Top Four Challenges Faced by International Students

By RBC Modified on May 04, 2018
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And how to approach them.


Canada attracts students from all areas of the globe from China to India to Korea to France - the country is a multicultural haven. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, there were 266,620 international students enrolled across the country.

International students have high hopes when they enroll in a Canadian college or university. Many chose Canada because of the quality of the Canadian education system, but they do need to pay much higher tuition fees for it. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) estimates international students pay on average more than three times what domestic students pay in tuition.

Besides high fees, once international students are enrolled in a university or college, they still face a number of challenges. According to The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities paper International Education, Labour Market and Future Citizens: Prospects and Challenges for Ontario, here are the top four:

1. Feeling Alienated

Adjusting to living and studying in a new country can be difficult logistically, but the social aspect of not having a nearby support system can add to feelings of alienation among international students. Dee Singh, 22, is from Mumbai, India and is enrolled in a Health Science program at the University of British Columbia. The first year was tough, she says of the loneliness she felt. New food, new culture, even a different style of learning, but joining clubs and being active in the community helped me a lot.

Some tips to get socially active in the community:

  • Joining clubs or group fitness classes
  • Volunteering
  • Supporting local sports teams
  • Attending local events and festivals

Bonus: These activities can also provide networking opportunities.

Singh says she still gets waves of homesickness, especially around Canadian holidays when the university is quiet and she can feel the heaviness of not having family close by. But, she tries to make the best of her situation she knows she is only here for four years, so she makes chai and calls home because these rituals remind her of her roots.

Continue reading the rest of our tips here.

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