Updated: May 14
Canada is undeniably one of the most sought-after destinations for higher education globally. The unmatched standards of education and great living conditions make it desirable not only for indigenous students but also for a huge pool of international students that flock the country year after year.
But like everywhere else, the Covid crisis has shaken up normalcy in Canadian universities that are all set to begin the session for academic year 2021 soon. The hurdles along the path for international students looking to enter the country amidst the regulations are too many.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Covishield, and Johnson & Johnson are among the approved vaccines by Canada. Foreign students who are about to begin the academic year 2021 in Canada, prefer having their vaccination certificate added to their passport. But because an adequate gap needs to be maintained between the two doses, students who have taken the first dose are now worried about the timely availability of the second dose in their country. Fortunately, many universities in Canada are offering on-campus vaccination for students. Students arriving in Canada without vaccination will have 14 days to get the shots on-campus.
Flights and Quarantine
Since February 2021, a handful of operating international flights to Canada can land only in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. International students flying to any of these cities will have to quarantine themselves in a government approved hotel nearby. Needless to say, the cost of quarantining is borne by the student. What’s even more painful is another additional layer of quarantining for students who have their colleges located outside the city of arrival. In such a case, he/she will have to quarantine again before entering the campus. The hassle and the expense are too much to handle for the immigrating students. That’s why most preferred to take a step back and deferred their admissions.
Having said that, the Canadian government realizes the significant drop in the percentage of international students to the country and the importance of easing the arrival process for them. As a recent development, there are talks about exempting the fully vaccinated international students arriving in Canada from federal quarantine.
Even though there’s a huge drop in the percentage of international students applying for Canadian universities this fall, students are worried that visa backlogs will derail their plans of being in Canada before the commencement of the session in September. However, Canadian immigration claims that it has been relentlessly working towards processing student applications.
Rays of Hope
While the hurdles are numerous, Canadian universities realize the value of immigrant students both in terms of the revenue they generate as well as the chance of them residing permanently in Canada as prospective skilled labor. The universities along with the government are taking historic measures to make life easier for the foreign students. Not only are they providing counseling for those reeling under stress and anxiety, the government has also set aside funds to aid these students in their mandatory quarantine period.
In addition, for students worried about not being able to join their classes on time, online classes are being organized. The Covid-crisis has given rise to a blended form of learning in higher education, online as well as in-classroom.
Canada has always been the warmest and the most welcoming country in the world for immigrants. But for students, the country has made its message quite clear- ‘come, study and start a new exciting chapter of your lives in Canada’. That’s why, Canadian universities have not only kept their international program open, but are also improving them at an unprecedented pace.
As keen as Canada is to welcome the new batch, students too are excited to set foot in the country as the new academic year 2021 begins. Despite the hurdles, there’s a lot of optimism in the air. While many things are still unpredictable, with government guidelines changing frequently, we are hopeful that 2021 will make the situation turn a new leaf especially for the international students.
The Writers Qi team keeps a tab on the frequently changing weather in the world of higher education. Book a consultation with us to choose the best destination for your undergrad course, understand what it takes to get into the best college, and earn the most competent scholarships. Come, write your success story with us.