International Students Cite Welcoming Policies and Employment Opportunities As Top Reasons To Study in Canada Skip to main content

Toronto, ON, September 16, 2021 – International students give Canada top marks for its welcoming environment, including perceived supportive government policies and post-graduation employment opportunities, according to a new study. A majority (57%) of international students who say Canada is their choice destination for post-secondary education say it is because they believe the country supports international students. Additionally, 50% cite its welcoming environment for people from other countries and 47% say it is because it gives them the best chance for post-graduation employment opportunities.

Yet despite the top scores for perceived supports (57%), 50% of the international respondents who study here say they have not received any non-academic support from governments or institutions, such as support for physical and mental health. That places Canada in last place compared to the other host countries included in the study (namely the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia).

The findings are part of the fifth installment of IDP Connect’s International Student Crossroads research, which examines the attitudes and behaviours of more than 4,000 international student applicants, offer holders and current students during the COVID-19 pandemic. They shed light on the reasons behind Canada’s popularity with international students as well as areas for improvement.

Government policies are playing a large part in building Canada’s reputation among international students: 71% of students report that Canada’s recently clarified policies regarding vaccinations and quarantine procedures has specifically made them more likely to study here.

Students also give the country better marks after they arrive. Those studying virtually give their Canadian post-secondary experience an overall satisfaction rate of 6.9 of 10. This number jumps to 8.5 for those studying in-person on campus.

Other areas where Canada excels include:

  • Employment opportunities: Canada and US tied at 47%, UK 37%, New Zealand 36%, Australia 35%

  • Welcoming to people from other countries: Canada 50%, New Zealand 39%, Australia 25%, UK 23%, US 22%

However, Canada does not fare as well when it comes to perceived quality of education. Although 51% of respondents say they chose Canada for its high-quality education, the number falls far behind the USA and the UK at 70% and 65%, respectively. Australia also receives 51%, with only New Zealand scoring lower at 49%.

"The good news is our research shows that Canada remains a top destination for international students because of its welcoming environment and clear government communication on policies for international students,” says Jonah Duffin, Director of External Relations. “However, the perceived quality of education is lower for Canada than for other major English-speaking study destinations. Canadian institutions should consider how they communicate the quality of both their on-campus and online offerings to prospective students.”

Additional findings from the research include:

  • 74% of students interested in Canada say that the availability of vaccines to international students on arrival makes travelling to their destination more attractive.

  • The number of students who are fully vaccinated and interested in Canada is slightly higher than that of students interested in study elsewhere in the world (59% vs. 50%).

  • 39% are willing to pay the full cost of quarantine in Canada and 39% a portion of the cost.

  • 38% of those interested in coming to Canada prefer to quarantine in a government hotel, while 35% prefer university-run accommodation, and 27% have no preference.

Media Inquiries:

Andrea Chrysanthou

NATIONAL Public Relations


About IDP Connect

IDP Connect is the strategic partner of choice for institutions seeking access to engaged student communities. As part of IDP Education, the world leader in student recruitment, IDP Connect uses its global expertise, data-driven insights and trusted human connections to match universities, schools and colleges with the right students from around the world.

Powered by the world’s most expansive omnichannel platform, we bring institutions to life, from academic offerings to campus experiences and beyond. Through our unmatched physical office network, websites, apps, and virtual counselling solutions, students from all corners of the world form our connected community, along with our expert team of trusted education advisors, and our partner institutions.

IDP Connect’s IQ services offer an unrivalled view of the global higher education landscape, using the world’s largest combined data set of student demand. From initial online search, through to application, offer and enrolments, we are able to track global student demand through the full funnel and in real-time, helping institutions to address the key challenges faced by higher education.

Download the Crossroads V Data Report

The key findings from our International Student Crossroads V research are available to download in a data report here:

View Data Report

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