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‘It made no sense to leave’ during strike: Toronto native studying here

Franchesca Chan, a second-year tourism and travel services student, moved here from Toronto to experience what Ottawa had to offer. During her first year at Algonquin everything went smoothly.

Once second-year came around, however, there were some major setbacks.

The Ontario-wide college strike that started on Oct. 16 and ended on Nov. 20 led to 2,098 full-time student withdrawals at Algonquin as of Feb. 26. Out of that, there were 1,938 domestic students and 160 international dropping out of their programs.

The colleges offered a strike relief fund where students could apply to get up to $500 from unexpected costs that the strike may have caused.

Chan decided to stay at Algonquin after the strike because “it made no sense to leave” and she knew that the college was going to accommodate her the best they could.

“I feel they will look more into a better recovery plan,” said Chan.

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She hopes that the college will put more consideration into student voices, because during the strike it felt as if the students were used as a bargaining chip. Chan hopes that if something like this happens again that there will be a student body or voice to speak up for all the students.

Chan’s program was lucky as the professors, in her eyes, managed to salvage what was left to work with. Exams were removed to give them more time to work on other work.

One problem for Chan was that, post-strike, students were discouraged from travelling. Chan’s boyfriend lives in Boston where she had a trip planned prior to the strike. After some consideration she decided to continue on with the previous plan.

“To be honest I really expected more,” she said. “Just being at home for five weeks didn’t really help me. It did really take an impact on me remembering all of the things I learned before the strike, coming back it was harder because you had that huge month-long period off.”

LISTEN to an audio version of this story.

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