Thursday, 26 November 2015, 8:45 pm

Hard choices affect students internationally

International students seek information from Sue Gerow and International Department student assistants at the Segal International Centre at the Welland campus. PHOTO BY KENDRA FERGUSON

Staff Writer

April 17 is the day that some students cannot wait for and the day that others dread - the last day of classes at Niagara College for most programs. Now that there are about two weeks of school left, international students - some who are facing the prospect of finding a job and some who are facing financial problems are left with the question “What now?”
Agberia Orode Yvonne, 23, from Nigeria, is a first-year Computer Engineering student. He started in January but moved to Canada in December 2013. He will stay in Welland when school closes as a result of having to take summer classes.
Yvonne said coming to Niagara College wasn’t what he expected and it was difficult to adjust to.
“I would like to get a job, but I’m not that interested in on-campus jobs as off-campus jobs,” said Agberia. “Canadians are way more privileged. It is very easy for them to get loans and scholarships, I understand that I’m an international student, but I think they can do a lot more for us.”
According to recruiter Lauren Lambert Niagara College has about 2,000 international students. More than half know whether they would return home or not for the break by now.
Business Accounting student, Samantha Simmons, 36, from The Bahamas, decided she would stay in Canada and work, even though she would have to continue pay $500 per month for a student room. Staying would be cheaper than having to go home and being jobless. She works at the information centre at the college.
Simmons has her off-campus work permit, and has applied for jobs, but wasn’t contacted yet.
“This year was rough. Banks weren’t willing to work with us.” Simmons said it’s hard being an international student in Canada and scholarships exists, but they’re limited, competitive, and the majority of them are under $2,000. “I think there should be a lot more to offer to us because we do pay more.”
Diploma programs for international students are estimated to cost $10,950 per year, not including fees and insurance, where as it is estimated at $5,204 for Canadian students. Niagara College has international students from around the world. Travelling home can be time-consuming, and expensive. A round trip airplane ticket to India, for example, can range anywhere from $400 to $2,000. It is costly, especially if it’s only for a break.
Shawna Luey, international student adviser at the Welland campus, said, “I believe there is an additional difficulty for international students when seeking jobs because Canadian employees want to see Canadian experience.” She went on to say that it is an inevitable problem for all students because she struggled to find a job when she was a student at Niagara College as well and the college offers a lot of sessions to prepare students.
“We welcome any input to assist with job search, or just being a student. All they have to do is come in and talk”
Luey also said that they encourage students to use the Centre for Student Enhancement and Leadership to build a portfolio and skill set.
“It will go a long way.”
As for travelling, Luey said she doesn’t believe many international students go home during the break. They either stay in school for the summer semester or look for a job.
“The majority I’ve met look forward to the break because they can finally get an off-campus job and work. I’ve never recognized staying not to be a choice.”

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