Universities in Ontario to Welcome Back Students for Fall 2021 Semester

Source: Ontario’s Universities

Through a statement released by the Presidents and Principals of Ontario’s universities, we are learning more about which institutions intend to offer in-person learning during the upcoming Fall 2021 semester. Twenty universities across the Canadian province of Ontario were highlighted in the message, including:

Each institution listed will be working in collaboration with regional and provincial public health units to make sure they are operating in strict accordance with up-to-date medical guidelines. They will also partner with different levels of government so vaccination programs can be expanded to campuses for students, staff, and faculty.

Higher learning institutions returning to on-campus learning will no doubt approach the return of students differently. Plans may vary between institutions and it is important that students know that the situation is subject to change depending on COVID-19 infection rates.

The cautious approach universities have taken to this point and adherence to the advice of experts leaves us feeling confident in their ability to succeed though. The time to study abroad again is almost here and Canada Campus Visits can’t wait to help you begin your journey!

Overseas Students Want International Experience When They Study Abroad

Source: IDP Connect

In spite of the obstacles that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown in the way of international students, their desire to study abroad remains strong. A survey of 6,000 students planning to travel internationally to further their studies has provided new insight on what their plans are going forward.

Most of the respondents still intend to study abroad as expected with the majority of them aspiring to gain international experience during their studies. Just 10% of students said that they were willing to complete courses that lacked an on-campus aspect. However if an online course eventually offered an in-person component, 43% would be interested in it.

Being able to travel internationally to experience a new country is such an important factor to future overseas students that 39% of them would choose a higher learning institution in a different country if their original destination was not ready to resume classes in-person. 30% would even decline a scholarship if it meant they would be on campus earlier somewhere else.

With COVID-19 still looming, 55% of students claimed they were happy to get vaccinated before the start of a semester abroad and only 6% hope to delay their plans until vaccinations are not mandatory for international travel.

When asked about their perceptions of popular study abroad destinations, the students surveyed mainly cited Canada as their destination of choice due to government policies that welcome immigrants and international students.

The study makes clear that students still have an appetite to study abroad but courses from overseas institutions that they complete from their home country are not what they are looking for. They want the experience of living and working in a new country, like Canada, that has a history of embracing newcomers. Vaccine hesitancy is a factor to some with a number of students wanting more information on any potential risks. International students largely do not mind getting vaccinated though as long as it keeps them safe and lets them travel sooner.

Study Abroad Decisions Being Shaped by International Vaccine Rollouts

Source: ICEF

As COVID-19 vaccines are administered around the world, the urge to study abroad has returned to aspiring international students. Research shows that 19% of students hoped to begin their studies sooner than anticipated because of vaccines. Most students would even be willing to quarantine in their host country if it meant an end to them studying online from home.

56% of prospective overseas students surveyed also said that the way governments approached the coronavirus pandemic would impact where they chose to study abroad. This is expected to bode well for Canada as vaccination programs gain momentum across the provinces and territories. While the number of vaccines in the country struggled to meet demand in the early stages, current data indicates Canada is on the right track again. It is the hope of many colleges and universities that students from overseas see this improvement as well.

Institutions Increase Financial Aid to Attract International Students After Pandemic

Source: ICEF Monitor, International Language Academy of Canada

A current trend among higher education institutions is to make tuition more affordable for the international students that they are so eager to bring to their campuses. One example of a Canadian institution trying to entice overseas students is the International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC).

Students enrolled in ILAC’s KISS virtual classes are able to earn KISS dollars for every Canadian dollar it costs. KISS dollars can then be used to offset the cost of future ILAC courses in Vancouver or Toronto.

ILAC also announced a partnership with Air Canada that will reduce the cost of international travel for students with a study permit. Once enrolled at ILAC or one of their partner institutions, students will be able to get 15% off the cost of their Air Canada flight.

Both deals from ILAC are available until the end of 2021 and additional details can be found on their website.

One on One Webinar: A Year Into COVID

The third session in our One on One webinar series featured a round-table discussion with representatives from higher education institutions across Canada:

After a year of lockdown measures and travel restrictions, the conversation revolved around how institutions in different parts of Canada have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and what their outlook is for the future. Moderated by Canada Campus Visits President Husain F. Neemuchwala, points mentioned include:

  • Challenges institutions should expect to face as students return
  • Changes that educators have made to maintain the student experience
  • Steps that must be taken before institutions re-open and students are back on campus

We and our partners, Agents.CARE and the Canada India Education Council, thank all of the attendees who made this webinar a success. Canada Campus Visits is proud to play a role in facilitating such engaging and insightful discussions.

people looking at laptop computer

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.

crop smiling freelancer working on laptop at cafe table outdoors

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?

Post-Secondary Students in Canada Facing Financial Pressure

Source: Global News

As college and university students in Canada prepare for the end of the Fall semester, the financial impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more apparent. A recent Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) study found that 70% of students had either lost their jobs or were working reduced hours.

“Students are really feeling the pressure especially now and are worried about what’s to come next year, as well as what’s already built up and accumulated this year,” CFS Deputy Chairperson Nicole Brayiannis said.

The University of Saskatchewan has provided students with some of the financial assistance they need in this time of uncertainty. According to Patti McDougall, Vice-Provost of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience, the university has shared in excess of $1.3 million in funding to students in the middle of March 2020. This aid aims to help students afford expenses such as groceries and rent. McDougall stated that much of this funding went to international students who were unable to apply for government aid programs like the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

While the federal government continues to promote programs like the CESB, the CFS claims that by not investing in students through more direct means, they may be financially harming the country in the years to come. Brayiannis said, “If we don’t start to act now on issues that we’re already seeing building and exasperating at this moment, we’re not going to be able to fix ourselves long term.”

COVID-19 Guide for International Students Arriving in Canada

The federal government has released a guide for international students who are coming to Canada, and navigating travel restrictions. It’s called “COVID-19: Guide for International Students in Canada Arriving from Abroad.” The government outlines the roles and responsibilities of designated learning institutions (DLIs), provinces and territories and the government of Canada in supporting international students. The guide is aligned with health advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Any international student or their accompanying family members with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board their flight. If symptoms show up upon arrival in Canada, a health Canada officer will perform a screening and the person may not be allowed to enter, or transported to a hospital for a medical examination. International students are allowed to come to Canada to go to school at an institution that has a coronavirus readiness plan. The list of approved institutions are kept up-to-date on the Government of Canada website.

International students need a study permit or study permit approval, but this is not a travel authorization in and of itself. IRCC will communicate with students once the travel authorization has been granted. This authorization may be cancelled if there are any changes in circumstances at their school, or the province or territory.

In order to be given access to come to Canada, international students need to show border services officer that they are entering Canada for non-discretionary purposes, and that they are studying at one of the approved DLIs, among other requirements. International students may be refused entry if they do not meet these requirements.

Immediate family members may be allowed to accompany international students. This would include students’ spouses, dependent children, or their legal parent or guardian if they are a minor. Family members must also show border officers that they are travelling for a non-optional, non-discretionary reason, such as helping the student get established in Canada.

International students and their accompanying family members must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. They need to wear a mask or face covering during travel, including to their place of quarantine. Before coming to Canada students need to make a quarantine plan. Border officers will also consider this plan, when determining if the student can enter the country. While in quarantine, students should ensure that they have individual accommodations, and that they monitor themselves for symptoms. They should avoid public and shared spaces. They also need to arrange to have access to basic necessities like food and medicine. In addition to physical distancing, they need to avoid contact with people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults, and people with underlying medical conditions, or who are immunocompromised.

Places with shared living accommodations, such as hostels, are not acceptable for quarantine or isolation. International students living with other people, such as with a host family or homestay provider, will need to self-isolate from other members in the accommodation or home. This means having a separate bedroom and washroom if possible. It also means physical distancing from other household members and frequently disinfecting surfaces.

Minors must also undergo mandatory quarantine. Parents or guardians must ensure that appropriate arrangements have been made for their child before they leave for their home country. Also, international students are asked to confirm their eligibility for heath-care coverage and Canada. If they are not covered, they can get private insurance that includes COVID-19 coverage before departure.