The Impact of the Covid-19 on International Students

Group of students with Canadian flags sitting near color wall

Donovan Sine

COVID-19 crisis impacted most of the international student’s living in Canada, which can bring a lot of changes for their future.

     International students in Canada are basically some people coming from different countries to study here.Over the past decade, the number of international students in Canada has almost more than tripled, from 101,304 in 2008/2009 to 318,153 in 2018/2019 and last year more than 67,000 international students were welcomed in Canada. By studying here, they do their best to get a good future which isn’t forcely easy. They make hard sacrifices every day and since the COVID-19 affected their way to live in Canada, things have become harder and hader.

     First, some international students were faced with two choices after the pandemic started: they could either continue their studies in Canada or return to their home countries to study remotely. It wasn’t an easy choice for some of them, going back to their home countries could make their education harder but they would have the possibility to see some family members, friends of  and other people important to them.” I miss my family but travelling there is too much of a risk” Said Ferdous, a international student in Canada who knows that travelling back could be a real risk.  If they chose to stay in Canada, they will probably miss a lot of their family members but their education could be less affected. Knowing that the COVID-19 made their situation worse, creating stress in their already precarious situation.

     Many foreign students are in a bad financial situation when they come to Canada, some of them barely have money once they get here. So, to try to find some money while also focusing on their education, they make sure to have a job that could help them to pay most of the essential things they need to live here. Of course, they must take a position that won’t disturb their education and that’s not particularly easy.

     Since the COVID-19’s measures were made to ensure the security of the Canadian community, many businesses closed like restaurants and hotels. This basically affected many international students because a lot of them lost their jobs. Finding a way to sustain their  life is now harder for them. Some even had to ask the members of their family living in their home country for financial support, others tried their best to find other revenues but it’s hard. Sometimes when a person of their family sends a part of their revenue , it takes time before arriving in Canada. Sadly, they can’t really count on Canadian government programs to get support because there are many requirements that most of them can’t acquire.

     Having to live in Canada in that complicated situation can have some important consequences on their education. The fact that sometimes they can’t get enough money to eat like they should , can make the situation even worse. Some of them develop anxiety, and other stress related issues.. Of course other international students manage to deal with this situation pretty well and that’s great. Sadly, those who weren’t ready with this type of situation could get into some issues that could affect their entire future. 

     Foreign students are really important in Canada since they help a lot in many aspects of   our economy. “International students contributed to nearly $22 billion to the economy, as well as filling 170,000 jobs in 2018.” Knowing how helpful those brave students are, the question is with the complications that the COVID-19 brought in their lives, will they keep coming to Canada?

     Although this situation is not easy to live with, some solutions have been put in place to help those  students. In these, we can find that many universities created various programs that help reduce the stress, others that help students with their education. Even if the government programs are harder to access, they are still part of the solution, a way to get over this situation, something that could help international students. Hopefully they will be able to get through this and have successful careers.