As part of our In This Together DC email series, today’s update will share with you details about ongoing activities in the International Education (IE) office.
Goal three of DC’s Academic Plan is to “establish and augment internationalization and global engagement initiatives.” In turn, our Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan supports this goal and has four pillars:
- Internationalization @ Home
- Education Abroad
- International Projects and Partnerships
- International Student Recruitment, Services and Retention
Working with many of you, the IE team continues to move ahead with all four pillars of our plan. Today, I’d like to update you on our work with International Student Recruitment, Services and Retention.
When DC went virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had over 2,000 international students from 74 different countries on our campus. While the transition has been challenging for everyone, international students face some unique barriers. While we retreated to our homes and turned to our families and friends for support, for many of our international students DC is their home and family here in Canada.
Here are some of the things we are doing to ensure that our international students are supported virtually:
- Our International Student Advisement team is fully available via email or video-conferencing to provide academic support and guidance on housing, immigration issues and other concerns.
- We have created a virtual social circle with online trivia, cultural events and more.
- We offer bi-weekly virtual drop-ins for international students. At these open-session drop-ins we tackle topics like immigration questions, financial and housing concerns, and anything else that students may wish to discuss.
- We have made $650,000 in financial support available through the International Student Emergency Support Bursary for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
While we continue to support our current students, the International Recruitment and Admissions team is busy promoting our programs globally. While they typically log thousands of miles in the air around the world, they are now logging thousands of virtual miles. We have participated in virtual fairs in places including Latin America, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, India and Iran. Demand for DC programs across the world continues to be strong.
When these students are able to travel to Canada, we are prepared to receive them safely following all health precautions, with a process to meet quarantine requirements before they attend campus.
While times are uncertain, DC is well positioned to continue as a leader in global education.
Associate vice-president, International Education (Interim)