international students Canada
There are more international students in Canada every year because of its pull factors. Source: Andrik Langfield/Unsplash

Canada is rising as a top study abroad destination, while the neighbouring US has seen a continuous decline in new international student enrolment over the past few years.

Why exactly are students attracted to Canada, besides top-notch academics? There are many factors at play when a student chooses to study abroad.

Of course, the academic programme and quality of the university is major, but there are, of course, other important things to consider.

It seems like Canada checks all the right boxes, as international student enrolment has gone up a whopping 154 percent from 2010-2018, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Students.

Here’s what makes Canada so attractive to international students.

Easier pathway to migration

A major draw of studying abroad is the opportunity to work and possibly settle down later on, but certain countries are making it harder for international students to do so after graduation.

In Canada however, migration is welcome and even encouraged. According to Y-Axis, “Research by Statistics Canada shows that Canada is in immense need of immigrants due to its ageing population and low birth rate.

“The research also shows that international students have better chances of success in the Canadian labour market. Most international students are young, well-educated, have Canadian work experience and are proficient in either English or French. Half of all the international students in Canada look forward to settling down in the country eventually.”

International students can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit which enables them to live and work in Canada for up to three years, depending on your study programme.

There’s also the Federal Express Entry Programme, the most popular immigration pathway in Canada. International students in Canada gain additional points when they apply through this programme.

Along with this, there are “numerous provincial nomination pathways that are exclusively for international students in Canada”, according to Y-Axis.

The CBIE International Student Survey 2018 found that “60 percent of international students plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada.”

More affordable tuition fees

Tuition fees are generally lower in Canada compared to other top study abroad destinations like the UK and US.

According to data from Statistics Canada, “The average tuition fees for undergraduate international students in 2019/20 are CA$29714 (~US$22,500) per year.

“Humanities courses tend to be cheaper(averaging $5,542), while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive (an average of CA$21,717 (~US$16,446) for dentistry and $14,162 (~US$10,724) for Medicine.

“Fees for business and management courses are lower than the national average, at CA$6,827 (~US$5,170) per year.”

In comparison, the average tuition fees at a public, four-year college in the US for international students (out-of-state fees) was reportedly USD $37,430 for the 2018/2019 year.

A welcoming, safe and diverse community

Canadians are very welcoming and tolerant towards migrants. The country is very diverse so international students don’t feel discriminated against and adjust well into society.

Crime rates are also low and it’s a very safe country compared to the US, where violence and shootings are more common. In fact, Canada is ranked No.7 in the World’s Safest Countries league table by SafeAround.

Working part-time while studying

Some countries like the US restrict students from working off-campus. They can only apply for available jobs on-campus, but those can be limited and pay lesser wages than working elsewhere.

In Canada, international students are allowed to work part-time off-campus while studying, as long as they have a valid student permit and are a full-time student.

You’re allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week which is considered part-time, but you can work full-time during breaks like the Winter and Summer holidays.

This is very appealing to students who need to support themselves while studying or make extra money to cover their student expenses.

Even for those who don’t particularly need the money, it’s a great way to gain work experience while studying.

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