International Students face unique boundaries, upon moving to Newfoundland and Labrador. Culture shock and language barriers make transitioning harder, and make acquiring basic needs more challenging. Furthermore, stereotyping often means that International Students are not treated the same way that Domestic Students are treated. Interviewees in two recent Memorial publications: “Attracting and Retaining Immigrants to Newfoundland and Labrador: Voices from the Newcomers and International Students”, as well as “Strengthening the Value Chain: Supporting International Students and Building Intercultural Competence at Memorial University”, indicate that there are a variety of issues and inequalities that International Students face in the Newfoundland and Memorial context. Some of the main things that came up, include:
Memorial University campuses operate within cities with very low vacancy rates (less than 1%). On-campus residence prioritizes first-year students who graduated high school within the same calendar year, preventing many international students from qualifying. In addition, language and cultural barriers can make securing a clean, affordable living arrangement off-campus extremely difficult for International Students.
International Student tuition is relatively inexpensive, compared to Domestic Student tuition across Canada. However, International Students still pay approximately three times the amount that domestic students pay (see table).
Furthermore, in Newfoundland, the cost of living is very high, and multiple language and institutional barriers often force International Students to take longer than expected to complete their degrees.
International Students use the food bank more than any other group on campus. Not only do many international students complain that they are unable to purchase the kinds of foods and ingredients that they are accustomed to, but they also note that healthy food is incredibly expensive in Newfoundland, in comparison to their home countries.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2012. “Housing Crunch leaves MUN students scrambling”. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/housing-crunch-leaves-mun-students-scrambling-1.1283475 (Oct 29, 2014).