Over the past several years, international students looking for a global education have been increasingly turning towards Canada. As of August 2018, the nation hosted 570,000 students from around the world – marking a 20 percent increase from the previous year and a 60 percent increase over only three years ago. This represents a marked contrast with the United States, where the Graduate Management of Admission Council announced that international applicants to American business schools dropped by about 11 percent in 2018.

Why does Canada appeal to international students? The country boasts top-quality schools and a welcoming immigration policy; while some countries are raising barriers, Canada is rolling out the red carpet to international students, demonstrating its commitment to education and an openness to immigration. And Canadian universities are following suite: The University of British Columbia, a highly-regarded school in Vancouver, recently announced that it will double its share of foreign students to 30 percent by 2022.

Studying in Canada has great immigration benefits, too. The country’s visa/study permit process is much simpler than that of other countries, ensuring a smooth application process and less logistical stress. And graduates of most Canadian degree programs can secure a three-year work permit, which often rolls into permanent residency. This means that any graduate of a Canadian university who wants to remain in Canada is generally able to do so. Plus, the classroom environment at Canadian universities is very friendly to international students’ needs: At the University of Waterloo, a top-rated Canadian university for STEM subjects, international students comprise nearly 40 percent of its graduate programs.

Canada has a long history of targeting “highly-skilled” immigrants: More than 65 percent of foreign-born adults had a post-secondary degree in 2017, which marks the highest share of all members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a club of mostly rich nations. To that end, Stéfane Marion, Chief Economist of the National Bank of Canada, states that “[Canada is] the biggest talent poacher in the OECD,” which represents a “massive, massive advantage” to help Canada deal with globalization and technological change.

Employers are increasingly taking note of Canada’s global talent. Amazon has plans to create thousands of new jobs in Canada, and nearly chose Toronto as the location for its second headquarters. Tamir Bar-Haim, the company’s head of advertising in Canada, who himself is an Israeli immigrant, announced that the company is “continuously impressed by the caliber of talent [in Canada], and that includes folks who have come here from all over the world to build a new life.”

January 7 marks the launch of Canada Week by MPOWER Financing. We will be offering webinars, talks, and seminars for students interested in pursuing an education in Canada. The events will be hosted by Sasha Ramani, MPOWER’s Canada head and a graduate of the University of Waterloo and Harvard University, and Rohan Tibrawalla, MPOWER’s India head and an alum of the Wharton School of Business.

But there is one drawback for students who want to attend school in Canada: its potentially harsh winter conditions. Thick socks, thermal undergarments, and warm, waterproof jackets and boots are all essential parts of a Canada-survival toolkit.

About MPOWER Financing: MPOWER Financing was designed by and for international students, to provide completely unsecured education loans and scholarships – without any collateral or co-signer – to help students study at 200+ universities across the United States and Canada.

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