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— International Programs
IP Deutschland 
IP Österreich 
IP IFES Brasil 
Science Without Borders at JAC 
Étudiants Internationaux 
Financial Assistance 

1. What is a CEGEP?

The Collège d'enseignement général et professionel (CEGEP) system is a public, post-secondary education system that is unique to Quebec and dates from 1967. For Quebeckers, CEGEP education is subsidized by the government and is free of charge. CEGEP’s attract young adult and adult learners, as well as Canadian and International students. There are 48 such colleges in Quebec offering a wide variety of pre-university and technical courses. John Abbott College offers pre-university programs and technical programs that are two and three years in length, respectively. There are five English-language CEGEP’s in Quebec, of which John Abbott College, founded in 1971, is one. 


2. The term CEGEP is new to me. Where can I obtain information on CEGEP’s and education in Quebec?

A concise overview of the CEGEP system – created specifically with the International student in mind – is found on the CEGEP International site (in French). The Fédération des CEGEP’s and Immigration et Communautés culturelles de Québec sites explain the Quebec education system in English and French. There are statistics and colourful maps provided.


3. What is the difference between CEGEP pre-university and career programs?

As their name suggests, pre-university programs are for students who have decided that they will attend university. Career programs prepare students for direct entry into the labour market. However, many graduates of the latter programs attend university.


4. How much are my tuition fees?

Fees vary from program to program. Fees are subject to change from year to year. It is a good idea to review current fee information listed on the Admissions Office website.  Fees are also listed toward the back of the Course Calendar issued annually. Fee information requests can also be made by email to the Admissions Office and/or IPO. 


5. What is the cost of living in Montreal?

Costs vary from one city to another. Generalizations about the national cost of living cannot be made with accuracy. Approximate estimates of major costs that International students will incur while at John Abbott College are listed in the “Fees & Associated Cost Estimates” Section of this site.

Students are encouraged to carefully budget in preparing for overseas studies. Major costs that you will incur prior to and in Canada include tuition fees, accommodation, food, medical insurance, and transportation. You are also well advised to plan for shipping costs, incidental and unforeseen expenses, costs relating to computer operation and maintenance, and communications. Do not forget about extra spending money!


6. Can I apply for financial aid, grants, bursaries and/or scholarships?

No. Unfortunately, John Abbott College is not in a position to offer financial aid to International students at this time. If you are in need of financial support, or think yourself eligible for scholarships based on above-average academic performance, you may consider looking at what is offered in your country. For instance, your country’s government may accord funds for foreign study.


7. Can I work during the period I am a student at John Abbott?

Yes. April 2006 modifications to Canadian legislation pertaining to employment for International students allow students to work off-campus, as long as they meet certain conditions and obtain an Off-Campus Work Permit from the Federal Government of Canada. Read about details of working in Canada as an International student by following the following links from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site: “New Initiatives: Off-campus work and post-graduate employment” [hyperlink] and “Work opportunities for Foreign Students”. [hyperlink]

At John Abbott, there are limited on-campus employment opportunities. There is a wider range of off-campus jobs available. You will need to be resourceful in securing work for yourself. Word of mouth is one way to find a job. Another method of finding work is by looking at websites. The Student Employment Centre, open weekdays during business hours, offers a range of services aimed at assisting students secure gainful employment. Counselling Services offers career planning and coaching. 


8. Can pre-university graduates attend universities outside of Quebec?

Yes. Annually CEGEP graduates are accepted into universities in Canada, the U.S. and across the world. Quebec students are usually accepted into the second year at universities outside of Quebec. Students must have first met the minimum pre-requisite course requirements for their selected program.


9. Upon completing study at John Abbott, will I have earned a degree?

No. John Abbott students graduate with a Diploma of college studies called a Diplôme d’études collégiales (D.E.C.) The D.E.C. is the equivalent of the completion of the first year of university study in the other Canadian jurisdictions.



10. Are there special services – activities, clubs, associations, resources – that are tailor-made for International students?


No. It is a priority for IPO that foreign students feel part of the student population. The idea is that foreign students can integrate seamlessly and enhance the CEGEP setting. There is an Orientation session for all John Abbott students in the fall semester. IPO serves an advisory role for International students.


The Cultural Diversity Office is part of Student Services’ Learning Centre.  It serves as a resource for students and staff for cultural issues and it coordinates activities that reflect the richness of the John Abbott population. It publishes a newsletter and there are links to back issues on the Learning Centre site.


Student Activities also organizes many events, and several student clubs promote international awareness. International students play an active role in several of these clubs. For instance, there are political clubs (United Nations Club of John Abbott College (UNJAC)), multicultural clubs (Chinese Club), and clubs on social issues (Amnesty International).




11. Can I be involved with IPO?


IPO encourages international student leadership. It encourages on-going dialogue and relationship-building between IPO and students. If there is an international group of students that would like to promote an activity, present an innovative idea such as a cultural event or other, or show initiative in assisting IPO with activities such as collecting photographs and testimonials or writing an e-bulletin or newsletter, IPO staff will be happy to hear your ideas.


IPO welcomes your feedback. With your evaluation of programs and services, future students can enjoy their John Abbott experience as much – if not more so - than you.


1. Should I talk to my parents, family and/or teachers about studying abroad?

Yes. If you are under 18 years old, you will need authorization from your parents to study abroad. You will need on-going support and encouragement to study successfully in a foreign country. Teachers are great sources of ideas and information. Often they are widely travelled, and can thus share experiences and assist in your preparations. You may also be able to complete a course project or assignment on the country in which you plan to study, for instance.    


2. Is it more expensive to study overseas than to remain at John Abbott?

The cost of living varies greatly from country to country. Scandanavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world, whereas the cost of living in many Indian cities is less than Canada. Where you are accepted to study will dictate how much or less it will cost relative to John Abbott. You will have to budget carefully overseas, planning for major expenses such as travel, housing, food and health insurance. Other expenses may include communications, incidentals, clothing, recreation and entertainment.     


3. Can I apply for financial aid, grants and/or scholarships to study overseas?

Yes. There are federal funds available to youth up until the age of 29 years old. There is provincial funding available to students with limited financial resources. There are private organizations and foundations that provide support to students. The Financial Services Office has some in-house information about funding sources, as does the University and Career Information Centre. Be aware that searching the Internet for funding can be a tiring process. Limit your sessions and record information as you go along.

You may want to fund raise to self-finance foreign work or studies. There are a variety of business plan development strategies for success and other resources that can be tapped into to lead you to conducting a successful campaign. Discuss options with parents, John Abbott personnel, your community resource people and teachers.  



4. Will my Quebec health coverage apply while I am living in another country?


No. You will be covered for the first three months of foreign living. Beyond that, you will need to obtain private health insurance coverage.  




5. How should I prepare myself for living (for study, work and/or travel) in a foreign country?


Most importantly, it is necessary to be psychologically and physically prepared for change. You will be faced with new challenges and unforeseen change overseas. Your personal and physical resources may be stretched, and knowing this in advance – in addition to being organized - is helpful. Consider keeping a journal, and anticipate communicating via email with friends and family to lessen homesickness. Plan to stay physically active and maintain good physical condition overseas. Speaking with others who have gone abroad and/or who are from the country in question is recommended.




6. Does John Abbott help me to prepare, trouble shoot and to know what to expect?


Yes. IPO has prepared a Pre-Departure Guide for JAC Students for the benefit of departing students. The Guide is in pdf and provides baseline information. Many CEGEP’s in Quebec and colleges and universities across Canada have similar pre-departure guides posted on the international pages of their websites. Canadian and Quebec Government websites also offer information of this kind. Much information found at these sites is similar in content and spirit.     




7. What will it be like to return to Canada after having lived overseas?


The impact of “re-entry”, as it is called, varies from one person to the other. Tips and hints for lessening reverse cultural shock are widely available on federal and provincial sites, as well as a number of organizational web sites. IPO has a numbers of information booklets that it lends out to students. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has a section entitled “Returning to Canada” referenced on its homepage. DFAIT is a very good source of information for Canadians traveling overseas.




8. What are the benefits of getting involved with IPO?


There are several net benefits. You will be most aware of current happenings in the international programming at John Abbott, including information evenings and other social events. You can be a catalyst for organizing events with other students contemplating overseas studies, and you can meet International students already at John Abbott. Last, your efforts will likely not go unnoticed. For your student activism, you will be eligible for the Student Involvement Recognition program overseen by Student Activities.




9. Can I sit down with someone to discuss options for studying, working or traveling overseas?


Yes. You can drop in and/or arrange an appointment with IPO staff.