COVID-19 helping turn international students off Toronto

Foreign students face long-distance learning, high tuition fees and financial difficulties

international students zooming in
International students zoom in to classes from home as schools remain closed. Photo courtesy Armin Schreijäg from Pixabay

Lockdowns and other strict measures taken by governments, along with expensive tuition fees, are causing international students to be unwilling to come to Toronto or even to register at the schools.

“I think last year, when the pandemic first appeared, many undergraduate students considered taking a gap year,” said Nikole Pascceta, English teacher at Hansa Language Centre.

The majority of her students are in their home countries and Zooming in.

“There is more understanding that this situation will remain for the foreseeable future, so I think learners are coming back and realizing virtual classrooms as an alternative — even if they are unconventional,” she said.

International students are a vital element of Canada’s economy, contributing more than $21 billion per year, according to a Canadian government news release. However, since the pandemic started, many students have been forced to return to their home countries.

“It always makes me think that I’m wasting my money, as you know international tuition is very expensive,” said Simon Cho, an international student at OCAD University.

Cho decided to go back to Korea, saying he preferred to join his family again since the classes were going to be online and he cannot focus on his studies while being stuck inside.

But school closures and virtual classes are not the only factors that students have had to deal with during this challenging time.

international students pay about three times higher college tuition fees, making it a very difficult period for them financially, as it is almost impossible for them to find jobs.

Many students have complained they have no choice but to continue with their academic programs since many of them have a time-limited study visa and it is difficult for them to extend their study permits.

“I think it was very tough for international students to deal with the pressure of paying absurd tuitions fee without having the opportunity to work, or apply to emergency subsidies,” George Brown College student Valentina Garzon said.

They also face the pressure of not being able to postpone semesters of studying because that would cause more issues related to their student visas and their ability to legally stay in the country.

Garzon said she hopes the Canadian government is aware of the problem and comes to the aid of international students, who are an important part of the population. But she hasn’t seen this yet.

“There was help for everyone else, but not for the international community,” she said.

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Posted: Feb 1 2021 4:34 pm
Filed under: College COVID-19 Education News