I came to Canada in 2020 to pursue an undergraduate degree in a field I’m very passionate about. I was very excited to learn in a country recognized for its commitment to fairness and ethics, versus my home country where corruption and nepotism are large factors that limit opportunities for progressive professional and personal growth. It was disheartening to come to the realization that international student tuition is more than triple that of domestic students and the opportunities for financial support through loans, scholarships and grants are far less. This is also coupled with discriminations faced by international students when applying for jobs and seeking mental health facilitation.
When the pandemic started shortly after I arrived in Canada, international student tuition was increased after switching to online learning, which was an inferior learning experience to in-person learning. During this time, we had no access to campus facilities and resources, yet still we were paying more money than ever before. Throughout the pandemic I often had to return home after not being able to afford the increasing tuition coupled with the rising cost of living and lack of opportunities to work. The financial burden of studying in Ontario has only grown since then as fees continue to increase. Every semester, I am faced with the very real possibility of having to give up on my studies in Canada with nothing to show for my efforts because of the mental and financial unsustainability of it all.
I hope that we are all able to consider the moral ethics of treating dedicated learners in search of a better life as if they are little more than cash cows.