By: Abraham Redda
International students are a strong source of revenue for the University. They pay nearly double in tuition costs compared to domestic students. Over the past few years at McMaster, there has been a 6 per cent rise in the tuition costs for internationals.
With the movement for producing more globally aware citizens in universities across North America, McMaster has shown evidence of following suit. The university has students representing over 91 countries worldwide and is the only North American host site of a United Nations University.
The International Student Barometer measures the quality of international student experience. The 2011 ISB surveyed 209,422 international students from 238 institutions in 16 countries.
While McMaster was not one of the ten participating institutions from Ontario, the barometer provides information on general Canadian trends.
According to the ISB, Canadian institutions rank positively, above the international average, in providing safety, eco-friendly environments and Internet access to international students. On average, Canadian institutions were noticeably behind the international average in terms of supporting international students with living costs and financing.
Since there are no caps on tuition fees for international students, the increase in international student admissions nationwide has often been seen as a makeshift solution for the lack of funding that universities have experienced since the ‘90s.
It seems that an expensive education is no deterrant to foreign applicants. McMaster alone has 1,289 international students at the graduate and undergraduate level (as of 2009/2010), contributing to Ontario having the highest number of foreign students in post-secondary institutions in Canada.
Many would argue that an expensive education is worth the payoff.
Angelina Bong, a 4th year Commerce student originally from Singapore, said she ultimately chose McMaster over other Ontario universities because she felt it would give her a well-rounded education.
“I definitely felt a strong pull towards Mac. It’s more open and flexible. I’ve never felt that I was denied any opportunities.”
Bong also highlighted the DeGroote International Committee – a new committee set up by the DeGroote School of Business to increase dialogue within the faculty and incoming and outgoing exchange students.
“It just started, but I see a lot of potential.”
This kind of dialogue is intrinsic to the push for accepting international students. More than just a facet of increasing diversity on campus, international students may choose to stay in Canada after completing their degrees and become valuable contributors to society.
And if they choose to return to their countries or continue travelling, they can create and maintain strong connections between institutions.
“When I complete my studies,” said Bong, “I hope to get a job that allows me to travel around the world.”