|Foreign students flocking to Canada
U.S. perceived as less friendly since Sept. 11
By AARON WHERRY
Saturday, August 17, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A1
A flood of foreign students will arrive at Canadian universities this fall, partly because many applicants view the United States as less friendly to international students since Sept. 11.
Many universities, especially smaller schools, have turned their attention beyond Canada's borders in recent years to recruit students in countries such as China and India. That trend is stronger this year, as many international students come to see Canada as a safe, cheap place to get a good education without the restrictions, scrutiny and obstacles of the U.S. student-visa system.
"It's not so much that the U.S. has raised restrictions, but that there is a perception that it will be tougher," said David McLeod, the director of enrolment services and the acting director of international activities at Brandon University in Brandon, Man.
As a result, Mr. McLeod said, advisers who earn commissions by helping international students get into university may be pointing students to countries considered easier to enter.
Brandon U. has made a specific effort to recruit students from Latin America and, like other universities, the additional effort is leading to an increase in applications and enrolment, Mr. McLeod added.
International applications are up at a number of universities, including St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg, both in Winnipeg, the University of Lethbridge and the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Brian Silzer, registrar and an associate vice-president at UBC, credits a number of factors for the increase at his university, including UBC's commitment to becoming more international and a general reluctance among foreign students to study in the United States.
"It's safe to say there is some fallout from post-Sept. 11 [visa restrictions]. That may be encouraging students to look elsewhere," he said.
Elizabeth Challis, director of the University of Winnipeg's international office, said Canada's growing international reputation has helped her school's international recruitment effort, which included the opening of her office 1½ years ago.
International applications, which had been in decline for several years, doubled at U. of Winnipeg this year, with 400 overseas students applying for admission.
The university has sought to recruit students from India and has received applications from countries in South Asia and Europe.
"We are getting more from South Asia because there are often not enough places there for those who qualified to get into university," Ms. Challis said.
Officials at U. of Lethbridge say the small, safe community offered at a campus of 8,000 is attractive to international students. The university has had a slight increase in applications, some from untraditional sources such as Nigeria.
Bill Yang, an international student at Brandon U., said he never considered going to the United States because of the perceived safety risks. "Canada is the safest country in the world; the U.S. isn't as safe as Canada," Mr. Yang said. "I don't want to be where there is violence . . . and [where] people can walk down the street with a gun in their bag."