International Students

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2. Planning your Budget

Careful preparation starts with a detailed budget!

Keep in mind that École Polytechnique does not offer scholarships to foreign students. What’s more, though it is possible to find part-time work on campus, opportunities are limited, while wages are likely to be insufficient to cover your expenses. For these reasons, you must ensure you have sufficient funds before coming to Canada.


To get an idea of the cost of yearly expenses associated with studying at Polytechnique, consult our budget 2017-2018.

Some students may be eligible to opt out of medical coverage.

Full-degree students: To help you fund your stay, you may want to find out more about the differential fee exemption program and the many organizations that offer scholarships to foreign students.

Exchange students (1 or 2 terms): If you receive an invoice during the term, you can ignore it since you have no tuition fee to pay (some exceptions exist).

Double-degree students: Miscellaneous admisnistrative fees have to be paid from the term you are enrolled in the master's program. Please pay the invoice as instructed.

Prior to arrival, students are also advised to inform themselves on the precise tuition fees of their study program.

Plan to arrive in Canada with enough money so you won’t be caught short if a transfer of funds takes longer than you expect. Ideally, come equipped with a variety of means of payment — cash, credit cards, traveller’s cheques and so on.

For major expenses, the safest form of payment remains traveller’s cheques, which are accepted just about everywhere in Montréal. You can expect to encounter substantial moving-related expenses during your first two months in Canada.

If you don’t already have one, you are also strongly advised to get a MasterCard or Visa credit card before leaving, since you may experience difficulties with other types of credit cards.

Travel funds

Both of Montréal’s airports have foreign exchange offices on the premises. However, if your flight arrives late in the day, they may be closed, leaving you high and dry with no Canadian currency. This is why we recommend you bring Canadian currency or traveller’s cheques with you. Note: if you bring cash, be sure to have smaller denominations on hand, since $100 bills are not widely accepted.

Transferring funds to Canada

Transferring money from your home bank to your bank in Montréal is a quick and efficient way to have access to funds, taking on average three working days. To facilitate the process, choose a Canadian bank that has affiliations with your home bank, and open an account as soon as you arrive.

Bank drafts

You can also get a bank draft made out to you and payable to a Canadian bank. While this is a safe way to transfer funds, be warned that it can take up to 30 days to access your funds after you’ve opened an account and deposited the money.

Converting foreign currency into Canadian dollars

Converting your country’s currency into Canadian dollars can be done in your home country before you leave, or in Montréal, at either a bank or foreign exchange bureau. Find out in advance which method is to your best advantage, since the exchange rate varies from day to day.