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Future Plans

Both Canada and New Zealand show promise in the future retention of international students. Canada First reported that almost fifty percent of the students expected to continue their education, most commonly studying for another degree. Of these students seventeen percent wanted to continue their education in Canada,109 The study also showed that approximately fifty percent of students expected to work after completing their current program with twenty-five percent wanting to apply for permanent residence status and work in Canada and another twelve percent wanting to work for a year before returning home.110 In total, fifty- four percent of international students were interested in remaining in Canada upon graduation.

The Experiences of International Students in New Zealand Report illustrated that forty-two percent of the students intended to further their studies in New Zealand, and when the 11% who intend to find work there were also considered, over half of the international students in New Zealand planned to remain in the country immediately after completing their current program of studies.111

Table 6

Comparison of International Students Survey Findings in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK

Major SURVEY components




New Zealand


Study Destination

#1 Country of Choice

79% said Australia

57% said Canada

62% said New Zealand


Top Reasons for Choosing Study Destination

  • Quality of Education

  • Safe Environment

  • English-speaking

  • Reputation

  • Quality of Education

  • Safe Environment

  • Quality of Education

  • Safe Environment

  • English Speaking

  • International Recognition of Qualifications

  • Cost of Education


Top Source (s) of University Information

  • Internet

  • Family at Home

  • Internet

  • Friends/ Peers

  • Internet

  • Friends/ Peers


Educational Experience

Academic Satisfaction


  • 90% described academic progress at excellent, good, or average

  • 87% were satisfied with their Academic Experience


Visas/ Study Permits

  • Generally a positive visa experience

  • 54% have some difficulty with Canadian immigration officers either in home country, at the port of entry, or when renewing or changing their study permit

  • Most frequent issue with dealing with immigration services is the time length of processing


  • 38% of students agreed the process of applying for an extension of leave was straightforward and efficient while 34% percent disagreed (20 % strongly disagreed)

  • Widespread complaint on the question of charging for visa extensions

Support, Services, and Facilities

Satisfaction with Support, Services, and Facilities

  • 78- 86% were ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ with the help provided prior to arrival, during arrival, after arrival, and when settling in an meeting people

  • 80% were pleased with language labs, computer facilities, library resources, recreational facilities

  • 69-72% thought the language labs, counseling and learning support were good or excellent

  • 78 to 86% are satisfied with the student union, health centre, career services, social activities, and intuitional advice

Usage of Support, Services, and Facilities


  • 62% met with the International Student Advisor

  • 59% used recreational facilities

  • 53% used the international student handbook


  • 80% went to the Orientation Session

  • 70% use the universities’ advise service

  • 50% use the student unions’ advice service



  • 63% said they were friends with local students

  • 36% said they had a few local friends

  • Only 6% said they have many local friends

  • 32% had local and international friends

  • Only 7% said they had many local friends




  • 33% agreed that they were “very satisfied with life” and 28% viewed the conditions of their life as ‘excellent’

  • 89% were ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ with their stay in the UK

Benefits to Studying in Host Country


  • 89% said, “Helping make me a more educated person”

  • 78% said, “Preparing for further study”

  • 71% said, “ Helping me discover my career interests”

  • 67% said, “Increasing the chances for making more money during my working years”


  • Academic Experience

  • Improving English

  • Becoming More Independent

  • Meeting people from all over the world

  • Learning about the UK and other cultures

Future Plans

Education & Work


  • 17% want to continue their education in Canada

  • 25% want to apply for permanent residency in Canada

  • 12% want to work in Canada for a year

  • 42% intended to continue their studies in New Zealand

  • 11% wanted to work there after graduation


5.0 Results from the First Survey of International Students in Atlantic Canada
5.1 Background Information

5.1.1 Survey Respondents

This section describes the respondents who completed the pilot Survey of International Students in Atlantic Canada. The description is based on the details provided in section A: Background Information.

One hundred and thirty five international students took part in this study. The sample included seventy nine (59%) females and fifty six (41%) males. Ages ranged from seventeen years to fifty three years with a mean of 24.9 years.

Table 7


# of Respondents

< 20








The majority of students were unmarried (81%). As seen in Figure 14, only twenty- nine out of the hundred and thirty- five (22%) had family members in Atlantic Canada.

Figure 14

Students from forty four countries/ regions were included in this sample. Figure 15 reveals the sample was consistent with regional trends, China (18%) was the number one source country followed by India (10%) and the United States (10%). Smaller source countries/ regions included: Africa (6%), Bermuda (5%), Mexico (4%), Hong Kong (3%), Malaysia (2%), and Kuwait (2%). The remaining students (less than 1% in each case) originated from: Austria, Australia, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Norway, Palestine, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.

Figure 15

Figure 16 shows most students identified themselves as Christian (34%) or as having no religious affiliation (34%); however, 15% of the sample were Muslim, 8% were Buddhist, and 6% were Hindu. Small numbers of Sikhs (1%) and other religions (2%) were included in the sample.
Figure 16

For most of the students (70%) this is the first time studying overseas. Out of those that had studied in Atlantic Canada (11%) or rest of Canada (16%) or Canadian institution abroad (2%):

  • 6 attended secondary school

  • 4 attended polytechnic/ institute of technology

  • 22 attended university

  • 2 attended other tertiary institution

  • 8 attended private language school

  • 6 attended other

Length of stay so far in Atlantic Canada ranged from less than a month to seventy two months with a mean of twenty five months. Seventy six students (56%) indicated they planned to study in Atlantic Canada for more than three years.

5.1.2 University

As seen in Figure 17, students who participated in the study were primarily (68%) located in Nova Scotia, with 50% in Halifax and 18% in Wolfville. 19% of students were located in Newfoundland (St. John’s) and 10% in Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown).

Figure 17

The sample consisted of seventy one Bachelors students, forty five Masters students, and twenty PhD students. As seen in Figure 18, most students were enrolled in their first year (46%) and second year (33%) of studies at their respective universities.

Figure 18

As seen in Figure 19, Science (38%) was the leading field of study followed by Business & Management (18%) and Engineering (15%). A number of students were enrolled in Computer Science (13%) and Arts & Social Science (12%) and the remainder of the students were enrolled in Health Professions (2%), Medicine (1%), and Education (1%).

Figure 19

Parents (63%) were the number one source of financial support for these students’ education in Atlantic Canada. Additional financial support came from self (33%), Canadian scholarship (21%), international loan (8%), international scholarship (7%), own government (7%), employer (6%), other family members (5%), husband/ wife (3%), and in rare cases Canadian loan (1%).

As seen in Figure 21, payment for education was most frequently described (32%) as ‘moderately difficult’ however, quite a few students found payment ‘very’ (27%) to ‘extremely’ (19%) difficult. Only 11% of students did not find it difficult at all to pay for their education in Atlantic Canada.

Figure 20

5.1.3 English Fluency

Only twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated English as their first language. Nineteen percent of students spoke Mandarin as their first language. This was to be expected as China was the number one source country of international students. Spanish (7%), Cantonese (4%), and Arabic (4%) were also mother tongue languages for a number of students. Thirty nine language groups were represented in total.

Figure 21

As seen in Figure 22, the majority of students (77%) were not enrolled in an English language program and those who were, were studying English at an intermediate to proficiency level. Overall the students reported that their English language proficiency was excellent. Reading skills were best (67%), followed by listening (63%), speaking (55%), and writing (52%).

Figure 22

5.2 Making a Choice About Where to Study
This section examines the students’ first choice of study destination along with the factors that influenced the choice of Atlantic Canada as a study destination.
Fifty one percent of students chose Atlantic Canada as their first choice of study destination. However, forty-nine percent of students indicated Atlantic Canada was not their first choice of study destination.

Figure 23

Choices varied considerably by province with fifty- four percent of students studying in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island reporting that Atlantic Canada was not their first choice and only twenty-eight percent of students in Newfoundland responded similarly. Despite Newfoundland’s encouraging findings, greater regional initiatives are needed to make Atlantic Canadian universities competitive internationally.
Figure 24 shows the factors that influenced the decision to study in Atlantic Canada. The most important factor was one’s own personal preference (57%) followed by “English speaking country” (53%). Also, among the most influential factors were “Safety” (51%), “University website” (50%), and “Cost” (46%). Moderately influential factors included “International recognition of Atlantic Canada’s qualifications” (37%), the “Quality of Atlantic Canada’s education” (36%), “Internet search engine” (34%), and “Direct contact from an Atlantic Canadian university” (34%). These findings can be used to successfully market international education in Atlantic Canada as the results reveal students need to be targeted directly and strengths of Atlantic Canadian universities such as English speaking, safe environment, cost of living, international recognition of qualifications, and high quality of education need to be advertised via universities’ websites and internet search engines.

Figure 24

5.3 Educational Experiences in Atlantic Canada
This section explores academic self assessment, program evaluation, and cultural inclusiveness in the classroom.
The majority of respondents (80%) described their academic progress as good (47%) or excellent (33%) with less than 1% indicating their progress was poor. Overall, (66%), the students were ‘very satisfied’ (53%) or ‘extremely satisfied’ (13%) with their progress.
Students provided feedback on thirteen academic activities. As seen in Figure 25, most students reported that they did not find the tasks difficult at all. Managing one’s workload was considered ‘moderately difficult’ by twenty six percent of students. There were a few activities that were considered ‘slightly difficult’: studying in different education system (26%), giving opinions to teachers (24%), and making oral presentations (23%). Progress, satisfaction, and the ranking of task difficulty were similar across the provinces.
Figure 25

The findings suggest the majority of students are adjusting well to the education system in Atlantic Canada and are happy with their academic progress; however, close attention needs to be given to the small number of students not satisfied with their progress and/ or experiencing difficulties with their studies.
As shown in Table 8, evaluations of content, feedback, teachers, and assessment were mostly in the ‘average’ to ‘good’ range. While the ratings are satisfactory, excellent ratings would give Atlantic Canada a competitive advantage in the international education market.
Table 8

Program Evaluation






The Content of Your Course





The Feedback You Receive





The Quality of Your Instructors





The Assessment Procedures





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