Flu scare nibbles at Alberta's university enrolment - Macleans.ca

Flu scare nibbles at Alberta’s university enrolment

Some international groups cancel trips to the province, universities not concerned

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According to The Calgary Herald, this year’s H1N1 virus is causing some international students to cancel their plans to study at Alberta post-secondary schools this summer.

Alberta Advanced Education says there has been a decline in student enrolment in international summer programming, but says the drop isn’t significant enough to warrant government. Early indications are that fall programs will not be affected, according to an spokesperson for the department

At Mount Royal College, approximately 60 students from Mexico and China recently cancelled plans to attend the campus in June and July due to the H1N1 virus.

“For this year, it’s just one of those unfortunate world events over which we have no control,” says Lorna Smith, director of the school’s international education program.

“The universities have to be very cautious and risk-averse because they’re responsible for the lives of students to the parents,” she says. “I think that’s why they tend to be more cautious when they’re sponsoring an exchange program.”

As of last Monday there were 171 confirmed cases of swine flu in the province, and one person in northern Alberta has died.

According to the Herald, other universities are seeing international students cancel summer plans. At the University of Lethbridge, a group of 25 students from a high school in Japan won’t be heading to the city this July.

Although the University Calgary did cancel a sociology field trip to Mexico, the school says it hasn’t seen any discernible drop in summer international student enrolment