The latest survey from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) highlights the challenges and opportunities faced by international students in Canada. These are “from pre-arrival planning through study and post-graduate phases.” The study shows that Canada’s perceived safety is a major draw for international students.
Highlights of the Survey
CBIE is Canada’s international education association which includes members from school boards, colleges, language schools, institutes, polytechnics, and universities. This time it was the 6th year CBIE has conducted its International Student Survey (ISS), and the highlights of it are:
- This year the survey involved the participation of 67 institutions across Canada.
- Around 40,000 international students from multiple source countries participated in the survey between October & December 2021.
- It showed that most of the students are satisfied with their experience of studying in Canada.
- There are several competitive advantages for Canada in 2022 and the most powerful being its reputation for being safe.
- Also, most would recommend Canada for abroad studies to other international students.
Top Reasons for Wanting to Study in Canada
The Survey disclosed several competitive advantages for Canada in 2022. The most influential is its reputation for being safe (79%). International students have ranked safety and tolerance higher even than those related to the work or immigration policies that have helped Canada to become a top tier of study abroad destinations in recent years, as illustrated in the following image.
Different levels of Significance of International Students
CBIE has written broadly about the importance of building Student-centered attractive university websites and results from this survey highlight that point. The different resources assume different levels of importance according to the country of origin. For example, Students from China are highly influenced by peer recommendations relative to Indian or French students, students from France are likely to consult a school’s website, and students from India are more likely to seek the advice of consultants.
Students generally satisfied with arrival services
Most international students were comfortable with their experience of arriving in Canada and comfortable with campus life. Not even the difficulty and strangeness of quarantining due to the pandemic became a real problem. At the same time, survey results reveal that Canadian universities could do more to welcome students at airports and on-campus, and help them move into residence.
Only about 3 students out of 10 said they were “very satisfied” with the arrival services of their student experience. First impressions count for a lot, so it is important to ensure that universities are putting their best foot forward during these initial moments by presenting themselves as an institution that can be fully trusted.
Many Experience Challenges in Finding Employment
The report notes that a substantial number of respondents attributed their difficulties finding work to their incapability to understand the expectations of Canadian employers and to their future employers being unfamiliar with regulations for hiring international students.
CBIE says, “These findings point to where institutions can play a more proactive role, which might include institutions providing expanded job readiness training for international students and ensuring a gender focus in this training” adding to that, it said, “ Institutions may also consider increased outreach to employers and community groups about how to hire international students or develop information products on hiring rules that international students can share with prospective employers.”
Many International students carry long-term plans in their mind when they decide to study in Canada.
- More than four students in 10 want to work and then immigrate;
- More than a quarter of students want to work, then continue to further studies;
- 1 in 5 students plan to continue studying at their Canadian university;
- 18% of students intend to work in Canada for 3 years before returning to their home country.
Highlighting the huge importance of the Post-Graduate Work Permit(PGWP) to Canadian institutions’ recruitment arsenal, close to three-quarters of the more than 40,000 international students surveyed plan to apply for PGWP to allow them to look for employment in Canada for up to 3 years. Another 6 students out of 10 (59.4%) intend to apply for PR(Permanent Residency).