The face of Maritime campuses is changing.
The number of international students attending Maritime universities has more than doubled in the last ten years. They are becoming more multi-cultural and many universities are banking on foreign students to boost enrolment.
"Five years ago, or three years ago, you will not find any student from Saudi, but now especially in this year, there are a lot lot of them," said Fahad Al Khayri, a 24 year old chemistry student from Saudi Arabia. He is one of nearly 9,000 international students enrolled at a university in the Maritimes, a trend that has seen increases in the last few years.
Since 2006, the number of international students at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton has risen by 150 students, that's 11 per cent of the total student population. At the UNB campus in Saint John, the figure is about 18 per cent.
Getting more international students to study at UNB has been part of the university's strategic planning for more than two years.
"The goal that is set up is to raise that number to about 20 per cent of the overall under graduate population," said Angelique Simpson, the manger of international recruitment for both campuses.
Students from other countries pay more in tuition, almost double that of Canadians. At UNB, that amounts to about $13,000 a year.
Fahad Al Khayri said he chose UNB because it offered the graduate program he wanted and he likes the small city location.
"The people here are friendly," said Al Khayri. "You are something here, unlike big cities where you are almost nothing."
UNB expects the upward trend in enrolment by international students to continue and could reach its goal of 20 per cent of the student population this academic year.