On January 22, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, announced the new two-year cap on international student visas.
He confirmed that the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will only 360,000 study permits would be issued in 2024, a 35% reduction from the year before.
“In recent years, the integrity of the international student system has been threatened. Some institutions have significantly increased their intakes to drive revenues, and more students have been arriving in Canada without the proper support they need to succeed,” said the Canadian immigration department.
“Rapid increases in the number of international students arriving in Canada also put pressure on housing, healthcare and other services.”
This cap does not extend to study permit renewals or students enrolled in master’s, PhD, or other postgraduate programmes.
But each province and territory will be given a quote of the total. This will be apportioned according to population to result in “much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth.”
As that quote goes, it won’t be as easy to get into Canadian universities in 2024.
As one of the most friendly countries in the world, attracting thousands of international students each year, this new ruling is set to affect many study abroad plans.
Don’t worry if you’ve set your sights on applying to Canada this year or next, though.
The list of most friendly countries in the world still has many who’ll be happy to welcome more international students.
Least friendly countries in the world
Before we get into the most friendly countries in the world, let’s take a look at some of the least friendly countries.
Russia, unfortunately, is one of the least friendly countries for international students. And it’s not just because of the cold temperatures — which have officially dropped as low as−67.7 °C (−89.9 °F).
What’s just as uncool is the language barrier. Most locals speak Russian and aren’t fluent in English. This can make it hard for students to connect with the local community.
Venezuela also makes the list as one of the least friendly countries in the world.
The economic and political turmoil in the country has created an environment that is far from welcoming. Once vibrant cities like Caracas now bear the scars of economic hardship.
While you can get by for less than US$600 per month (without rent), basic goods and services are reportedly unstable and have been scarce.
6 most friendly countries in the world for international students
According to US News, Australia ranks as the most friendly country in the world. As such, it comes as no surprise that the country welcomed around 768,113 international students last year.
Tourists and students love Australia for many reasons. Universities are well-respected and the cities are filled with festivals and fun things to do.
Then, there’s its people. Warm and laid-back, they’re good company to spend several years with as you earn a degree.
When Sky News asked locals if Australians need more migrants, they had replies like “Yes,” “Probably to fill in the workforce” and that “some parts of Australia do need more migrants.”
You can see that good-natured approach to life in their emphasis on spending quality family time outdoors and exploring many activities, such as surfing at Bondi Beach or snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.
Sold? Say g’day to the best universities in Australia for international students:
- University of Melbourne
- University of Sydney
- University of Queensland
New Zealand is not only one of the most friendly countries in the world but also one of the most beautiful.
From Lake Tekapo to Hobbiton, you will find many beautiful places that will take your breath away.
According to US News, New Zealand’s warm and welcoming environment earns it a spot among the top 10 most friendly countries in the world.
The Kiwi charm is obvious from the moment you arrive. Locals are relaxed, often described as “very kind, not rushed, and have time for you” — sounds like the kind of people you’ll want around when you’re facing exam stress.
The Kiwis go above and beyond, offering a level of hospitality like no other. It’s common to find complete strangers offering a place to stay, even if they just met.
The country’s genuine friendliness and natural beauty make it an unforgettable experience and one of the best places to study abroad.
Ready to achieve your study abroad dreams in New Zealand? Here are the best universities to do so:
- The University of Auckland
- University of Otago
- Massey University
Did you know Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles” because of its warm and welcoming locals?
Venture beyond the tourist hotspots, and you’ll discover why tourists and students love Thailand and its people so much.
In bustling cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you’ll meet many different cultures while you enjoy delicious street food and local crafts.
Last March, the government even launched a free e-guidebook to help tourists find Muslim-friendly spots.
Though not the most popular study-abroad destination, Thailand is home to a number of reputable universities with international programmes.
In fact, this has led to an increase in the number of international students enrolled in the country’s universities.
If you are looking to study in Thailand, consider these universities:
- Chulalongkorn University
- Mahidol University
- Chiang Mai University
Italy hosts over 90,000 international students each year, and it is no surprise why many are attracted to this country.
Italy is undeniably one of the most friendly countries for international students, offering both warm hospitality and a rich culture.
Exchange student Gheed Hussam from Abu Dhabi became close friends with one Nicoletta, who is in her 70s, according to Yahoo! News, after meeting her during a horse race in Siena.
The “local grandma” cooked homemade meals and helped Hussam improve her Italian.
“I arrived during Palio and there was a huge amount of people, so I was alone and a bit scared. “She [Nicoletta] looked at me and smiled so I asked her what was going on and she was so kind to me.”
Whether it’s striking up a conversation at a local café, participating in community events, or simply enjoying the lively streets of Italy, you will feel a sense of belonging.
In cities like Milan and Bologna, you will find quality education and a vibrant student life.
Kickstart your study abroad journey at the best universities in Italy for international students:
- University of Bologna
- Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
- Sapienza University of Rome
As one of the most friendly countries in the world, the Irish are known for their friendliness.
Whether it’s a casual chat at the local pub or a friendly exchange on the busy streets of Dublin, you’ll find friendly locals all around.
Beyond the warm people, you will also find quality education here. Ireland is home to world-class universities and colleges, with institutions like Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork consistently ranking among the best.
But that’s not all Ireland has to offer. Imagine studying with a view of the Cliffs of Moher or the lush green countryside and historic castles.
Interested? Check out the best universities in Ireland for international students:
- Trinity College Dublin
- University College Dublin
- University of Galway
When you choose to study in Finland, you are not only choosing one of the most friendly countries in the world but also the happiest country in the world.
There’s a lot of social support for people who are down and out; you can trust public institutions and the country is pretty rich.
These make the Finns pretty content, if not happy.
While the Finns have a stereotype for being cold, not smiling much and hard to get across compared to the more extroverted Americans, they’re welcoming in many other ways.
“Finland has been incredibly peaceful,” says YouTuber Chico Muya. “I haven’t had anyone treat me differently or act weirdly towards me.”
Finns take care of people — including those who aren’t from Finland.
Here are the best universities in Finland to choose from:
- University of Helsinki
- Aalto University
- University of Turku