2021 International Student Survey

The CBIE International Student Survey (ISS) is a unique, national dataset that provides critical and holistic insights on the international student experience in Canada’s post-secondary institutions, from pre-arrival planning through study and post-graduate phases.

Since the inaugural edition of the International Student Survey in 2012, the number of student respondents and the scope of knowledge and trends illuminated through the dataset have grown immensely. The survey increasingly supports the international education sector’s capacity to drive informed, innovative practices through increased understanding of the stories, motivations, and perceptions of the international students who choose to study in Canada.

The 2018 ISS offered insights from over 14,000 student respondents, across 10 provinces in 46 universities, colleges, and polytechnics. The survey is offered every two years with the exception of 2020, which was postponed due to COVID-19.

We are excited to build on this success and invite you to join us in this important national endeavour!

The cost of participation in the 2021 International Student is included in the annual CBIE membership fee.

Institutions that are non-members of CBIE are also welcome to participate in the survey. CBIE will contact non-members directly to discuss participation and the associated fees. Learn more about how to become a CBIE member.


  • Your institution has a key role to play in contributing to the building of a robust national dataset through the collection of longitudinal data.
  • The longitudinal data collected from the ISS informs policy and decision-making at provincial/territorial and federal levels.
  • The survey provides Canadian institutions with insight into the perceptions, motivations, plans, and experiences of their own international students.
  • The data collected informs a tool for Canadian institutions to measure the progress of their strategic and operational objectives compared to a national standard.
  • The survey provides a point-in-time picture of international students across the country.
  • Given the broad-based nature of participating member institutions representative of the Canadian post-secondary landscape, the ISS yields reliable and valid data across the sector.


  • International Student Demographic Overview
  • Overall Student Satisfaction
  • Student Decision-Making and Pre-Arrival Activities
  • Satisfaction of Institutional Support Services
  • Academic Experience Satisfaction
  • Classroom, Campus and Community Engagement and Connection
  • Family, Housing, Work, and Finances
  • Perceptions of Safety and Inclusion
  • Value/Cost Perception
  • Post-Study Plans

At a Glance

  • Uniquely Canadian, comprehensive, national, and bilingual in scope.
  • Respondents include full degree/diploma/certificate-seeking international students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions.
  • Conducted via CBIE member institutions, the cost to participate in this survey is included in our membership fees.
  • Participating institutions will receive the anonymized data and an institutional snapshot report.