Vancouver has long attracted tens of thousands of overseas students each year from Asian countries like China, India, Japan, Korean, and Singapore.
The Philippines now looks to be the next recruitment hotspot.
The number of Filipinos going to Canada to study has increased at “quite an impressive” rate, according to the Canadian ambassador to the Philippines.
“We’ve had a doubling of the number of Filipino students in the past two years,” said Ambassador Neil Reeder speaking to The Inquirer.
Reeder was at Tenement Elementary School in Taguig City recently for the Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela program, which gathers community members to repair and clean up schools.
“I can kind of feel a growing interest in Canada as a study destination because it (offers) good quality (education), it’s safe and it’s multicultural.” – Neil Reeder
According to the Canadian diplomat, Ottawa issues nearly 3,000 student visas a year. “So that’s quite impressive.”
Reeder added that while there was obviously a big flow of Filipino guest workers, caregivers and temporary labour to Canada, he could see that the “student flow was picking up as well.”
He said Canada was “now the second most popular destination for (International School of Manila students) after the United States.”
“I can kind of feel a growing interest in Canada as a study destination because it (offers) good quality (education), it’s safe and it’s multicultural,” he said.
BC Booming With International Students
University of British Columbia for instance, according to Reeder, has ‘thousands and thousands’ of undergraduates from the Asia Pacific so Asians who study there “feel at home.”
Reeder added that studying in Canada was “cost effective.” There were no private universities there and tuition was “kept down.”
“So for foreign students, it can be as little as half the cost of going to study with some of the other competitors,” he said.
The Canadian government also offers students the opportunity to study and work at the same time, unlike other countries which require students to go back to their home countries between courses or after they obtain their degrees.
“We want students to stay. So you can get a work visa and actually work up to three years and that time can count … toward residency if you decide to become a citizen.” – Neil Reeder
As a result in British Columbia, the international student population has boomed tremendously over the past decade. Where traditionally universities and colleges in Vancouver had large international student populations, now more remotely located schools in the Interior and North also have large foreign student numbers.
A significant number of international students who graduate with Canadian degrees go on to become citizens, adding to the international ‘brain gain’ inflow into the country from overseas countries.
“We give work visas to students now. So in between classes you can study. In the summer you can study, you can study for up to three years. We want students to stay. So you can get a work visa and actually work up to three years and that time can count … toward residency if you decide to become a citizen,” Reeder said.
He said the Canadian Embassy conducted two student fairs in the last six months, with the one in Makati attended by around 3,000 students and parents.
He said the Commission on Higher Education signed an agreement with Canada’s Bureau of International Education in a bid to “facilitate student exchanges in both directions, professor exchanges, academic linkages.”
Published in Partnership with The Filipino Post.