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5 ways to better build community with international students in Canada

Photo by Naassom Azevedo Photo by Naassom Azevedo
Photo by Naassom Azevedo

Every academic and professional involved in recruiting, teaching, or supporting international students in Canada now holds deep concerns about the impact of the federal government’s two-year cap on international student permits.

This cap not only poses financial implications but also raises fears about the potential threat to the vibrant diversity that enriches university life in Canada, a country known for its multicultural and multilingual educational environments. Recognizing the disconnect between policies promoting cultural exchange and the actual experiences of international students, it’s crucial to revisit and activate “internationalization” policies at both governmental and institutional levels.

These policies should go beyond mere enrollment strategies and focus on integrating international dimensions into all facets of higher education. To bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality, initiatives such as fostering translation communities, producing podcasts for cross-cultural understanding, implementing curriculum design labs, and establishing mentorship programs can create meaningful opportunities for local and international students to engage, collaborate, and learn from one another.

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By recognizing and valuing international students as active participants in building inclusive and equitable learning environments, universities in Canada can truly embody the spirit of internationalization and provide enriching experiences for all members of their communities.

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