Dec 4, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

As Canada continues to see a spike in international student interest, many people are quick to write off the trend to “the Trump effect.” However, politics is far from the only reason driving students from all over the world to look to Canada for higher education. Read on for a roundup of reasons why Canada is major up-and-comer on the international education scene.

1. “The Trump Effect”

Okay, so we said politics wasn’t the only reason, but we’d be remiss not to mention it here. As one American student with plans to study in Canada told CBC/Radio-Canada, "If we live in a country where so many people could elect Donald Trump, then that's not a country I want to live in.” 

Fears about immigration policies, safety, and potential deportation under the new administration, meanwhile, may be a deterrent to international students, while Canada’s commitment to tolerance and non-discrimination offers an appealing alternative. In fact, Canada claimed an impressive eighth-place finish on the Institute for Economics & Peace’s “Global Peace Index 2017.”

2. Return on Investment

Students looking for more bang for their buck are likely to find it in Canada. For starters, tuition fees are lower in Canada than they are in other English-speaking countries -- starting around CAN$15,000 per year for international students, according to International Student Insurance. Additionally, academic and athletic scholarships are available to offset the cost of studying in Canada.

Factor in Canada’s comparatively low cost of living, and international students can also expect to come out ahead in room, board, entertainment and other living expenses. According to HSBC’s research, “The Value of Education: Springboard for Success,”  the annual cost of living for students in Canada is $13,201, compared to $18,012, $20,292, and $18,696 in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, respectively.

3. Its Astounding Outdoors

From hiking and rock climbing to skiing and waterskiing, students who love the great outdoors will find an abundance of amazing things to see and do in Canada. There’s a reason why voters awarded Canada a top spot in Rough Guides’ rankings of most beautiful countries. Concludes the site, “In a close call for second place is Canada: home of lumberjacks, beavers and maple syrup (if you believe everything you read). But there’s much more on offer in Canada, not least its mixture of raw beauty and majestic landscapes.”

Enthuses Buzzfeed, meanwhile, “The Canadian Rockies are justifiably famous as amongst the most beautiful in the world. The stunning view of the Twelve Apostles from Moraine Lake in Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful in the world, Vancouver is one of the world's loveliest cities, the Baffin island mountains are known by few but are totally unmissable travel highlights, the country has the longest coastline in the world, and as featured in a recent list the mind-bending Sam Ford Fjord is seen by some as the world's most impressive fjord on planet earth! And you thought they only had Bieber?”

4. Job Potential

Students looking to live and work in Canada are also drawn to its liberal immigration policies and programs.

Explains CIC News, “International graduates of Canadian institutions may obtain a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after their studies, allowing them to work anywhere in Canada, for any employer, for up to three years. The PGWP program was created in order to attract international students to Canada, and few countries with equivalent education systems offer such open and advantageous work opportunities to international graduates….Work experience gained on a PGWP can contribute towards an international graduate’s eligibility for permanent immigration programs, and can provide a way to remain in Canada and work while an application for permanent residence is in process.”

5. High Quality

Last but certainly not least is the world-class quality of Canada’s higher education institutions. Canadian degrees are recognized around the world as the equivalent of other leaders in the sphere, including the US and the UK. A whopping 26 Canadian institutions are considered among the world’s best with six finishing in the top 200, according to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2018,

Of course, all the benefits in the world are meaningless without satisfaction to go along with them. The good news? Canada comes out on top in this measure, too: According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, more than 90 percent of international students in Canada reported being satisfied/very satisfied with their experiences there, and a whopping 95 percent would recommend Canada as a study abroad destination to others.





Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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