COVID 19 & Changing Trends in International Education
Over the last 18 months, COVID-19 has impacted the world in several ways including education and more specifically, the landscape of international education. International students across the world are skeptical about their future and trying to cope with the situation. This question remains – when would students be able to pursue their study abroad dreams?
To help international students who aspire to study in Canada, we reached out to some industry veterans and asked them for their valuable insights on the changing trends in international education, what the students should do in these times and how educational institutions in Canada are transforming themselves to adapt to these new norms.
Adopting a more student-centric approach
The education system in Canada has always been student-centric with a focus on flexible and modern ways of learning. However, the pandemic has reshaped this landscape. With more travel restrictions imposed around the world, it becomes pertinent for colleges and universities to adopt a more student-centric approach. As said by Karuna Ausman, Manager – International Recruitment, University of Waterloo
“Having a student-centric approach is mandatory in these times as education can’t be stopped.”
Universities and student counsellors must prioritize supporting students- from their study permit to visa issues, helping them switch to online study to simply making them feel included.
Pre-COVID, educational institutions had online classes as an option along with mainstream teaching. During the pandemic, these became the standard way to teach and learn. In such a scenario, digital literacy of international students becomes pertinent. It hasn’t been easy for schools to change their process overnight but many have been able to. As Saurabh Vashisht, Manager for International Recruitment, Northwest College, said
“Digital literacy of international students is very important. Colleges like us have also taken the initiative of digital hiring as a changing strategy of our recruitment process.”
Empathy & inclusion
A little empathy goes a long way, especially in these trying times. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Canadian universities have taken a student-centric approach. They have helped students with devices for online classes, food banks, counselling sessions, financial help to students who have lost their jobs, and much more.
“At our college, we put students first. It is important to be empathetic.”
Mr. Prashant Srivastava, Director South Asia, Seneca College
Besides these efforts, to give international students a sense of inclusion, schools have started cross-cultural classes where international students from different cultural backgrounds and local students interact with and learn from each other.
A piece of advice for international students
The uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused has forced students to compromise with the situation and to change their plans. However, Karuna Ausman, International Student Recruitment Specialist, University of Waterloo, suggests international students should not defer and create a gap of a year, but to resume their classes online from their home country and join in person the following semester. She also shared that before making any decisions, students should thoroughly check their application form and the policies of their college or university including the refund policy.
Hope for a better tomorrow
Canada has always been a welcoming country. The recent policies for permanent residence for people from other countries also support the same. With things slowly returning to normal, Mike Henniger, International Education Specialist told us
“Things will be better by September end and we expect everything to be normal by January in Canada with vaccination.”
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Aplicar connects students and recruitment partners to the best educational opportunities across Canada. It’s a one-stop solution to ease students’ journey towards studying in Canada.
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