British Columbia universities are top choices for international students coming to Canada to study.
The recently-released Statistics Canada study, International students in Canadian Universities, 2004/2005 to 2013/2014, shows that B.C. universities had the highest proportion of international students compared to the other provinces and territories, at 17.6%. The study results are in line with data that shows one-third of all the international students who come to Canada to attend public and private K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions choose British Columbia.
International students choose B.C. as a study destination for the high-quality public and private colleges, institutes, universities and K-12 schools. Students are drawn to the province by the vast education opportunities, natural surroundings and welcoming communities.
As British Columbia celebrates International Education Week 2016, it is an opportunity to highlight international students and their unique stories. These students are enriching B.C. schools, institutions and communities throughout the province.
Tsz Chun, an international student from China, is now in his second year of high school in the Peace River North school district. He is enjoying a great Canadian experience as part of a hockey class and participates in the school basketball program. He was the recipient of a $1,250 British Columbia International Student Ambassador Scholarship and plans to study mechanical engineering after graduating from Grade 12.
Lara Weis and Nik Bukovec came to Terrace from Berlin, Germany, to study in the integrated bachelor of science program hosted jointly by Northwest Community College (NWCC) and the University of Northern British Columbia. After arriving in B.C. in late July 2016, they quickly settled into the Canadian lifestyle before taking part in NWCC’s unique Stewart/Telegraph Creek field school. The field school is an opportunity to learn from locals, see glaciers up close and visit the unique geological area found in Northern B.C.
International education is a rapidly growing service sector and it continues to have a significant impact on the economy and job creation. Each year, international students spend well over $2 billion in B.C. on tuition, accommodation and other living expenses, arts and culture and recreation. This supports approximately 27,500 jobs and creates a positive economic effect on communities throughout the province.
International students also continue to drive the economy in B.C. long after they graduate, whether they decide to stay and work in their adoptive community, or pursue opportunities elsewhere in the province, utilizing their skills in the labour market.
Daniel Martinez was born and raised in Tampico, Mexico, where he earned a degree from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Tamaulipas. Martinez came to Nanaimo in 2007 to attend Vancouver Island University (VIU) to study for a master of business administration. While finishing his MBA in the fall of 2008, Martinez completed an internship with Integral Wealth Securities, was subsequently hired as an advanced financial planner and became a partner in 2012. Since then, he has become president of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and a part-time finance instructor at VIU, as well as a board member of the Nanaimo Foundation. In 2014 he was recognized as one of Vancouver Island's Top 20 Under 40.
The B.C. International Education Strategy was launched in 2012 to promote the two-way global flow of students, educators and ideas between countries. Since then, B.C. has provided more than $11 million in scholarship funding to give more B.C. students the opportunity to study abroad and to bring more international students to the province.
The number of international students studying in B.C. increased by 44% between 2010 and 2015 (from 90,037 in 2010 to 130,053 in 2015). The province is on track to meet the BC Jobs Plan goal of a 50% increase in the number of international students in B.C. by 2016. The international education sector, a key sector of the BC Jobs Plan, is part of the diverse, strong and growing economy in B.C.
Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education–
“Post-secondary students from around the globe choose B.C. for all that the province has to offer, including high-quality education and welcoming communities. Our government continues to strengthen and expand education partnerships with post-secondary institutions abroad to grow the social, cultural and economic benefits that international education brings to the province.”
Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“Families and students benefit from B.C. attracting international students from so many different countries. The cultures, ideas and friendships our students connect with can open the door to unimagined futures. Our kids’ futures are increasingly global – and international education connects to that.”
Ken Burt, president of Northwest Community College –
“Northwest Community College is proud to have international students studying in our region. They bring a unique perspective and integral cultural component to the classroom. We know students from other countries are keen to pursue their studies in the northwest and contribute to campus life in a meaningful way. The opportunity to live and learn abroad benefits international students, and also our domestic students, faculty, staff and the greater community.”
Randall Martin, executive director, B.C. Council for International Education –
“International Education Week is a global celebration of international academic mobility and its enormous benefits. The week provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon and to celebrate the real benefits that international education has contributed to our world and to our lives. The contributions of students coming into our classrooms and communities from different cultures, learning and parts of the world can spur innovation and encourage a climate of civility, tolerance and respect. Socrates was a foreign student. Einstein was a refugee. We would be a poorer place without them and the many like them who have travelled to share and search for learning and growth.”
Nik Bukovec, NWCC student from Germany –
"The main thing for us is the experiential in-the field learning. We have a field trip every week and so we get outside a lot to see what we are studying. As soon as even the smallest issue comes up we know who we can ask and those people help us with whatever we need. It’s a great atmosphere, it’s far more personal and you get to know the instructor."
Lara Weis, NWCC student from Germany –
“I think for me, it was super easy to understand the theories of geography after being in the field. I think it gives you a better understanding of the theory and helps you value it more. Having the small community in the college helps people integrate more in the Canadian lifestyle."
Daniel Martinez, former Vancouver Island University student, originally from Mexico –
"Sometimes I cannot believe I made the transition from student to business owner in only five years. Looking back over the past nine years at the support I received while studying at Vancouver Island University, and the support I received while starting my career, and also the numerous friends and colleagues that I have met, I can honestly say there is no other place I would rather be than B.C."
Read Nik Bukovec and Lara Weis's story as students in B.C. from Berlin, Germany: http://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/exploring-the-northwest-and-learning-lessons-beyond-the-classroom
Study in B.C. student stories: http://studyinbc.com/student-stories/student-blogs/
Education Quality Assurance designation, B.C. government seal of approval for post-secondary institutions: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/education-quality-assurance
B.C. transfer system makes it easy for students to move between educational institutions within the province: www.bctransferguide.ca/
International education in B.C. factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/international-students-in-bc
BC Jobs Plan and international education: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/economy/international-education/
International Education Strategy: www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/international-education/internationaleducationstrategy_web.pdf
B.C. Council for International Education: http://bccie.bc.ca/
International Students in Canadian Universities: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-599-x/81-599-x2016011-eng.htm