American and Canadian university life

One of the most common questions international students ask us is; "What is life like on a university campus in the USA or Canada?".

Your studies will of course be your first priority, but a fulfilling student social life is also considered an essential part of the university experience in North America.

Each university campus is filled with a wide range of students who, like you, are eager to meet people and exchange ideas. The friends you make at your university can become lifelong friends, or even part of your global network of business contacts.

One of the best ways to build your social circle is to participate in the many on-campus activities. You can join numerous organizations, societies, clubs, athletic teams or academic groups that interest you. Many North American universities have sporting events and concerts throughout the year that can make campus life fun and different from other countries.

Where will you live?

On-campus

  • Our universities have on-campus residence halls for students. They provide a safe and convenient environment for living, studying and socializing.

Off-campus

  • Some students prefer off-campus housing for more independence. Our universities have nearby apartment buildings, many of which will provide transportation to and from campus throughout each day.

With a family

  • At Royal Roads University, Homestay accommodation lets you live with a carefully selected Canadian family in their home near the university. This experience will help you to adjust to North American life and build your English-speaking confidence.

Where will you go for help when you are sick?

You can register with your local Health Center and make an appointment to see a doctor or nurse whenever you need to. You will find on-campus Health Centers at most universities.

Which student services are available at universities in the USA and Canada?

All Canadian and American universities and colleges have a Student Services department, usually with a student center. They usually offer a range of services such as sports and fitness facilities, bookshops, games rooms, student lounges, and social activities. Support services may include personal counseling, career development, and student welfare. All of the universities we work with also have international offices where helpful staff can address your individual needs as an international student.

Where can you pray?

North America is home to people of all religions. Most of our universities have religious groups that share your faith and will guide you to where you can pray or worship. Some campuses have chapels or interfaith facilities that welcome people of all religious and spiritual backgrounds. More places of worship can be found in the local towns and cities.

How do you get involved in athletic activities?

Athletics are an important part of North American universities. There are regular games played by basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, American football and other on-campus teams. As a student, you can try-out to be on the team or show your support as a spectator at the games.

Sports competitions can be:

Intramural

  • Athletic teams compete against other teams within the university.

Intercollegiate

  • Top student athletic teams are known as 'varsity' and compete with other university teams within three divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

How do you get involved with a club or organization?

Academically focused, social or international – clubs and organizations at North American universities are fantastic places to meet other students with similar interests. Whether you like playing a musical instrument, outdoor adventure, or debating current events, you will be able to find a club that is right for you. At the beginning of each school year, most organizations will set up a table on campus and recruit new members; so you can ask questions and choose which you'd like to join.

What else happens on campus?

You can experience more North American culture by going to plays, art exhibitions, dance performances, live music concerts, debates, town hall meetings, and other cultural activities on campus. Fraternities (for men) and sororities (for women) are made up of students who share common goals, socialize together and get involved in community activity and charity events. They are a great way to make lifelong friends with other students and get actively involved in campus life.

Find out more about life on campus by exploring our partner universities