Canada’s border restrictions have left many Indian students high and dry

Nikita Dey, a Delhi-based Architect had many options in front of her, for higher education- US, UK, Australia, and Canada to name a few. After thorough research, she decided to go to Canada (Canadore College, North Bay) because of its straightforward visa process. ” I have read enough to know that Canada welcomes students with open arms. And post-study work permit is easy to secure, which in turn helps in the loan repayment. And in the long run, with its pro-immigration policies, I will be able to settle down in Canada,” says Nikita. But soon the fairytale dream of higher studies became a nightmare.

Canada’s Border restrictions

Due to the rise in Covid Delta cases, Canada closed its border on April 22nd, 2021 and all direct flights to Canada from India stopped. “My tickets were booked with Emirates for the month of May. Dubai closed its border on India too and my tickets got cancelled. After 2 months of waiting in anticipation,  I reached out to a travel agent who suggested a route via Serbia.
I was aware of many students, flying via Serbia. So I got a ticket that cost me a fortune but I was happy to secure one. However, my happiness was short-lived.  Soon, I received messages from my friends who were stranded at Belgrade airport because of a sudden change in rules.  I was lucky to have escaped that ordeal but financially I experienced a major blow,” she elucidates.

Higher education abroad entails huge expenditure, which is often managed through loans. This financial hit is seen as a future investment. However, these unforeseen circumstances add to the financial burden. ” Who could have imagined such a situation? As a destination for higher education, Canada should keep the well-being of its students in mind. As for me, I am only chasing my travel agents for a refund—and given the current situation, waiting patiently for the borders to reopen,” she concludes.

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