International Students  



Words and Photos by Myungsook Lee  






  Read More... DIVERSE special

Read More... Culture Section


How much do they contribute? More than 78,000 jobs, $6 billion in GDP each year

According to the report: Canada Missing Opportunity in the Booming China Education Market by Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (2006), ¡°educational services are a key and growing sector of the international economy¡±. International educational industry generates a $4 billion impact to Canada each year. Another research on the Economic Impact of International Education in Canada conducted by Roslyn Kunin & Associates (2009) for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada reveals that the economic benefits of international students are ¡°substantial¡±. Total expenditure of long-term international students in Canada amounted to about $5.5 billion in 2008. ¡°This translates to almost $4.1 billion in the GDP contribution to the Canadian economy, and represents about 7% of the GDP contributed by the overall education services sector in the Canadian economy. It means the industry creates 64,940 jobs in the labour market. ¡°This represents about 5.5% of the total number of jobs in the overall education services sector in Canada.¡±

In addition, those international students in short-term language training programs in Canada (less than 6 month stay) also contribute additional $746 million per year to the Canadian economy. This is equivalent to about $509 million in GDP, 13,210 jobs, and $36 million in government revenue.

For example, Cotton Lee who is attending a secondary school in Surrey came to Canada 2 years ago. Her tuition fee including health care comes to $12,800 a year, Canadian home-stay $800 (Korean home-stay is normally higher than this due to higher cost of Korean food and extra services) and private tutoring $400-700 a month. There are extra costs though: her monthly allowance, air tickets to her country, sports & leisure activities.

Young students like to live in big cities like Toronto or Vancouver where they can spend money in restaurants, private language training schools, and grocery stores while they enjoy their lives.

International students have influence on their ethnic communities as well. Most ethnic communities largely depend on them for the business of home-stay, private language schools, custodianship, churches, travel agents, restaurants, moving companies, hair salons and so on.


Are they satisfied?

As per the statistics, Ontario and British Columbia and Quebec are the top three provinces in hosting international students. There are some differences between British Columbia and Ontario. The former has more K-12 students, while the latter is preferred by university students. The difference reflects the features of each province. British Columbia is closer to Asia and Ontario provides students with more choices by its numerous universities.

However, the international students seem not to be happy that much in BC. In a survey by the BC Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, when they were asked how difficult it was to adjust to schools and communities as newcomers in post secondary schools in BC, they expressed such difficulties as dealing with teamwork in classes (55%), interacting with instructors & professors (53%), making friends with Canadians (63%), getting involved in extra-curricular activities at their institution (65%).

Although most school districts claim that they allow only a certain percentage of international students to enrol (Surrey School District allows 1% of District enrolment), reality shows a different picture to the eyes of the international student. Immigrant students who can speak their first language are already studying, playing and mingling with newcomers from their countries. Sometimes, newcomers are overwhelmed by the numbers of the same origin ethnic students talking in their first language.

Yoojin Kim, a grade 11 student who came to Canada in May last year, says ¡°In ESL class, 8-9 students out of 20 are Korean, so we often speak Korean even in class.¡± It is noticed that as Yoojin said ¡°large numbers of Korean students frequently keep non-Koreans or western Canadians from integrating with us.¡± She believes that if there were fewer Koreans, she would have more non-Korean or local friends.




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DIVERSE 5th Issue

We are pleased to announce that DIVERSE 5th issue, Summer 2011 has been released.  

12 Diversity in Canadian Workplaces What are the obstacles to a better form of ¡°diversity¡± in the workplace?

- Open Door Group

- BC Workplace Diversity Inclusion Awards

6 BC¡¯s Diversity through 30 portraits



2 ThePower of Exchange A Historic Collaboration between Germany¡¯s

Premiere Art Collections and Canada¡¯s First Nations

28 Ezra Kwizera  Born in Uganda to Rwandese refugee parents, Canadian Musician and genocide  survivor speaks on the art of  forgiveness and of adapting to Canadian culture

42 Dana Claxton  

The Mustang Suite: Questioning mobility, freedom and autonomy 


24 Gung Haggis Fat Choy in Vancouver, BC: The Diversity of Canada      

38 Denise Brillon Breaking barriers in the fashion world



32 Pysanky¡¯s Resurgence

Joan Brander¡¯s contribution to the renaissance in traditional

Ukrainian egg art


10 Publisher¡¯s Note

27 Benefits of being a bilingual writer

31 Canadians come in all differences



35 News Briefs on Multiculturalism

36 Publisher¡¯s Picks


You Can Order Here.


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    DIVERSE......"Each person is born into a unique culture. All deserve respect.¡±