International education is at a crossroads.

International students in Canada have found themselves at the centre of many political and cultural arguments over the past few years. It’s easy to assume what their stories are, how they feel, and what they want from a Canadian educational experience. It’s more difficult to dig deeper and discover what’s going on under the surface. As the experts in this issue will show, it’s imperative to examine the systems that brought us here in order to understand the impact of this current moment and how to build a better future for students, faculty, and staff at our universities.

In this issue, we hope to do just that. To unpack the current landscape of international education in a globalized university system, we’ve brought together experts on international education, scholars of migration and conflict, and international students themselves. In their pieces, they shed light on the complexities of Canada’s involvement with international education over the past half-century. We’re also looking toward the future and asking: what can and should Canadian politicians, universities, and community members do to ensure a brighter future for this system?

In each of the stories featured in this issue, the authors ask us to reexamine what we think we know about education, work, immigration, and community engagement. They also ask us to keep our eyes open to the systemic forces that brought us to this point, and to look for equitable and fair solutions for improving teaching, learning, and research at our universities.

Roopa Desai Trilokekar, a career scholar of international education, explains the shifts in federal policy that brought us to this point and reflects on her career studying international education in an interview.

As international students become an integral part of the Canadian postsecondary education landscape, Soma Chatterjee, a professor with expertise on international education and migration asks: How did immigration, labour markets, and education get tied together, and how can we untangle their influence to improve student conditions?

From Thunder Bay, Ontario, undergraduate student Josia Price and Professor Benjamin Maiangwa at Lakehead University explore the educational, financial, and cultural challenges that international students face in Northern Ontario, and the solutions that could improve their experiences.

Anukriti Randev and Kriti Sharma reflect on research they did in graduate school to learn how and why students from the Punjab region of India are coming to Canada—and the myths and realities they encounter along the way. They also explore their own stories of moving to Canada to pursue higher education and what they learned about these systems.

Finally, in a new feature, The Life Academic, contributors reflect on how life and work intersect for faculty, academic librarians, academic professionals, researchers, and more. In the first installment, Sarah A Gagliano Taliun, a researcher and assistant professor at the Université de Montreal, offers advice for early-career researchers trying to find balance.

I extend sincere thanks to the authors for contributing their words and time to Academic Matters. I am especially grateful to our student contributors who shared their experiences and offered recommendations for a more welcoming and supportive environment for their peers.

All articles in this issue are available on our website:

Thank you,