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International students continue to rate Canada's higher education highly, however, signs of visa processing delays impacting on student choice should cause concerns for the sector, new IDP research reveals.

The Emerging Futures research, conducted by global education specialists IDP Education in August 2022, paints a positive picture for students and the global international education industry, although it does provide a word of warning for Canada.

The survey, which collates the views of more than 11,000 prospective students, applicants and current students shows that demand for Canada remains high with 52 percent of respondents stating that they are considering studying in Canada, and 50 percent of those students stating that it is their first-choice destination. Students are choosing Canada as their first choice for multiple reasons, but the research is clear that the vast majority see Canada as a safe and supportive country for international students.

Christine Wach, Director of Client Partnerships, North America at IDP Connect, said the new findings paint a positive picture for Canada, but there are underlying issues that the country and the global sector need to address.

“The fact that students continue to see Canada as such a welcoming and supportive country is positive. However, as many will be aware, visa delays mean that Canada is not meeting student expectations regarding turnaround times."

For the first time, the research also looked at the experience of newly enrolled students, comparing prospective student expectations with the reality of studying overseas.

For students who have not yet commenced their studies, their greatest concerns included balancing part-time work and study, not having enough money and adapting to a new culture and way of learning.

Overall, current students are satisfied with their study experiences in Canada with 82 percent saying that the academic support they had received from their institution had met or exceeded their expectations and 79 percent saying the lifestyle had met or exceeded their expectations. However, a third stated that their expectations around financial support had not been met.

The research also identified a correlation between poor mental health and students working either fewer than 10 hours every two weeks or more than 40 hours in the same timeframe, as well as those living alone or off campus. Mental health issues were also impacting students’ ability to succeed academically, with nearly three quarters stating that it had impacted their ability to study.

“While it is reassuring that Canada is doing well to meet students’ expectations when they arrive, I am worried that globally students are clear that they need institutions and countries to do more to support them. To help address this, IDP is committed to working with the sector to prioritize support for students so they can thrive in their studies and feel connected to communities,” said Wach.

Media Contact: Jonah Duffin 


Download Infographic Report

The key findings from our Emerging Futures research II are available to download as an Infographic Report here:

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Jonah Duffin
Jonah Duffin20 October 2022