Impact of International Students on Canada

Every year Citizenship and Immigration Canada publishes facts, figures, reports and statistics on immigration to Canada based on “new permanent residents, temporary residents entering the country to work, study or for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.”

In this blog, we’ll discuss how immigrants have and are continuing to shape Canadian society.  Specifically, the impact international students are having on Canada and its policies.

In a media release back in July 2012, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) said international students are enriching “our university campuses with their cultures, languages and unique perspectives.  Along with study-abroad experiences, learning and living alongside students from around the world helps Canadian students gain the kind of global knowledge and awareness that is so highly valued by today’s employers.”

Going one step further, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (FATDC) published a report on their website back in 2008 projecting the importance of attracting International students to the Canadian economy as a quote a “priority.”  In May 2012, Foreign Affairs FATDC published another report.  Stats from that report tell us that the longer students stay in Canada, the more they contribute to Canada’s economy.  The study identifies that students are mainly coming from China and South Korea.

Attracting international students to Canada also attracts trade between Canada and those countries represented (in addition to China and South Korea), bridging gap based on politics, foreign policies, language, culture, religion, etc. all uniting for a common purpose: high quality education and future employment/business opportunities.

Fitting In. Being in a new culture with a different language can be frightening to some and downright lonely and isolating to others.  Back in 2013, the Global and Mail published an article on what colleges and universities are actively doing to make their international students feel at home – be more comfortable in their skin, in a foreign country with, sometimes, an often unfamiliar culture.  The Globe and Mail writes, “…And with greater numbers of students arriving from abroad each year, and millions of federal dollars driving an ambition to double Canada’s international enrollment by 2022, more schools are trying to match their recruiting efforts with robust programs to help students settle.” Universities like the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus and University of British Columbia are examples.

Impressions.  As international students continue to choose Canada as place to pursue their studies, it will put pressure on educational institutions to become more competitive with course and program offerings (quality and quantity), and tuition affordability for both international and domestic students.  It will also force the Canadian government to provide more opportunities for internationals students to find opportunities and more incentives to Canadian employers to want to hire international students to work in Canada.  If not, Canada could be seen as a “money-grabber” or “mill-country,” due to immigration status, language and cultural barriers. By extension, hopes are that this will put pressure on the Canadian government, the three (3) employment sectors, and others involved in the training, hiring and recruitment process(es) to acknowledge the international education, training and knowledge which immigrants can bring and bring to this country.



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