Mumbai: With Canada’s popularity as a study destination, renowned universities such as The University of Toronto also known as U of T have a lot to benefit from considering its ranking as one of the best institutions not only in North America but the world as a whole. Harriet Pham, Recruitment Officer at the University of Toronto who was in Mumbai on a short visit, spoke to the Free Press Journal on the current scenario with the Indian market, visa delays, post-Covid protocols, securing jobs post-study in Canada, and much more. Excerpts from the interview:
What’s the significance of your coming to India this year?
As the student recruitment officer for the University of Toronto, I am here in India as it’s one of the biggest sources of international students for us. We aim to directly interact with students who wish to make U of T their place of learning and provide them with information about the various programmes, opportunities, etc. that the institution provides to thousands of students each year.
What’s the current scenario of Indian students at Uni of Toronto and Canada as a whole?
There has been a significant increase in the number of Indian students in Canada generally, with more than 230,000 of them currently enrolled in different universities across the country. We have seen this jump in the last 5-6 years, which has also benefited U Toronto as students from India form the third largest group here after US and China.
With reports of delayed study permits affecting international students. How is the University of Toronto dealing with the situation?
Many students who are wanting to study in Canada are facing similar problems. Amid this, we are doing the best we can while relying on the expertise of IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) who are dealing with multiple backlogs. It will probably take another 12 months before we achieve our pre-pandemic numbers. We would recommend students defer their admissions, if the delays are hampering their schedules, to the next fall, September to November 2023.
How are the classes being conducted post-Covid? What are some of the safety protocols in place?
Most of our classes are now being conducted in person. We are expecting around 90,000 students to make a return to the University of Toronto campus. Though masks are optional for students, vaccine mandates are still in place which applies to students who are availing accommodation at the University as well. The situation is pretty much back to normal. We have also come to know that most of the student visas have been expedited in the past few days, which is something that we welcome.
Why should students choose U of T when they now have innumerable University options across Canada?
For one, our reputation as Canada’s number 1 institution is still intact. We constantly rank among the top 10 best public universities in the world in all major University ranking sites, magazines, and portals. The University of Toronto is heavily research-intensive, while also receiving the most annual scientific research funding and endowment of any Canadian university. We are located in the Greater Toronto Area, which is a hub of financial and economic happenings in the country. Our courses range from Finance, Biotech, Engineering, etc, which is an addition to the various mix-and-match programmes we offer. Students can come to the institute and choose from more than 700 undergraduate and 200 graduate programmes and also comfortably do their double majors.
How can the University of Toronto help students in securing jobs post-study?
We believe that immigration policies should apply to students so that they can apply for jobs right after their studies. With the state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities for a wide range of courses, the University aims to help students from all backgrounds secure work post-study. Students can follow https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada/work/after-graduation/eligibility.html for more details on the same.