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Discover our International Student Program

International students from all over the globe choose to study at the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). The OCSB is an excellent choice for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 looking for a world-class education steeped in Deep Learning, values, technology, sports, and an immersive English as a Second Language (ESL) experience. Choosing to study here offers students the opportunity to learn about other cultures and make new friends while receiving quality education.

Ottawa is an ideal city for international students. Canada’s capital offers all of the advantages of city life while being surrounded by the beauty of Canadian natural spaces. It is one of the safest cities in North America with a top ranked quality of life.

Quality education from award-winning schools

We asked a group of our international students why they chose to study at the OCSB. The number one answer was “quality of education”. 

Ontario is one of the top performing education systems worldwide, and our school board has received national recognition for our focus on Deep Learning. Our students have consistently scored higher than the province in annual standardized tests for the past ten years.

Our care for environmental sustainability and our commitment to social justice and Catholic teachings help produce conscientious graduates who are keen to make a difference in this world. The OCSB has an outstanding record of national accolades. Our staff and students have claimed top prizes across the country for several high profile initiatives. The impressive recognition seems to originate from the way we approach education. Read more about it in the Ottawa Citizen Newspaper.


Welcoming and inclusive environments

Our students also expressed that the welcoming and supportive environment provided by peers and school staff made all the difference in their success. This environment stems from the values our students learn from a young age. Our faith-based schools provide safe and inclusive spaces for students to grow and learn.

Our high schools are open to students of all faiths and cultures. This makes the experience for our international students a welcoming one. All of our students receive an education designed to develop the whole person. Students learn about social responsibility, positive values, and respect for all faiths and cultural backgrounds.

We proudly embrace diversity and welcome students from all countries. We make a special effort to help international students adjust to life in a new country. Our Family Welcome Centre for Newcomers, along with our school based multicultural liaison officers, help students who are new to Canada as they transition to a new school environment and culture.

Diverse opportunities after completing high school

Studying with the OCSB opens up so many doors for life after high school. Even if students join us for their last two years of high school, it can have a huge impact for those moving onto university or college in North America. Studying here also helps international students get further ahead in their post-secondary studies, as the Ontario credits earned will be easily recognized by post-secondary institutions.

An immersive English experience of Canadian culture

Living in Ottawa allows international students to immerse themselves into an English speaking community. This helps develop English language skills at a much faster rate. English as a Second Language (ESL) support is provided in all of our schools from Kindergarten to Grade 8. In Grades 9 to 12, students requiring ESL instruction will attend one of our five high schools which offer ESL courses. Your school will depend on the area you live in and your individual ESL needs.

Homestay options

Students in Grades 9 to 12 can participate in a homestay program offered by MLI Homestay. This organization places students with caring and supportive Canadian host families. Students have an opportunity to learn about Canadian culture and share their culture with their Canadian family members. View our profile with the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CASP-I)

How to apply as an international student

The Ottawa Catholic School Board proudly embraces diversity and welcomes students from all countries. We welcome international students at all grade levels in our schools, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Students from abroad enjoy this opportunity to learn about our culture and make new friends while receiving a quality education in Canada.

Step 1 – Submit your application form

International students wishing to study in Ottawa should first complete an online application form. The application will require an upload of the student’s recent transcript along with a signed copy of the International Student Agreement.

Step 2 - Get your letter of acceptance for a study permit

Once you have been accepted we will issue a letter of acceptance. International students need this letter in order to obtain a Study Permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A study permit is required for international students.

Step 3 - Make arrangements for payment

International students pay annual tuition fees in order to attend one of our quality OCSB schools. These fees cover the costs of important programs, such as English as a second language (ESL) instruction, if needed. The fees also help pay for essential transportation services, given that the student’s residential address meets eligibility requirements. Transportation will be also provided to our high school ESL Centres, even if they are outside the student’s attendance boundary. All payments should be made payable to the “Ottawa Catholic School Board” and should include the name of the student on the method of payment. Payment options from within Canada are a bank draft, money order, or certified cheque.


 Kindergarten to Grade 8Grade 9 to 12
Application fee (one time fee)$300 CAD$300 CAD
Tuition$12,000 CAD per year$13,000 CAD per year ($6,500 per semester)
Medical insurance$450 CAD per year$450 CAD per year
MLI HomestayNot applicable$11,500 CAD per year (approximate)

Step 4 - Keep connected

Let us know once a student’s arrival date to Canada is known (with the flight booked) so we can arrange assessment and admission appointments. Students will have two appointments, possibly on different days depending on the time of year. One will be an English and Math assessment, along with the student registration and orientation. The other appointment (high school level only) will be with a guidance counselor at the student’s school. The counselor will help the student choose classes and will also go over graduation requirements and school expectations.