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Most students are encouraged to seek help to combat stress, but international students who are burning out fear that asking for help may lead to deportation.
Adolfo Ruiz, 21, is from Venezuela and studying in B.C. After months of intensive study, working part-time and living in a cramped room, he hit a wall emotionally.
“You are just crying your guts out and you are not able to talk,” Ruiz said. “It was like a total, mental emotional breakdown for me.”
But Ruiz said he was afraid to ask for help. “If you mess up once, then your record is totally stained for the rest of your life,” he said.
As an international student hoping to stay on in Canada, Ruiz feared that any public sign of weakness could hurt his chances.
He said if he wants to apply for a work permit after graduation or permanent residency, he must prove he is not a burden to the taxpayer. This means any recorded mental health issue is subject to scrutiny from immigration.
If he violates any part of his current work-study permit, he could be deported, immigration authorities say.
“I constantly go back to the terms and conditions of my study permit and read through them again,” Ruiz said.
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