With the policies and proclamations of the Trump White House and the Theresa May led British parliament, has the United States and the United Kingdom slipped behind Canada as the number one choice for study abroad?
“It may be news that Canada is number one, but it’s not news that Canada has been the best choice for the last several years,” says Mel Broitman, the Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. For two decades, the CUAC has been the leading organization assisting students to Canadian universities from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Recently it has begun active recruitment in Sri Lanka.
According to Broitman, Canada’s advantages of public universities of world-class quality, reasonable tuition fees, work permits, citizenship pathways for graduates and its multi-cultural, tolerant and safe environment – has always placed it as a leading choice.
“The difference today,” Broitman says, “is that the American and British governments have pushed south Asian families to seriously examine other choices. Lo and behold, many have found out that all along Canada has ranked as perhaps the best place for their sons and daughters.”
Most Sri Lankans would be shocked to learn that Canada really has only about 70 universities to choose from. Virtually every one is a public institution – meaning they receive significant annual contributions of tax dollars. Today, there are world-class degrees available in Canada for annual tuition fees under 15k USD per year. The more affordable universities are typically located in smaller Canadian cities and the cost of living is also much reduced in such centres.
Also surprising to many who don’t know about Canada – is that it rarely matters which university one attends. Canada’s commitment to social democracy means all its citizens have the right to the same level of education and healthcare, regardless of their economic situation. This advantage is extended to all foreign students. Thus for those wanting a Bachelor degree in Business, Science, Engineering or Arts – almost all Canadian campuses offer the same standard of excellence. Classes are taught by PhD professors. Canadian graduates can continue studies at the leading Masters programs of the world (many of which are in Canada), and once graduating with a Bachelor degree, an automatic three year work permit is granted. Medical insurance is included for all international students and means they get the same access to Canada’s world-class medical system.
It’s the same advantage for Masters students. Canadian universities have rigorous academic standards which have maintained top quality graduate programs. In the last decade, Canadian universities have established more course-based Masters and invited the world to apply and attend. The same pathway to Permanent Residence (PR) and Canadian citizenship is available for Masters graduates.
Of course Canada has a well established Sri Lankan community, and for families presently in Sri Lanka, it’s never been a better time to further link the two countries. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government recently announced a goal of one million new immigrants for Canada in the next three years. Mr. Ahmed Hussein, who is Trudeau’s immigration minister, has actively strategized on how to keep more foreign students who graduate from Canadian universities, to then stay and live in Canada.
Recently, the CUAC has partnered with the Asian International Academy to offer free assistance for Sri Lankan students to apply to its Canadian member universities. There are more than one hundred undergraduate and graduate programs to choose from. University representatives are now regularly visiting Sri Lanka, and for those interested in professional counseling with integrity and at no cost, they may contact 011.7555255 or email SriLanka@canada123.org. The web address is www.canada123.org.
Mel Broitman is a Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He is a leading expert on south Asian students choosing to study in Canadian universities. A former award winning journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Broitman has been published more than one hundred times in south Asian publications.