Career & Education

Hundreds descend on Canada education fair

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Career & Education reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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Scholarships and other forms of finanical assistance were foremost on the minds of hundreds of students from high schools across the island who descended on the Canadian college and university fair at Spanish Court's Worthington, last Monday and Tuesday.

The bulk of them arrived early, and sought refuge under the canopy of the trees, as they counted down to 9:00 am.

There were scores of parents too, some of who came without their children but who were just as invested in learning all they could on Canadian study options.

“We are here in search of better opportunities for a better future. And we are looking for the most cost-effective because our parents are not wealthy enough to support our financial needs for university, so we are looking for a scholarship and to see what they have to offer international students so we can continue our studies,” Titchfield High School sixth former Nicholi Harris told the Jamaica Observer.

The 17-year-old Portland student said he was seeking to identify a college or university that offers programmes which will create the foundation for a career in actuarial science or the pharmaceutical industry.

Harris' schoolmate, Javaun Harriott was on a similar quest.

“I am looking for a university that has a great internship link, a high rate of international student success, and also scholarships for international students,” Harriott explained.

The lower six form science student added: “I want to do something in biomedical engineering so I can come back and help out people, because that is lacking in this country.”

Teachers — like Chenelle Barrett, mathematics teacher at Titchfield High School and chaperone to the students — were on the hunt as well.

“My purpose for coming here today is to get [information] about the colleges and universities that are in Canada because I want to further my studies. So I am seeing the opportunities that are offered here — whether I can get a scholarship and if they have the programmes that I am interested in to pursue my post graduate degree,” Barrett told Career & Education.

Outside of the range of scholarships and other financial assistance mechanisms available at Canadian institutions of higher learning, including co-ops and internships, some attendants at the education fair — part of the 2018 Caribbean Regional Education Tour (E-CRET) co-ordinated by the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica and Global Affairs Canada — pointed to cheaper tuition costs, when compared to the US, and respect for cultural diversity among their drawing cards.

Simone DaCosta was one of them. Her daughter is a US citizen studying at Hillel Academy but she finds Canada's environment more enticing.

“I currently have a son who is a first-year student at Brock University so I also visited Brock's [booth], although she may not want to go to the same university as her brother. But it's a good option because the environment in Canada is a lot more demographic and different compare to the US. It's easier, it's more family oriented, promotes different cultures — the diversity is there. And sometimes when you have to compare the tuition, the universities are sometimes cheaper than the US universities — so that's why we are here,” she explained.

Clutching brochures as she sought information, Ann- Marie Henry said her daughter, a sixth form student at Wolmer's Trust High School for Girls, has expressed interest in studying in Canada so she was trying to collect sufficient information to better guide her in choosing the right college or university.

Kamara Bascoe, a student of The Queen's School who is no stranger to college/university fairs, gave the Canada education fair a satisfactory grade.

“...It is very informative,” she told Career & education. “They tell you more about the college in depth, making it easier for you to choose which college or university you want to attend,” Bascoe said, who has her mind on George Brown College.

Student athlete Kai Chang said he was impressed with the business programmes the universities and colleges were offering.

“I am a discus thrower and there are a few universities here that offer programmes for athletics, so I spoke with some of them so I am interested in finding out more. Canada seems to be a good place; it seems to be a good place and the cost of living is decent. Overall, tertiary level education is very limited in Jamaica versus abroad, so Canada may be a good place for a lot of students,” the Calabar High School upper six form student said.

Twenty two Canadian institutions of learning participated in the education fair. They were Assiniboine College, Brescia/King's University College, Brock University, Centennial College, Dalhousie University, Durham College, Fanshawe College, George Brown College, Humber College, Lakehead University, Loyalist College, McMaster University, New Brunswick Community College, Niagara College, Northern Lights College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Sheridan College, University of Guelph, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and University of Prince Edward Island.

Representatives from the High Commission of Canada's Commercial and Migration Programs were also on hand to provide additional information on scholarships, visa requirements and study options.

The study tour travelled to Montego Bay on Thursday, and will be staged in The Bahamas later this week, on November 15-16.

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