Canadian Universities Return to In-Person Learning in September

Source: Study International

As COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to Canadians across the country, a sense of normalcy is beginning to return. Universities, colleges, and other designated learning institutions now have the confidence to plan for Fall and Winter semesters that involve students on campus.

Institutions in different provinces must follow their own public safety guidelines before welcoming students back to classes at pre-pandemic levels. As a result of this, the re-opening of campuses is happening faster in some parts of Canada and more gradually in others.

While McGill University and the University of British Columbia expect the upcoming Fall semester to feature in-person classes, hybrid classroom models are being proposed elsewhere. Both the University of Windsor and the University of Ottawa will use online and regular classes when they welcome students again.

We encourage you to read the original article to see what more institutions intend to do later this year. If there are specific universities or colleges you are interested in, be sure to visit their websites for the most accurate information.

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Immigrants Increasingly Turning to Smaller Canadian Cities

Source: Study International

The recent surge in popularity of Canada as a study abroad destination suggests that people from around the world see the country as a great place to live and learn. Cities with and near major universities and colleges have often been thought to benefit most from this influx of overseas learners. However new data from Ryerson University indicates that smaller cities across Canada are witnessing an even greater rise in the number of new Canadians moving in.

Major cities like Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Toronto saw their combined number of new immigrants rise 9% from 2013-2019. In the same time period, places like Regina, Saskatoon, Fredericton, and Halifax saw an increase of 45%.

These smaller cities all have universities that are highly rated and boast scholarships for international students as well as increasingly multicultural communities. The cost of living in less dense parts of Canada is also lower than in the major metropolises.

The data also make sense because provinces like Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have all recently introduced plans to address changes in the job market and deal with potential skills shortages. Immigrants choosing these provinces, as opposed to British Columbia or Ontario for example, suggest that these plans are well on their way to success.

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The Pros & Cons of Studying Abroad

A recent post by Students Explore Australia looked at many of the benefits and drawbacks of the study abroad experience. For some, traveling to a new country can be something they have looked forward to for years. Others though might be hesitant to leave their friends and family before going to a part of the world they barely know.

For a brief taste of the article, here are a few points to be made for each side of the overseas education argument:

Pros

  • New outlooks and perspectives
  • Adventures and life experiences
  • Improved salary/career prospects

Cons

  • Homesickness
  • Tuition costs
  • Culture shock

To read the full post, we encourage you to check it out on the SEA website. It’s full of information and insight that will prove useful to any student considering studying abroad to further their education.

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Canada Named Top Study Abroad Destination for Second Year in a Row

Source: Educations.com

A new survey of 2,700 international students names Canada as the best country for studying abroad for the second consecutive year. While other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA are typically thought of as leading places to earn an international education, overseas learners chose Canada once again.

Students cited the multicultural population and tolerant society as reasons that made Canada so appealing. The Canadian government has made diversity a priority and people around the world have taken notice. Nature was also a selling point for some students. Yes, winters can be cold but the beauty of the Northern Lights in Alberta, Niagara Falls in Ontario or views of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are hard to ignore. Especially if you enjoy posting on social media.

Canadian colleges and universities have reputations as leaders in areas like STEM, Business, and Animation to name a few. With lower tuition costs than in other top countries, Canadian institutions have set themselves apart in the eyes of overseas students and will continue to welcome them for years to come.

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Manitoba to Attract International Students to Fill Skills Gap

Source: The PIE News

In a bid to prepare for future changes in the labour market, the Canadian province of Manitoba recently published their Skills, Talent and Knowledge strategy for post-secondary institutions. The government hopes to make sure that education and training programs suit the needs of industry while students in the province are able to work there after graduation.

The provincial government hopes to improve the reputation of Manitoba as a top-tier study abroad destination in Canada as well as among the prairie provinces. It is currently the fifth most popular Canadian province for overseas education. While more than 21,000 international students were at Manitoba institutions as of 2017, both Saskatchewan and Alberta recently put forth plans to increase their own numbers.

The federal government hopes that foreign learners discover these provinces so different Canadian communities can develop and benefit from all the things that students traveling from abroad have to offer. Current statistics show that students from other countries are most attracted to major Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. A rise in numbers in other parts of the country would offer more balanced population growth and a solution to potential talent shortages in the years to come.

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International Students Discuss Studying Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The thought of studying abroad during a global pandemic may seem daunting to many. However international students in countries around the world are managing as best they can while they pursue their higher education overseas. In the above video, THE Student asked five overseas students about their university experiences in the age of COVID-19.

The students highlighted a rage of topics from what the visa application process was like to advice on making friends in online lectures. They also shared their most important tips for anyone who is thinking about their own study abroad experience in the future.

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Questions to Ask on A Virtual Campus Tour

Source: Study International

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for international students to attend campus tours overseas, the emergence of virtual campus tours has made it possible for them to still see what college and university campuses abroad are like.

It can be easy to visit a campus online and feel less engaged than you would if you were actually there in person. That is why Study International put together a list of topics to focus on during both online and offline campus tours.

  • Admissions: What should I know before beginning the application process?
  • Student Support: What services are available to students like me?
  • Programs/Courses: What makes my program at this institution different than at others?
  • Extracurricular Opportunities: What clubs can I join? Are there jobs available on campus?
  • Finances: How much does tuition cost? Are there any scholarships or bursaries I qualify for?
  • Accommodations: What is student life like when living in residence?
  • Career Prospects: Will a diploma/degree from this institution help my career after graduation?
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Relief for International Students As Canada Extends Work Permits Due to COVID-19

Beginning January 27, foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or soon-to-be-expired post-graduation work permit can apply for an 18-month extension

In a recent media release for the University of Toronto, author Yanan Wang interviewed Nana Sakyi, an international student from Ghana who recently completed a master’s degree in Canada. The article, dated January 27 2021, shed light on the apprehensions and nervousness of several International students like Sakyi, following a global pandemic that brought the world to a halt. 

In addition to health risks posed by the novel coronavirus, for international students the last several months were particularly uncertain because of the possibility that their work permits would run out before they find employment, putting their immigration status at risk.

Luckily, in an effort to ease the strain on international students who are graduating from post-secondary institutions amid the pandemic, the federal government recently announced a plan that will give them more time to find work. Foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or soon-to-be-expired post-graduation work permit can currently apply for an 18-month extension.

The policy seeks to help foreign nationals who are currently in Canada meet the requisite work hours to be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

“The work permit extension gives international graduates another year and a half to contribute to the Canadian workforce. That’s a huge benefit to Canada and the individual students who wish to take it up,” said Katherine Beaumont, senior director of global learning opportunities and international student success at U of T’s Centre for International Experience (CIE).

Beaumont added that the centre plans to make more international students aware of the new policy through alumni newsletters and the university’s career development resources. In response to a growing international student population and an increased need for guidance and advice on the documentation required to be an international student in Canada, U of T has increased the number of certificated international student immigration advisers based at CIE.  As a result, CIE has been able to increase immigration advising to students by a factor of four since the pandemic began – all while adding new ways to serve students, including online and phone appointments, webinars and drop-ins.

 “A lot of international students were very, very happy about this policy because this gives them the time to work towards starting the permanent residence process,” said Pooja Gupta, who earned her engineering master’s degree last year from U of T’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and serves as president of the school’s International Students’ Council.

“Canada’s immigration policies are what gives the country an edge in terms of attracting talent.”

Source: University of Toronto

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Past International Students in Canada Now Eligible for New Open Work Permit

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, international students who have recently graduated now face a difficult situation if they hold a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For these new graduates to apply for permanent residence in Canada, they are required to work a certain number of hours to gain experience. However with lockdown measures in place throughout so many communities, this is difficult to accomplish before the deadline.

The Government of Canada has acted to help international students by giving current and former PGWP holders the chance to apply for an open work permit that will be valid for 18 months. This decision aims to assist overseas students who either held or still hold a PGWP by letting them continue their job search in these uncertain times. Foreign nationals will be able to apply from January 27 to July 27, 2021.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino said, “Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”

In 2019, an excess of 58,000 graduates applied to immigrate to Canada and the government seeks to increase this number further in the years to come. It values study abroad students as not just new contributors to the economy but skilled immigrants who, with their top-tier Canadian education and work experience, can help the nation return to strength post-pandemic.

Canada Requires Negative COVID Tests From Incoming Travellers

Source: Transport Canada

The Canadian government has stated that as of January 7, 2021, all travellers entering Canada over the age of five must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. This rule applies to anyone planning on entering the country, from international students to Canadian citizens.

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. We need to continue to be vigilant, and we need to continue to take action to reduce the risks of spreading the virus by air travel. This new interim order will help protect Canadians and air travellers.”

Results have to be from either a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) test. The test also has to have been conducted no more than 72 hours before the flight. Upon entering Canada all entrants will still have to enter the required two-week quarantine, as outlined in the Canadian Quarantine Act.

According to Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, “These new measures do not replace any of the previous measures we have put in place to protect Canadians. All travellers must still quarantine for 14 days after they arrive unless explicitly exempt… If anyone doesn’t follow the quarantine requirements, they could face severe penalties.”

With international travel to Canada contributing to the rise of coronavirus cases and new, more contagious strains of the virus being discovered, it is hoped that these measures can help plank the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.