Nova Scotia
An increasing number of international students are choosing to stay in Nova Scotia post-graduation. Source: Unsplash/Elyse Turton

Canada is among the world’s most popular study abroad destinations, buoyed by numerous factors including its quality education, diverse communities and pathways to migration.

Provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec have typically attracted high volumes of students.

Unsurprisingly, international education is a large contributor to the Canadian economy.

According to data, international students in Canada spent an estimated CA$21.6 billion on tuition, accommodation and other expenses in 2018 and sustained close to 170,000 jobs for Canadians in 2016. 

The government notes that educational expenditures by international students have a greater impact on Canada’s economy than exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft. 

“Between 2014 and 2018, the number of international students in Canada increased by 68 percent. In 2018, a total of 721,205 international students at all levels studied in Canada – the largest number ever,” it said.

The rise of Nova Scotia

It’s not one of the top locations among international students today, the tide may soon be changing for the eastern province of Nova Scotia. 

The province currently attracts some 17,835 international students, while reports note that an increasing number of students are staying on after graduation. 

Halifax Today reported that the province’s retention of international students has surpassed the 10 percent goal set out in the 2014 Ivany Report.

They said in 2018, the most recent year with information available, retention is 12.6 percent, up from 9.4 percent in 2017.

Speaking to NEWS 95.7’s The Sheldon MacLeod Show, Peter Halpin, Executive Director of the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), was quoted saying by the report: “Our universities are working very hard and applying more time, energy and resources at attracting international students.”

“The survey work we’ve done among international students indicates overall that they’re having a very positive experience in terms of not just their academic experience but also their social experience.”

The AAU is a voluntary association of the 16 universities in the Atlantic region and in the West Indies which offer programmes leading to a degree or have degree-granting status.

Meanwhile, data from the AAU show that Nova Scotia has over 11,817 international students enroled for 2019/20, up from 9,512 last academic year.

“Year over year, it’s an over 24 percent increase in the number of students,” said Halpin, adding that the numbers have been steadily increasing since 2017.

He said one university that’s seen a particularly large increase is Cape Breton University, which more than doubled its number of international students this year, particularly those from India.

Canada’s International Education Strategy notes that more than 50 percent of Canada’s international students come from India and China. 

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