Niagara College kicked off the winter term this week with over 900 international students joining the College for what was an unprecedented winter term intake.
In addition to the College’s regular Winter Orientation programming, a supplementary orientation was organized by the College’s International Division showcasing the various services available specifically for international students studying at Niagara College. Over 450 students attended the NC International orientation, almost double of what was expected.
“We host an extra orientation for international students coming to the College because they have unique needs that are not addressed at the College’s orientation for domestic students,” said Tatiana Young, international student services coordinator. “Banking, health insurance, visas and study permits are only a few things that international students need to consider before starting college. Our goal with the NC International orientation is to help students adjust to college life and life in Canada as best we can by providing them with the information and resources they need to be successful here.”
One of the specific needs addressed in the NC International orientation is childcare. “We’ve noticed that in the previous three to four terms there has been an increase in the number of international students with children attending the College,” noted Young. “Our information session for students with children helps those students explore childcare options and links them to resources available in the community. Ultimately, we want to help students with children build a support network they can rely on.”
Niagara College has seen a steady influx of international student enrolment in the last few years and numbers are expected to continue to rise as recruitment efforts expand in South Asian, African and Caribbean regions.
“I always wanted to come to Canada,” said Sasha Gaye Robinson, a first-year student from Jamaica. “But what attracted me to Niagara College was the opportunity to get a truly Canadian experience in a multi-cultural setting. I think that studying here will give me an edge when I go back to Jamaica and start my career because it offers students a chance to become familiar with many cultures in one place.”
“I didn’t want to study in a big city like Toronto because I knew that I could get that experience in any metropolitan city in my own country,” said first-year student Gabriele Moncada from Italy. “By coming to NC I knew that I would probably be the only person from my town at the College and that’s what I wanted. Now I am learning about a culture that is very different from my own.”
Orientation activities for international students will continue this month with Settle In Week taking place January 30 to February 3 at all three NC campuses. New this term, the weeklong event hosted in partnership with the Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership will feature a series of information sessions highlighting topics including living in Niagara, housing, finances and wellness.