Recent comments from Nova Scotia’s Minister of Advanced Education do not sit well with international students.
On Thursday, Higher Education Minister Brian Wong said it was up to international students to find accommodation before boarding a plane.
“I would always ask students and their families to do their due diligence to be safe wherever you go,” he said.
“Once you find the educational institution that offers you what you want, you make sure that there is also suitable accommodation and everything you might need. »
But international students say the provincial government should do more to help students find affordable housing amid a housing crisis.
International students say they do their “due diligence” before arriving in Nova Scotia for school. They said Wong’s comments were out of touch with the many obstacles they face.
A group of Dalhousie students who were on campus Friday said it had been difficult to find housing after leaving India.
“We did our research, our parents did our research too,” one student said. “We’ve been doing this for three months, but we don’t have any response, most of the time they don’t give funds to students. And when we tell them we are international students, it is immediately dismissed. »
Students said prices were too high and there wasn’t enough accommodation.
“For what I’m paying, I really think I should get more – facilities, amenities and things like that,” said Abhishek Panicker, a first-year student at Dalhousie. He got a place in residency this year, but says he’s worried about his peers.
He wants the government to do more to help.
“There are people who could use help as international students. They charge a lot more than those who reside here,” Panicker said. “I hope they reduce that a little bit.” This will be a burden on a family for the future.
“I really think it should be the government’s responsibility because we also pay for everything, including tuition fees, and we also pay international student fees. We contribute to the community,” added Dalhousie student Noppadol Theerakul.
The minister also said this week that international students should be wary of recruiters.
“There is no doubt that there are recruiters who do unscrupulous things and that is really unfortunate,” Wong said. “However, for example, Cape Breton University has trained its recruiters to ensure that appropriate and honest information is provided to students. »
Wong gave no timetable for the rollout of the provincial student housing strategy, which was supposed to be released last spring.
It aims to help students find safe and affordable housing.
In a statement, Dalhousie spokesperson Lindsay Dowling-Savelle said the university also works to ensure students receive the correct details before making the transition to post-secondary education.
“We prioritize transparency and student well-being by providing accurate and up-to-date information on academic programs, admission requirements, important dates and deadlines, but also on essential aspects of life student, such as securing housing and learning about their new communities and living expenses,” she said.
She added that Dalhousie offers guaranteed residential housing to students coming directly from high school within a certain time frame.
“Ideally, students deciding to pursue postsecondary education should consider several factors, including institutional profile, academic programs, location, cost, and ability to achieve their academic and social goals” , Dowling-Savelle said. “To effectively navigate this process, students are encouraged to consult official institutional websites and publications to conduct their foundational research.”
Saint Mary’s University declined an interview request, saying it was one of the busiest weeks of the year for the school.
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