KITCHENER -- Post-secondary schools are getting ready to welcome back International students.

The students have been studying in their home countries due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they'll soon be able to head back to Waterloo Region to finish the school year.

Joao Borges was set to move from Brazil to Canada to start his studies at Conestoga College, but border closures changed his plans.

"Everything is scheduled and everything changed suddenly," he said.

He started his Business Analyst program online, but now the college has been added to Canada's list of designated learning institutions. Borges will be able to move to Kitchener to finish his studies.

"Definitely relief," he said. "I was really glad."

The VP of International Education, Chris Buuck, said the approval process was rigorous.

"Based on requirements set out by the federal government and the provincial government to ensure safe arrival of our international students," Buuck said.

The school needs a COVID-19 readiness plan approved by local health units, allowing students like Borges to apply for a study permit.

"Showing all the information about my flight, where am I going to do my quarantine plan," Borges said.

Borges will move to Kitchener next week, where he will need to self-isolate for two weeks and connect with staff for check-ins and testing.

Prior to the pandemic, Conestoga College had around 10,000 international students at their campus. This year, they only expect a few hundred. Some have chosen to continue studying in their home country.

The University of Waterloo is also on the approved list and has about 1,300 interested international students.

"At this point we've had about 26 students who have completed registration and they're just finishing quarantine," said Jennifer Casey, Vice President of Enrolment Services at Wilfrid Laurier University.