The price of being ambitious

The amount charged to an international student for the tuition fee has been a concern amongst temporary residents in Canada for a number of years.

While the ambition of moving to another country for better education and living purposes tends to appeal to the foreign students, the reality of lower savings and higher expenses leaves them just as staggered.

Sahil Chhabra,  a former hospitality management student and founder of The SAITSA International Club at SAIT, vouches to have paid close to double the fee of a regular citizen.

“When you’re paying two to three times the fee of a normal student, you have to sacrifice somewhere in order to maintain a living,” said Chhabra. “You either cut down on your food and daily living expenses, or you let go of your entertainment costs, but you can’t manage everything.”

Aside from the high amounts of tuition fee, another concern amongst international students is the status of being unemployed.

Michael Mao, a  second year physical education student at The University of Lethbridge, said the inability of working outside of campus posed a lot of problems in terms of every day expenses.In Mao’s opinion, besides having a lower tuition expense, citizens and permanent residents of Canada have the added advantage of being allowed to work as much as they require in order to make a living outside of the classroom for themselves.

However, as an international student, rules and regulations apply to every aspect of employment.

“You can’t work off-campus for the first semester, but even after you receive an off-campus work permit, you only have a certain number of hours that you’re allowed to work for,” said Mao, “I always found that these rules bound me down and didn’t give me the freedom to make a better life for myself.”

First year commerce student at The University of Calgary, Aroona Mawani, admits to paying over $15,000 solely in tuition over the past year.

Having to rely upon family for a good education, Mawani said, can be very tedious for international students because they constantly have to explain themselves and their expenses to their families back home.

“When I first thought of moving here and told my father of what the tuition alone would cost him, he was dumbstruck,” said Mawani “It’s very hard for me to explain to him, every time, that the money he wires to me every four months is not for my personal expenses, but just to pay off school fees.”

Despite the sky-high fees and expenses, many international students value the quality of education they receive from Canadian institutions.

I know that when I first thought of moving here and told my father of what the tuition alone would cost him, he was dumbstruck. – Aroona Mawani

According to Chhabra, as unnerving as it can be to pay a higher price for the same facilities, instructors and education as a normal citizen, it also provides the international student with understanding  the instructors who don’t cease to be polite and helpful despite any language or cultural barriers.

About Yashica Anandani 11 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Yashica Anandani worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.