A total of 3,085 international students enrolled in the fall semester, 2020. The college has accommodated 150 new international students and 35 returning students already. Photo credit: Hritika Jimmy

Basil Kavangumpillil, 19, is an introduction to Canadian healthcare studies student who isn’t studying from Ottawa this semester but from Kochi, India where the time is nine hours and 30 minutes ahead of Algonquin.

“I face some issues with sleeping,” said Kavangumpillil. “Some classes are in the middle of the night, for example at 3:30 a.m.”

With only 42 courses operating on-campus this fall, 3,085 students from around the world had to postpone their plans to travel to Ottawa for education at Algonquin College.

After COVID-19 required the world to collectively set a new pace, the doors of the college remained open to international students for the fall intake – only via Zoom rather than in person.

One course that was suspended during spring was business administration. Arya Raju, 17, is a student of the program, who enrolled in school this semester. She lives with her parents in Dubai, UAE, which is eight hours ahead of the time in Ottawa.

“Since this is my first semester of college,” said Raju, “I’m missing out on a lot of the first-time college experience, especially when it comes to learning. But with everything that’s going on in the world right now, it is a much safer option.”

Yet Arya is adapting to the situation.

“I have adjusted and gotten used to the time difference and I haven’t faced any particular issues when it comes to submission and access to sites for my assignments yet,” she said.

Charmil Patel, 19, an ICHS student, isn’t finding the situation so easy

“I have encountered many problems with the time difference as I have two classes in a day,” said Patel. Patel is in Gujarat, India and due to the time difference, all his classes fall during night-time. “I don’t think my course requires me to be on campus for this semester but I am planning to come to Canada soon.”

Kavangumpillil, a student of the same course, is coming up with learning new ways to adjust to the remote delivery of classes to get his desired results.

“This type of virtual classroom is a new experience for me,” said Kavangumpillil. “It changed my whole learning methods and with the help of Rubric, assignments are much easier to score marks on.”

Students of the ICHS program received an email stating that they need to finish 50 per cent of the course on- campus to successfully apply for a work permit. A work permit is a legal document required by international students to work in Canada after their study permit expires.

“I received an email yesterday from the college that stated, I must come to Canada for studying practical nursing since it includes hands-on learning but they did not mention anything about my travel letter.”

On the other hand, Raju’s course does not require her to be on campus but does have a field placement during the latter part of her course for which she plans on coming.

“My course is 100 per cent remote delivery and therefore does not require me to be on campus,” said Raju. “But I am hoping to reach Canada by the end of this year.”