British Columbia is joining jurisdictions across Canada and more than 100 countries around the world in celebrating International Education Week from Nov. 12 to 16.
International education is the global two-way flow of students, educators and ideas. In British Columbia, there is much to celebrate.
B.C.'s educational institutions offer a variety of long- and short-term international-exchange and study-abroad programs for students to pursue learning and working opportunities in other countries to enhance their post-secondary education experience.
British Columbia's educational system is among the most respected in the world. As Canada's westernmost province and gateway to the Asia Pacific, British Columbia's cultural diversity and reputation for safety and security make it a popular choice for international students. In 2009/10 there were 94,000 international students in B.C., growing to 100,700 in 2010/11 - an increase of seven per cent in just one year.
In May 2012, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology officially launched British Columbia's International Education Strategy. Under Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, the strategy was developed to position the province and its residents to benefit even more from the social, cultural and economic opportunities that flow from international education activities.
Already under the strategy:
- Government has provided $5 million in funding to the Mitacs Globalink and Accelerate programs, and the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society for the One World International Scholarship program to give more British Columbian students the chance to study abroad and to bring more international students to British Columbia.
- Dedicated education officers have been hired for B.C.'s overseas trade and investment offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Mumbai and Bangalore, and hiring is underway for a position in Beijing.
- The government of British Columbia has developed an international education marketing strategy to increase international awareness of British Columbia as a high-quality education destination. The strategy will be implemented in collaboration with the education sector throughout 2013.
British Columbia's International Education Strategy was built from the input of students, educators, institutions and other partners.
Why It Matters: B.C. students who study abroad establish global connections and pathways that enrich their learning, careers and lives forever. When they return they put these advantages to work to the benefit of other students, businesses and communities throughout the province.
International students who come to B.C. contribute greatly to the provincial economy and to the inter-cultural diversity of B.C campuses and communities. And with a million jobs opening in B.C. over the next decade and just 650,000 students currently enrolled in the K-12 system, increasing the number of international students who make British Columbia their permanent home can ease the expected shortage of skilled workers.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology -
"International students make a huge impression in our classrooms and communities, sharing a fresh point of view informed by their own unique upbringing and experience. And just as significantly we all benefit from the global perspectives and connections gained by B.C. students when they go off to study in other countries."
"Under our International Education Strategy we're working to maximize the benefits of international education - social, cultural and economic - for all B.C. communities, families and businesses."
Helen Jiang, nursing student from Vancouver Community College who received a One World Scholarship from the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society to complete a practical training program in Bangladesh with the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology -
"Without this Bangladesh experience, my transition from a licensed practical nurse to a registered nurse would not have been this fulfilling. As a co-learner, I have strengthened my skills in leadership, collaboration, empathy, (being a) role model and adult teaching. As a future nurse, I have perceived nursing and caring more deeply and learned how to apply caring into the practice in Bangladesh, in Canada and in my personal life."
Abhinav Agarwal, international student from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati who turned down an internship at MIT to come to the University of British Columbia through the Mitacs' Globalink program to do biomedical research -
"Mitacs Globalink provides excellent opportunities for international students to experience Canada's research environment and industry innovation. I love it here!"
Ashwak Sirri, owner of The Grand Hotel Nanaimo -
"We at the Grand Hotel Nanaimo support the international education program at Vancouver Island University, knowing that it benefits our city economically and even more, culturally. We celebrate cultural diversity because it fosters understanding and it is the foundation for building stronger relationships in our team, with our clients, and our global community."
- In 2009/10 international students spent $1.8 billion on tuition, accommodation and other living expenses, supporting 22,000 jobs in B.C.'s economy.
- B.C. will gain an estimated 1,800 jobs and $100 million in GDP for every ten per cent increase in the number of international students coming to the province.
- In September 2012 Camosun College recorded its largest ever intake of international students with a 31 per cent increase over last year. As of September 2012, Camosun had enrolled more than 603 international students from 53 countries - an increase of 145 students since September 2011.
- The number of international students worldwide currently tops 3.3 million. By 2025 that number is expected to grow to 7.2 million.
- Currently, Canada is the destination of choice for about four per cent of all international students worldwide.
- B.C. receives about 28 per cent of all international students coming to Canada.
British Columbia's International Education Strategy: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/internationaleducation/welcome.htm
Mitacs and the Globalink and Accelerate programs: http://www.mitacs.ca/
Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society and One World International Scholarships: http://www.bcscholarship.ca/web/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology