It has always been hard being an international student, and somehow these hardships have increased because of this pandemic. With classes being moved online, on-campus housing closed and forced self- isolation, it has been hard for those away from home.
We hope that the information in this article helps the international students living in Canada or are planning to come.
Coming as an International Student
Covid-19 made sure that the government of Canada shut its borders for all international travel on March 18,2020. But a little later, the federal government said that the borders will remain open for international students with a valid study permit, or with a approval for a study permit. But besides the study permit, they need to have valid travel documents like Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).
On October 20, 2020, the government lifted travel restrictions for students whose institutes (Designated Learning Institute) have an approved COVID-19 plan. The plan must:
- Make sure that the students have all the information that they require, especially about health, safety and travel, prior to their arrival into Canada.
- Assure that the students quarantine for 14 days when they arrive here.
- Tell students on how to obtain necessities (food, medicines.) when they are in quarantine.
- Also have plans and protocols in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak at the institute.
Due to the pandemic, the Canadian government has put multiple travel restrictions on non-essential travel. International students who want to go back home can do so but need to consider things like re-entry to their home country, ability to re-enter Canada, or their eligibility to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in the future.
Housing in Canada
Campus residences across Canada have been closed with the colleges closing down to protect the student population and flatten the curve. There are residences though, that are helping international students get an accommodation. Guests/international students can reserve hotel rooms for their self-isolation. Besides, tenants who are already renting, there have been regulations in place to avoid landlords from evicting the tenants.
Educational institutes and schools across Canada are closed, the in-person learning has been shifted to online education. Students planning to study here should be technologically strong, equipped with a laptop and a strong internet connection for the classes seem to online only in the foreseeable future.Besides, students need to be aware of the alterations that the grading schemes of different educational institutes have undertaken, cancelling final exams and having more assignments. International students can choose to get in touch with their student centres via email, or phone, or skype, because in-person counselling and offices have also been closed due to COVID-19.
The pandemic has resulted in the number of jobs going down, with more than half of Canadian households reporting job losses. Businesses are opening gradually, and the situation might change in the future. Students need to be aware of their working scenarios based on the conditions listed in their study permits.
PGWP (Post-Graduate Work Permit) Graduating students can still apply for Post-Graduate Work Permit upon their graduation. Unlike other years of education, where missing a term or taking classes online would affect your eligibility of obtaining a PGWP, this year things are being dealt differently due to classes shifting online because of COVID-19. The IRCC said that the students were taking their classes online because of the pandemic will be able to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit.