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Most International Students Determined To Study In Canada Despite COVID-19

Sixty-nine per cent of international students in a recent survey say the COVID-19 is not stopping them from pursuing their post-secondary education abroad.

That being said, some international students would still prefer the conventional face-to-face study experience over e-learning, according to the survey published by international education specialists at IDP Connect.

Majority of the 6,900 international student applicants surveyed intend to begin their studies as planned. Only five (5) per cent said they would no longer continue studying.

Majority of the participants were from China, Bangladesh and India, among other Asian countries. The destination countries of these students were Canada, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

The majority of students said they would prefer to defer their study plans until face-to-face classes resumes, mainly because the online option lacks the international experience and exposure most were hoping to gain.

The CEO of IDP Connect, Simon Emmett, said that just over fifty-four (54) per cent of participants, would be willing to defer their studies up to twelve (12) months or less before pursuing other options.

“31% of respondents said they would be willing to commence their course online and move to face-to-face classes at a later date, but by far the greatest preference was to defer to January 2021 if this meant face-to-face classes would be possible,” Emmett stated in a media release.

Based on the results, IDP connect recommended that post-secondary institutions provide clarity on how and when face-to-face learning will resume, and to prepare for large group of students commencing face-to-face studies from January to May, 2021.

Survey participants got to rank study destination countries on a scale of 1-10 based on their pre-conceived perceptions.

Though Canada and Australia were the preferred destination nations of the overwhelming majority of student participants, Canada was highly regarded for its economic stability and welfare of international students. Canada was also seen as having the most relaxed travel restrictions.

Canadian Universities Activities To Resume As Coronavirus Restrictions Loosens

As Canadian provinces start relaxing its coronavirus measures, some universities are also opening their facilities.

McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, will begin the first stage of its phase-in to operation on May 11, allowing some on-campus researchers to resume work. Researchers will have to follow the university’s directives, which includes compliance to safety protocols, being prepared to close down in case of changes at the institutions or government level, among others.

The Université du Québec à Montréal is also welcoming back researchers. They didn’t , however, specify which ones exactly, just that their work may require them to be physically present on campus, and working from home is still an option.

The Prince Edward Island University will allow researchers, faculty, and graduate students to carry out research on campus as of May 25.

They are also allowing some principal staffs and the management team to meet on campus, while encouraging or physical or social distancing and working from home when possible.

The second phase is expected to begin June 15, upon evaluation of the first phase, where they may increase the number of people allowed on campus. The third phase, another expansion, is arranged to begin August 1, where they will prepare for the fall academic session.

How Canada Is Helping International Students During COVID-19

International students are extremely important to Canada’s economy and society. The 640,000 international students in Canada help to create a lively learning environment on campuses across the country.

They also contribute some $22 billion to the economy every year which supports around 200,000 jobs. Recognizing that foreign students have also been impacted by coronavirus disruptions, Canada has been announcing diverse measures to help the international students already in the country, and those students who would like to come to Canada soon.

Recent, the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the number of working hours allowed to international students from 20 to 40 for certain occupations. Which means International students working in Ten (10) priority sectors that are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus outbreak are able to work more than twenty (20) hours per week until August 31.

The federal government also launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to provide financial support to those in Canada who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. The CERB offers $500 per week for up to sixteen (16) weeks to eligible workers. International students who meet the CERB’s eligibility requirement may receive such income support.

The province of Quebec will automatically extend the Quebec Acceptance Certificates of international students if they are set to expire before Dec. 31, 2020.

Lastly, In early April, IRCC announced that international students who were approved for study permits to begin their program in Canada in May or June will be able to commence their course online without affecting their eligibility to eventually apply for a post-graduate work permit. The PGWP eligibility of international students already in Canada will not be affected by the online programs they are taking in the absence of in-class instructions.