Saudi Arabia's standoff with Canada will affect dozens of UVic students
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2018 6:11PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 7, 2018 6:28PM PDT
Saudi Arabia's decision to order students to leave Canada is expected to impact schools across the country, including the University of Victoria.
The country is embroiled in a diplomatic stand-off with Canada after Global Affairs, Canada's diplomatic arm, called on Saudi Arabia to release detained women's rights activists like Samar Badawi.
A tweet from the Saudi Ministry of Education spokesman said that the country would end training programs, scholarship and fellowships in Canada. Meanwhile, Saudi students currently studying here are being ordered to end their studies within a month.
It's a significant demand, with Saudi students making up the fourth-largest contingent of foreign students in the country.
The dispute means that 51 Saudi students currently enrolled in the summer semester at UVic will withdraw from their studies.
Thirty-four Saudi students enrolled for the upcoming academic season starting in September are also expected to be affected.
“We value all of our international students and are disappointed to learn that students from Saudi Arabia may not be able to achieve their educational aspirations at UVic," Paul Marck, UVic's Associate Manager of Public Affairs, said in a statement. "They bring a unique perspective and diversity to our community and enrich our campus population in many ways. However, it is really too early to tell what the implications are for the university and our Saudi Arabian students.”
Saudis make up only a small percentage of enrollment at the university, which has 3,700 international students from more than 100 countries.
If the Saudi government follows through on the decision, it's believed that many students in Canada will seek placement at universities in the United States and United Kingdom.