More than 100 Saudi students in the Kingston area have found themselves caught up in the escalating dispute between their home county and Canada.
In an act of retaliation, the Saudi government has suspended scholarships for all its foreign students studying at Canadian institutions which means that Saudi students have about four weeks to pack their bags and leave the country.
St. Lawrence college is losing 35 students in total.
“We know that the Saudi students that are here really enjoy their time here, they value their education here,” Don Young, vice-president of International Education at St. Lawrence College, said to CKWS. “This is going to be difficult for them and our goal will be to help them transition.”
Meanwhile, Queen’s University confirmed to Global News that they will be losing 84 students.
Many Saudi students who are also doing internships and residencies at various Kingston hospitals are also affected.
“Currently, there are 37 Saudi medical students, spread across 16 programs, providing patient care at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. We will be working closely with our educational partners at Queen’s University to ensure there is no impact on patient care as a result of this issue, said Chris Gillies, director of medical affairs at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
The departures of thousands of Saudi students across the country will have a financial impact on colleges and universities, as international tuition fees are much higher than what Canadian students pay.
“It’s going to have an effect but not a major effect for us,” says Young.
At this point, it’s unclear how long these students will be recalled by the Saudi government, or whether they will ever be allowed to return.