• By: OLM Staff

Diplomacy Through Education: The Flourishing Exchange of Chinese Students in Canada

Canada has been a popular destination for international students for decades. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the number of international students studying in Canada annually has been steadily increasing and will only continue.

In the 2020 academic year, Canada hosted over 642,000 international students. The distribution of students from different countries varies, and the following are some of the top countries whose students contribute significantly to Canada’s international student population:

The majority of international students in Canada come from China, India, South Korea, France, Brazil, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

In the 2020 academic year, there were over 150,000 Chinese students studying in Canada, making China the largest source country for international students. They are attracted by the quality of education and cultural diversity in Canada and the numerous college,  university and post-graduate options.

The influx of Chinese students into Canadian universities and colleges has enriched academic institutions and fostered a unique bridge of cultural, economic, and diplomatic exchange between Canada and China, ultimately enhancing our bilateral relations.

Having Chinese and other international students choose Canadian educational institutions for their academic pursuits bolsters the reputation of Canadian universities on the global stage. The presence of these students also benefits Canada at home by creating a cultural tapestry within campuses that reflects the world’s interconnected nature and reinforces Canada’s unique place as a multicultural country with a welcome mat for all international students.

The economic benefits to Canada from having Chinese students study here are significant to the Canadian economy. Their tuition fees, accommodation costs, and daily expenses inject billions of dollars annually, providing a substantial economic boost to local businesses and communities. The presence of Chinese and other international students fosters cross-cultural understanding, broadens perspectives, and promotes tolerance and diversity, creating an enriching educational experience for all students.

Many Chinese students at Canadian universities engage in cutting-edge research and innovation, contributing to Canada’s position as a global leader in various fields. Their collaboration with Canadian peers and faculty fosters an environment of academic excellence and creativity.

Students returning to China after studying in Canada bring back a wealth of knowledge and a global perspective. This benefits Chinese industries and academia and contributes to China’s continued integration into the global economy.

It is also important to understate how the exchange of students promotes cultural diplomacy, fostering positive perceptions between the people of Canada and China. The presence of Chinese students in Canada enables meaningful people-to-people connections. Friendships formed during academic years create lasting ties, contributing to a foundation of mutual understanding and trust.

As the number of Chinese studying in Canada continues to rise, so does the potential for deeper and more meaningful connections between the two nations. This educational exchange not only brings economic and cultural benefits to Canada but also plays a pivotal role in shaping positive and collaborative Canada-China bilateral relations. In many ways, cooperation in education and Chinese students studying in Canada and vice-versa are a key pillar of Canada-China bilateral affairs.

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