer vs. Long Term Programs. From a couple of weeks (spring break or May term) to seasonally (fall, spring, or summer) to a full academic year, you’ll have a range of options for how long you want to study in Ottawa — some programs also have flexible start dates. Keep in mind that summers are warm and humid and winters are cold and snowy when deciding the time of year you want to study here and what kind of weather suits your personality and interests as well. 

Attending Universities vs. Other Program Types. You could opt to take courses through your own university, universities in Canada, or an outside program provider. Some students might choose to directly enroll in the University in Ottawa or one of Ottawa’s other higher education institutions. Make an appointment with a university study abroad advisor to help you determine which courses will fulfill your desires and educational needs.

Student Life in Ottawa

The Rideau Canal is an amazing chain of waterways — rivers, lakes, and canals — that winds more than 124 miles from Ottawa to Ontario. It’s one of the oldest continuously operating navigable boat channels in North America and a major playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are always fun in the water while extensive walking trails along the system’s 26 lock stations are pathways to amazing natural sights, historic cities, and quaint towns. Each winter, the canal transforms into the world’s largest skating rink. 

A slew of museums, galleries, theaters, cafes, bars, and restaurants all call Ottawa home. The National Arts Centre in Ottawa is known for its four stages and for featuring not only the astounding National Arts Centre Orchestra, but also the Opera Lyra Ottawa and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. The Great Canadian Theatre Company presents awesome stage productions here. One of the most lovely and impressive sights in Ottawa is Parliament Hill. Perched in the middle of downtown Ottawa, this Gothic building houses the Parliament of Canada.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

The language of Ottawa is 50 percent English, 32 percent French, and the other 18 percent is a mixture of languages, some of which include Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic. If you decide to study abroad in Ottawa, you’ll find programs that offer courses taught in both English and French. Its French-speaking people and places are terrific language learning enhancements for students learning French in Ottawa.

Fêtes and festivals are an important part of the culture of Ottawa, so be sure to check them out. The largest festival in all of Canada is called Winterlude, held in Ottawa to celebrate winter. It’s centered around the massive Skateway of the Rideau Canal. Other celebrations in Ottawa are the Bluesfest, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Canadian Tulip Festival, and Ottawa International Jazz Festival. The most important celebration of the year happens on July 1, Canada Day, celebrating the nation’s birthday. As the capital of Canada, Ottawa goes all out for this joyous occasion! Activities for the day include music, dancing, parades, and more. The festivities take place on Parliament Hill, throughout the streets, and into downtown parks.

Ottawa has been ranked the second-cleanest city in Canada, third in the world, and is said to be one of the best communities of Canada to live in. Outdoor enthusiasts will rejoice with its range of fun activities in and around Ottawa, from mountain biking to whitewater rafting to skiing to hiking. Anyone studying in Ottawa will be surrounded by majestic nature in the form of breathtaking lakes, rivers, forests, and hills that encompass the city, so they should take advantage of nature’s most gorgeous landscapes. 

Read our comprehensive guide on studying abroad in Canada.

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