We have selected 10 of Metro Vancouver Canada’s top universities and colleges to give international students and their families an overview of educational opportunities unique to Canada.

According to The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s 2011 Trends in Higher Education Report, enrollment of international students in every major field of study has grown strongly in Canadian universities since 1995. The number of international students has doubled in education, and there were four-fold increases in visual and performing arts, and business, management and public administration.

In 2008, the most popular fields of study were: business, management and public administration (23%), architecture, engineering and related technologies (16%) and social and behavioural sciences, and law (13%).

When enrollment trends of international and domestic students were compared by discipline, it became clear that while international students are represented in every major area of study, they are more concentrated in certain areas.

For example, 23% of international students study business, management and public administration, compared to 14% of domestic students, and 15% of international students study architecture, engineering and related studies, compared to 8% of domestic students. Conversely, a greater percentage of domestic students were enrolled in social and behavioural sciences and law, and the  humanities.

In 1980, international students came to Canada from approximately 175 countries, with the majority (52%) of students coming from Hong Kong, the U.S., Malaysia, the U.K. and Iran, respectively.  By 2008, the number of source countries had increased to 200.

Despite the growth in the number of source countries, almost half of all international students continued to come from one of five countries:  China, France, the U.S., India and South Korea. Close to 16,000 students came from China, which has been Canada’s top source of international students since 2001.

Recruitment activities in France led to steady increases in students generating more than 7,100 students in 2008 and overtaking the U.S. as the second leading sending country. More than 6,600 students came from the U.S.; India is in fourth place sending approximately 2,900 students and approximately 2,780 students came to Canada from South Korea.

The next nine jurisdictions – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Japan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Germany Mexico and Nigeria – account for 16% of Canada’s full-time international students. These nine countries sent between 1,000 and 2,200 students each to Canada.

The remaining countries sent fewer than 1,000 students each and accounted for one-third of international students, providing Canadian-born students with a tremendous breadth of culture in the classroom.

Metro Vancouver & BC’s Top Universities & Colleges