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Canada Reclaims its Spot as Top Study Destination

clock iconCreated At:08 June, 2023
write iconCreated By:Hagar Samir

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The NAFSA conference in Washington, DC, has launched a report showing that Canada has, once again, claimed its spot as the most popular study destination. This used to belong to the United Kingdom before Canada reclaimed it. 

Because of 23,956 students, Canada’s popularity shot up by 29%, with 16.1% choosing it as their top country to study, according to a survey done by Keystone’s State of Student Recruitment 2023. The survey also shows that almost 14.8% chose the US as their top destination, while 14.4% chose the UK. Also, Germany and Australia were chosen by only 6% and 5.4%, respectively.

By looking at the categories as undergraduates and postgraduates, the US and the UK ranked first, with 20% and 18.2%, respectively.

Even with this survey, there was a general agreement among all students that studying abroad is “too expensive”. 

Adam Rennison, head of business development at Keystone’s subsidiary UniQuest, stated that the general rebound has been “much more aggressive than we might have expected in 2020”. 

He stated, “We’ve seen quite an uplift in the partner group of undergraduate applicants, which is encouraging.” 

“It’s kind of caught some people out in terms of processing because a lot of universities have different admissions teams for different study levels, and seeing that spike in UG has had an impact”, he also added.

Since 2022, the United Kingdom’s popularity has decreased by 20%; however, Rennison defended the UK’s ability to attract students. This is despite the sudden response of the latest government responses to the increase in net migration figures when the UK announced limitations on master’s students bringing dependents to the UK. 

He remarked, “We are familiar with the ups and downs, peaks and troughs, and changes in legislation. There’s often an immediate reaction to decisions and legislation that will have an immediate response for some people as well, but ultimately it’s not going to dampen the appeal of the UK completely.”

It’s also worth noting that in 2022, hybrid courses will make up 32% of students’ preferred modes of instruction. In 2023, hybrid courses will make up only 27% of the total. 

As for the languages, English is still at the top of the list, with 85% of students studying it. French, on the other hand, is taking up 6% of classes, and Spanish and German each take up 2%.

If we were to compare 2021 and 2023, a report shows that there has been a gradual increase in the number of students whose motivation is to achieve their career goals. This percentage ranges from 50% to 53%, still the largest motivation.

Jennifer Falzerano, North America manager at the Rennes School of Business, said, “We really see the decrease in demand to experience a new culture. I don’t think that’s just since the pandemic—I think it has been happening for a while, but that’s certainly been a pronounced drop in the last few years.”

She added, “I find it to be quite an unfortunate thing as it’s part of my passion as an international educator. But it’s great to see this real increase in career outcomes and really clear needs in terms of, "What kind of job can I get that will further my career and take care of me and my family?”

“Most institutions in the US are thinking a lot more just about high-impact practices and what exactly that means.”

Sheila K. Schulte, associate vice president of international programmes at the University of North Georgia, remarked, “Of course, one of those aspects is internships.” 

A report claims that internships are the most important and crucial factor in choosing a programme, with 36.9% of respondents agreeing. 

There has also been a 23% increase in students researching their degrees abroad six months or less before applying. It’s now at 56%. 

Rennison remarked, “Some universities are continuing with the traditional processing, structures, and resourcing in the face of significant uplift, but a lot of universities are exploring management services and partnering for admissions. And those universities are forecasting a more efficient way of doing things, and they will be fine because they’re looking at agile solutions and surge management. But there’s still a lot of resistance and a lot of traditional ways of managing this type of business that is hampering some institutions,”


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