By Shirley Genga
Nairobi, Kenya: As international university tuition costs soar, Kenyan students seeking affordable but quality post-graduate education are now turning to Canada.
As this writer found out during a recent trip to the North American country, the cost of living and tuition fees for international students are lower compared to other countries, despite Canada’s living standards being among the highest in the world.
Calistus Otieno, a Kenyan who joined University of New Brunswick in 2006, says small classes make it easy for students to interact with professors, among other advantages.
“The classes were smaller and comfortable, and the professors approachable. Most professors knew all their students by name. And yes, the city of Saint John is no megalopolis; it is just the right size to allow you to focus,” explains Calistus, who is currently undertaking a Masters degree.
Other popular institutions with foreign students are University of Waterloo and Ryerson University, located at the heart of Toronto.
While University of Waterloo is best known for science courses, with Mike Lazaridis, a former student who invented the Blackberry as one of its alumni, Ryerson University is home to Canada’s largest undergraduate business school – Ted Rogers School of Management.
Kenyan-born Teriano Lesancha, who is the first university graduate from her village in Loodariak in Kajiado, is a product of the incubation centre and has started a jewellery business and scholarship fund.
Stay and work
“I joined Ryerson in 2008 and graduated 2012. As an international student in Canada, I worked part time. You apply for an off campus work permit six months after arrival and must always maintain good grades to keep the work permit. I also got scholarships for my tuition,” says Lesancha.
The Canadian government also allows international students to stay and work after graduating.
Under the Post-Graduate Work Permit Programme, international students can obtain a three-year open work permit, without being required to have a job offer beforehand.