Sunday, August 02, 2009

Iranian grad students flock to Canada for study

Barry Artiste Op/Ed

Given the turmoil in Iran, perhaps students from Iran will take back a better perspective of Canada to their country, a perspective that Canada and our Neighbor to the South are not the Great Satan or War Mongering and just ordinary folk like them, studious and democratic.  Four years in Canada may rub off on them as one can only hope these Iranian arrivals may one day take political office with the positive Canadian experience eternally fresh in their minds.

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EDMONTON -- When the University of Alberta totalled up its applications from international graduate students wanting to study in Edmonton this September, the school noticed something it hadn't seen before.

Typically, the largest group of students comes from China, followed by the United States and France. But this year, Iran led the way with 618 master's and PhD applicants, a jump of 60 per cent over 2008.

The Islamic republic erupted in turmoil this summer, when a disputed election led to mass protests both inside the country and around the world.

"This year there is a very dramatic increase, and in all likelihood the political reason may play a role," said Britta Baron, provost and vice-president international at the University of Alberta.

"They are well-trained by Iranian universities, the language barrier is not very serious and they seem to integrate very well."

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