Indian student speaks to WION, reveals shocking state of Canada’s education system, housing and health infra

Leaving her education mid-way, this year before paying her second-year tuition fee, Vrinda Kathore, came back to India in the month of September. She was pursuing a post-graduate diploma in health care management from Canada. 

“I landed there in April 2022, I was studying at Cape Breton University and around that time the influx of immigration was not as bad as it got in the last 12-16 months,” she told WION while speaking about her ‘Canadian experience’. 

When she landed in Canada, Kathore could find accommodation for herself as she already had it planned. She said that there were 500 students in that intake and in the next four months, which was the September intake, there was a huge influx of about 3,500 students. 

“That is when the housing and rental crisis began for me,” she reflected on her time in Canada.

The prices were high and there was a big shortage of housing, she noted adding that students were put in rooms like “pigs.” “In September 2022, when so many students came in, this was an opportunity for Canadian landlords to make money.”  

Kathore said that the inflation is also very high so the landlords are also making money off the students. “In January 2023, the rent started to go way higher. Nobody was stopping these ‘slumlords’.” 

Was forced to take classes in cinema halls 

The most shocking thing, she pointed out, was that even when it was just 500 students they were asked to take classes in the cinema theatres. “My first semester I spent studying at the cinema theatre. So they did not have infrastructure and then they brought in more than 3,500 students. So they started renting out cinema theatres. So people would go an watch movies there in the evenings and in the morning the universities were renting it out as classrooms.”  

Kathore, along with her other fellow mates, protested on facebook pages.

Upon this, the universities tried to accomodate some of them at the campus. “Everything kept changing in Canada every four months, with every intake.” 

Online classes 

Kathore kept making friends from the new batches to understand the reality of Indian students studying in Canada. 

“I heard complaints. Students are complaining that the university, without asking for their permission, shuffled their schedule, which the students made for themselves.” 

“Everybody makes their schedule as per their part-time job availability,” Kathore said while speaking about how haywire things were. 

Health crisis in Canada

“In Canada, all hospitals and medical facilities are run by the government and there is no option for private hospitals. There is a shortage of staff but unless there is an emergency, you will not get the services,” she started off. 

Kathore, who had aspirations to work in Canada for at least 7-8 years, said that the weight line to get a family doctor was more than one and a half years. 

“Once someone gets the family doctor, they have to do the general checkups. He would then refer me to other doctors… many times people just sit in the hospital with broken hands.” 

She said that she had met a lot of Canadians who go to America to get treatments if they get some serious health issues. 

Indian hired for cheap labour 

Kathore said that Canadian universities promise good-paying jobs and co-op programs. “Ideally the universities must help but they do not.” 

“They say that for placement one needs to have a Canadian experience. Once we get in there, we are just called in for cheap labour. We are getting jobs at Tim Horton coffee shops. One is also given the job of a nanny at a medical facility, which is a National Occupation Classification (NOC) C job.”

“We are called there to address the labour shortage. I am investing $30,000 but there is no ROI. The education system makes you feel that you don’t deserve.”

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