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Students Need Support to Internationalize Their Educations

By  August 5, 2010

The student experience becomes more internationalized every year, with more students from overseas coming to North America, and more domestic students embarking on semesters or years abroad. 

But are the federal and provincial governments in Canada doing enough to recruit foreign students, and to support domestic students who want to go abroad?

In a recent opinion piece in the Globe and Mail, Amit Chakma encourages the further internationalization of the student experience in Canada. After noting that 77,000 international students chose Canadian schools in 2009 (the highest number ever, and up 10 percent from the previous year), he explains that foreign students are a boon to the country; they are “young, well-educated, ambitious and eager to contribute to the high quality of life afforded our citizens.”  

But what about those who want to study abroad? Chakma cites a statistic that says less than three percent of Canadian undergraduates study in another country during their postsecondary education. Why are there so few? Chakma references “cost, difficulty in meeting degree requirements or lack of awareness about the opportunities” as contributing factors. The government could do a world of good by targeting these three obstacles through funding support and by working with universities to make it easier for students to go abroad. 

Encouraging students from abroad to choose Canadian universities for their education is great, but let’s not forget about the domestic students who want the same opportunities to internationalize their educations.

What do you think? Should the federal and provincial governments prioritize helping students go abroad? What more could they be doing? 

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Zalina Alvi

Zalina grew up in Toronto and began her career in journalism at the York University campus newspaper. Before joining Verge in 2010, she worked for a documentary festival, a non-profit organization and various magazines and newspapers. Zalina has had some eclectic travel experiences, including reporting for a newspaper on the island of Molokai in Hawaii.

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