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Studying in Canada: Sault College offers many options

Many international students overlook Canadian colleges because it is perceived that they lack the prestige and value of a university education, or that a college education leads to careers that are not as personally or financially rewarding, but often they are missing out on a secret that Canadian students have known for a long time now.

A college education in Canada is designed with one purpose in mind: to impart knowledge and employability skills to help students launch their future careers in an immense variety of very rewarding fields. Colleges in Canada have a distinct and important mandate to provide education that leads to employment.

Many students attend college right from high school, study in a diploma program and go on to outstanding careers in fields as diverse as graphic design, hotel management, and a variety of technical careers in engineering. Still other students will attend college after first earning a university degree and then pursue a diploma or a post-graduate diploma program to advance their existing career path or to launch them in an entirely new direction.

Either way, direct from high school or after a previous degree and work experience, students attending college generally have one purpose in mind – to find good employment in a field they are passionate about and enjoy.

At Sault College, in Sault Ste. Marie in northern Ontario, over 90 per cent of the students find employment within six months of graduation in areas like health sciences, engineering, hospitality, business, information technology, and community services.

“The need for workers in Ontario and in Canada is very high in a variety of fields, often fields with highly demanding, but highly rewarding careers, careers that are highly respected in Canada,” reports Sault College Registrar, Krista Pearson, who has visited India on several occasions in recent years. “The spectrum of program options at Sault College reflects the needs of our local, regional, and provincial economy, so when you choose a program, you are also choosing your future employment.”

Sault College is situated in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, population 80,000, and located on the United States border, across the St. Mary’s River from the state of Michigan. Approximately 2,400 full-time and many more part-time students study at Sault College each year.

Ekta, a 40-year-old mother of two from New Delhi, was a businesswoman in India. When her elder daughter went to Canada to study, she took it as an opportunity to start a life in Canada, too. Despite having education and experience in Business, she wanted a short program of study that would earn a marketable Canadian credential as well as access to employment. She chose the Personal Support Worker program at Sault College.
Ekta commented on her transition to a new school and a new city: “The Registrar and International Coordinator are very helpful. They are my backbone in this city; they take good care of all the international students from receiving them at the airport to finding accommodations and settling in completely.”

Ekta also arrived with her 14-year-old daughter and the college helped her daughter register at a local high school.

As a Personal Support Worker graduate, Ekta will be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, which combined with her business background in India, can help to launch a career in health.

“The decision to study in Canada requires commitment and willingness to be flexible. Moving half way across the world to get the education you need is an important choice, but the results can be incredibly rewarding,” says Pearson.

“Canada is multicultural. Canadians welcome everybody with warmth and happiness. Like Indians, they are also friendly and helpful.”

In comparison with her studies in India, Ekta says, “the course curriculum is, of course, better here and the way everything is organized here and completed in fixed time is an excellent thing about Canada. Other external factors don’t hamper your study.”

For Canadian and international students alike, a college education often complements a student’s existing education; many college students have already completed a degree program before coming to a college, or they have substantial work experience, or both.

Often the college education becomes the key stepping stone to starting or advancing a career.

“Higher studies are, no doubt, excellent in Canada and the kind of training they give for this course is outstanding If I have to give it a grade, I’ll say studying is excellent here,” says Ekta.

Her sentiments are echoed by Ontario provincial surveys of college students who have rated Sault College #2 in Canada’s largest province for overall student satisfaction. Ekta’s experience is certainly shared by others.
Ekta couldn’t help but admit that getting used to winter in Canada has been a different experience and, sometimes, challenging.

“I’ve never seen this or experienced ever before in my life. India is a warm country and in Delhi the lowest cold temp is 1 or 2 degrees celsius. In Canada, everything is so warm indoors, once you are inside the premises you are fine.”

– Jason Brennan

• To find out more about studying in Canada, visit www.canada123.org.

Posted: Apr 3, 2013

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