Does Fanshawe's international student enrollment increase coincide with Trump's presidency?

Full-time international student enrollment at Fanshawe nearly doubled from 2,007 in 2015 to 3,446 in 2016. Although international students enjoy studying at Fanshawe, they say that U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election is unrelated to the increase.

Mukesh Singh is in his first semester of the professional financial services program at Fanshawe, and he came to Canada from India in December 2016. He praised Fanshawe for their “strong academics” and high employment rate.

“Canada is far too different from [the] United States,” Singh said. “They accept immigrants from all over the world.”

Kiran Jhitkur, an office administration executive student from India, arrived in Canada in January 2017. “The atmosphere here, the surroundings are really good and all of the facilities here, which helps the students very much,” she said when asked why she thinks more students from around the world are choosing Fanshawe.

Pavel Bondarenko, a computer programmer analyst student from Russia, said that he knows there are students from India, China and Ukraine who come to Fanshawe to study. “Maybe [it’s] because Fanshawe [is] one of the colleges [that] offers real skills,” he said.

Bondarenko, who has been in Canada for about six months, adding that he decided to attend Fanshawe after he attended an international studies fair in Russia and heard about the program he’s enrolled in. “I think it’s the best set of classes that I need for my future.”

Xinyue “Joy” Lu is in her final semester of the law clerk program at Fanshawe, and has been in Canada for three years. She is from China, and loves living in Canada. “First, Canada is a safe place. It’s a great country [with] nice people,” Lu said.

Wendy Curtis, the executive director for the International Centre at the college, said that there are many reasons why Fanshawe’s international student enrollment has increased. She said according to results from i-graduate, a market research company surveying student feedback from around the world, “93 per cent of international students are satisfied or very satisfied with expert faculty, quality of lectures, learning support [and] teaching ability of faculty.”

Curtis said other reasons for the increase include an on-campus representation of 77 countries. She also said it could be due to that new post-graduate programs at the college, such as construction project management, health systems management, electronics and enabled systems and practical elements of mechanical engineering.

“The primary reason was exceptional visa approval rates which fueled growth from all countries, and most especially India,” Curtis explained. “A favourable increase in the number of visas generated significant growth from all markets where Fanshawe is represented.”

Curtis said some programs are seeing a jump in visa approval rates from 60 per cent to 80 per cent in the past year.

She added that more international students find Canada an appealing place to study. Curtis said that the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) “World of Learning” said there was a 92 per cent growth rate in international students studying in Canada from 2008 to 2015, where there were 353,000 students in Canada by 2015. She added that 95 per cent of international students, according to the document, would recommend studying in Canada for the educational quality.

“Canada is a country that needs immigrants and international student graduates have the language, the education and the skills to become successful permanent residents,” Curtis said. “Canada is incredibly well regarded in the world and is comparatively stable and perceived to be more predictable in a world full of uncertainties.”

Curtis added the CBIE’s International Student Survey said 51 per cent of international students intend to apply for permanent residence, and that 51 per cent of Fanshawe’s international students also plan to apply to be permanent residents.

“This bodes well with our community because, like the majority of Fanshawe College alumni, they are determined to stay in the city with a career and a lifestyle that is envied by much of the world, and Canada needs the relative youth and expertise to support our competitiveness as a nation.”