By Rhea Munroe
When Rahul Prakash, a second-year student at Loyalist originally from Trivandrum, India first came to Loyalist College last year he said that he noticed there were few international students in the school. However, this year, he’s seen a dramatic increase in the number of international students. Prakash’s observation is something that the college has noticed as well.
Laura Naumann, the director of student enrolment services said that the increase is “due to the efforts of the international office. Catherine O’Rourke spent a fair bit of time in Asia.”
O’Rourke, who is student success director of Loyalist College, said “Loyalist College is an identified SPP member. What that means is that the Ontario government, the federal government and the high commission of a target country have set up a program where they have identified specific institutions to be a partner.
“SPP is student partner program. Loyalist is identified as a SPP with the high commission of India. And as a result of that it has again raised our profile in that country,” said O’Rourke.
The recruiters go to different countries for a week or two at a time and run education fairs for students and inform them about Loyalist College and the many different programs that are offered. This is what Naumann said she thinks is the single largest reason for the increase.
Up until this year, the increase in the number of international students has been steady, but never quite peaked like it has this year.
O’Rourke also points out that there has been an increase in the use of social media to promote the programs at Loyalist.
Prakash said that his reason for coming to Canada was for “a better offered education. A diploma from Canada will help me a lot back home in finding a job. It will also help me to stay in Canada for jobs.”
However, Riccardo Basagni from Arezzo, Italy said that he came to Canada for schooling because “I wanted to try a different experience. I always liked learning new languages and studying abroad.”
Prakash said that his agent told him about Loyalist College and another school in Manitoba which he opted not to attend because he liked the programs Loyalist offered, and he did not want to deal with the cold winters of Manitoba.
O’Rourke said she knows the international students are enjoying their time here because “peers are inviting peers to come to study at Loyalist College. If the experience wasn’t a positive one, we wouldn’t see the number of students who are inviting their friends to come.”
When Prakash came to Loyalist, he didn’t know anyone but now finds himself with lots of friends from both India and Canada.
Ankit Patel, a student from Ahmedabad, India says that he would definitely recommend Loyalist to a friend.
It is being expected that the years ahead will only see more of an increase in the number of international students continuing their education at the college.