Canada universities continue to be the number one option for students in the region when they seek to attain higher educational opportunities abroad.
On Saturday The Student Centre, in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada, held its annual CUP Fest International Education Fair at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Complex.
Sheena Alleyne, a representative of The Student Centre, said the fair, which first started in 2014, continues to see a high number of locals expressing their interest in continuing their studies in Canada, particularly in the last five to six years.
“I would say for the last five to six years, Canada has been the number one choice among students from the eastern Caribbean particularly,” she said.
“Initially it used to be the UK and the US but in the last six years we have seen a change, a very rapid change in that. I think it speaks to the presence of the Canadian schools in the market all of the time, plus they have the support of their government.
“They have a lot of mechanisms in place to create the environment to allow them to penetrate markets, in brand and recruitment,” she added.
With more than 30 universities participating this year, including Ontario Tech, McMaster University, York University, King’s University College and others, local students continue to have a wide array of choices when seeking to expand their qualifications into any field of study.
Marthe Lemay, Senior Trade Commissioner and Commercial Counsellor at the High Commission of Canada, told Barbados TODAY that COVID 19 did negatively affect recruitment numbers over the past two years, but the return to face-to-face interactions is a promising sign for numbers to once again reach pre-pandemic levels.
“We did have the fairs, but virtually. In the last few years we had in 2020 and 2021 combined about 753 students from Barbados to Canada. So, the numbers did drop a little bit, but we are hoping to get back the numbers we used to have before, which is close to 600 a year,” Lemay said.
“There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting, so the fairs provide us with the opportunity to really meet with the students and meet with the parents.”
She further revealed that on top of the educational opportunities sought out by citizens in the region, many have used the opportunity to gain residency.
“Sixty per cent of international students – we are not just talking Barbados, we are talking overall international students – 60 per cent of the students do get a permanent residency permit about 10 years after they studied in Canada after they have graduated. So yes, we see a lot of them staying.”
She added Canadian universities continue to show a high interest in recruiting students from Barbados and the region, with a high return rate of universities repeatedly taking part in the recruitment fair over the years.